Trent Reznor on the Iraq War

What if this whole crusade’s
A charade
And behind it all there’s a price to be paid
For the blood
which we dine [sic]
Justified in the name
of the Holy and the Divine

– “The Hand That Feeds,” Nine Inch Nails

If I hear one more pop-culture diatribe about how oppressed/mollified we are by the so-called “powers that be” (e.g., V for Vendetta, another song like this one), I just might puke. Now, materialism (and its appeal to our irrational appetites)–that’s what makes slaves of us all. Government doesn’t control us; if anyone does the corporations do (directly–in their appeal to and their manipulation of our appetites–and indirectly–by way of their virtual control of government; they may even be the reason for the war in question here).

Write a song about that, Mr. Reznor.

(Or Mr. Lickona.)


  1. Cubeland Mystic says

    Thanks for posting my blog here. One person rightly criticized my use of the word force. I am guilty of the same thing Mr. Reznor is in his lyrics.

    Instead of force I should have said strongly encouraged or even compelled. The forced feeling comes from having so many bad choices and very few good ones. I can give examples if you like? Anyone who has kids knows how easily they pick up on the more seductive aspects of consumerism. Consumerism is the “gateway drug” to full acceptance of materialism.

    Sure we are not forced, but the messages keep coming and eventually they get one past the goalie. Whatever that is, it usually puts you at odds with the kids. Then you’re the heavy, not the corporate sponsor.

  2. Notrelatedtoted says

    CM –

    I briefly perused your blog. While I find the anti-materialism mind-set interesting and noble, I sometimes wonder if those who have dedicated themselves to this life aren’t throwing the baby out with the bathwater. What is the difference between consumerism and materialism? What does does it mean to not be materialistic? What is it about consumerism and materialism that we should do away with?

    What’s wrong with good ole’ frugality and thrift? And where’d the conscientious consumer go? I think one can easily be a member of today’s american society (based on an economy that relies on the manufacture and sale of goods) and yet not be a materialist. True, the forces of marketing are everywhere – but all you gotta do is tune it out.

  3. Cube and Not – and all…

    I think there’s one really good way to fight materialism – and sometimes its a painful lesson (like at the end of a bill month), but most of the time it is exhilaratingly liberating…

    It’s called poverty.

    Not the kind where you bitch and moan and demand welfare and call the rich Republicans to task while giving the equally rich Democrats a pass because, after all, they may be rich, but at least they’re giving us pay-outs, too…

    No, rather, I’m thinking of the kind that the Church has traditionally called one of the three evangelical counsels – as part of poverty, chastity and obedience.

    Like fasting, it has the tendency to drive you to prayer which in turn tends to strenghten your will against the threats of materialism. I find that when I fast, my choices tend to evaporate – until I’m left with only two – a painfully hollow stomach or God. Painfully hollow stomachs tend to stay that way with fasting – and therefore get kind of boring. That leaves God, who may at first seem as boring, but spend even a little time with him and suddenly, you begin to get to KNOW Him… So, with poverty, many of one’s choices also dry up – faster than Kool-Aid in the sun. What’s left? Maybe a couple of pieces of rusty tin rotting in the yard for the kids to play with, a few rocks to scrape together to keep warm, your family and God. Well, after a while, family and God seem a lot more appealing than pieces of tin and rocks…

    Also, Matthew – to bolster your case for porn-as-materialism I would like to refer your good readers in a delicate and tasteful way to the works of Wilhelm Reich, a mostly quacky psychologist who, trained by Freud, took the power of sexual appetite to a level even Freud might have even blushed at. He can’t be completely dismissed, though, as he was one of the prime architects of what we now refer to as the Sexual Revolution (which was an advertising revolution lonh before it made its way to Woodstock…)

    In one study, Reich demonstrated that there is a direct and inverse relationship between self-pleasure and prayer. In other words – taking as his subject a young girl, he made a study of how her masturbation habit waxed and waned in direct inverse proportion to the amount of time she spent praying. It was a famous case among psychologists and established for Madison Avenue and anyone else interested in exploiting the “consumer” that sex will keep you selfishly inside your own head (and wallet) whereas this God business is bad business in deed… You can get the fuller, more lurid detail on Reich and his cronies from E. Michael Jones’ excellent history of the sexual revolution (It didn’t begin in the 60’s, by the way!) , “Libido Dominandi” (St. Augustine Press).


  4. Cubeland Mystic says

    Great questions. I will take take it step further. Anti-materialism can be a form of materialism. Then there is the danger of becoming materially correct (MC). The official accepted form of materialism. A lot of what we are doing is a result of John Paul II, and focusing you and your family toward Christ. Modern society gives one the feeling to the individual that they are a rat in a cage waiting for the next electric shock.

    What I am finding out is this message needs to be clearer. When I say materialism I am speaking more about the ease at which we are willing to allow great suffering to promote a material end. I am not sure that the materialist accounts for the great suffering part when they line up their ducks before they act. The materialist literally throws the baby out with the bathwater (i.e. abortion solution).

    The things that you site are good questions, and I hope to address them in our journey. We like good solid, sometimes expensive stuff. Buy it once lasts most of your life. So your questions are spot on if you turn them into assertions.

    If your read the mobile cloister post, it is anti materialist and one could say that one does not need place or stuff or any kind of material enterprise (good or otherwise) to support a spiritual life. I would argue that it is an extreme measure. When parents are separated from their kids, all day in a lot of cases, it is not ideal. That meditation is for those who suffer from the separation, and can find a type of connection with God during their separation from family and sacred space. God will send his angels and with their wings they will surround you forming a cloister of light in the darkness, and you will be in union with God and at peace.

  5. Cubeland Mystic says

    To be clear I am not anti-stuff. We are looking for balance. An example of a materialistic decision would be to have an abortion rather than turn down a promotion. Parents pressuring their daughter to have an abortion for the promise of college. Cut, not 4000 jobs, but say 12 jobs, because as a senior manager you simply can’t spare a few hours to look into alternatives for such a small amount of “human” resources. Prescribe more Prozac, because as a high prescribing physician you know that Eli Lilly will pay a very comfortable honorarium for you to speak at their next prozac conference in Zurich. A politician who pushes for all day kindergarten or universal preschool instead of encouraging mom (or dad) to do the job.

    I am not really interested in discouraging the supersize from a blazer to a hummer. If it’s needed fine. The questions have to be asked, do we need the hummer, really want the hummer, or do we want to show off? If you never get out into the country, I suspect that one could track the hummer motives down to more and better sexual experiences. Sort of a buy one get one free deal..

    I am not launching the war on stuff. It’s more about defending against the war on the family. If you don’t have kids you don’t really realize how many organizations want your little kid’s mindshare from the time they are born. Most of it revolves around buying something.

    Your comments about fasting and poverty are very good. I think we are agreement there. It is very liberating. A lot of parent’s motives result from the comfort and safety of the children. Material comfort is necessary for your kids to survive. Environment plays an important role in that. Some stuff is necessary. Hopefully that the stuff would direct our thoughts to God too.

    God willing my site will be about how-to back out of the culture of death. I’d like to see a culture where families are not on the defensive. Moral choices and responsibilities can hold you to the fire. Many have responsibilities like the care, comfort, and wellbeing of little ones and soon elderly. Its not so easy to just change when lots of other people are involved.

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