The Ostrich Syndrome: a New Chronic Cowardice in America, Part 2


I am leaving soon and you will forgive
me if I speak bluntly.

The Universe grows smaller every day —
and the threat of aggression by any
group — anywhere — can no longer
be tolerated.

There must be security for all — or
no one is secure… This does not
mean giving up any freedom except
the freedom to act irresponsibly.

We do not pretend to have achieved
perfection — but we do have a system —
and it works…

I came here to give you the facts.
It is no concern of ours how you run
your own planet — but if you threaten
to extend your violence, this Earth
of yours will be reduced to a burned-
out cinder.

Your choice is simple. Join us and
live in peace. Or pursue your present
course — and face obliteration.

We will be waiting for your answer.
The decision rests witt you.

  ~ From The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)


 by Donald Croft Brickner


As advice goes — if not stern, unforgiving warnings — these scriptwritten words stated onscreen by actor Michael Rennie 51 years ago … 51 years ago!! … stand up better today than most folks would dare care to believe.

Only, we’ve continued to ignore it all, and march to our own Hubris.

Yes, yes: it was just a movie script, and no invasion was imminent, then or probably now. But actual prophecy works in funny ways.

We are Big Shots is our clarion call of 2012. Almost everywhere on Earth.

Particularly on Wall Street and in our planet’s corrupted (and now fully contrived) banking systems.

We don’t "do" money very much any more. We’ve turned to plastic instead — our near-complete embracement of trinkets and be-all, end-all materiality. America’s 1960s hippies, BTW, who coined the term "plastic," are now likely our worst offenders (and hypocrites).

Those hippies were mostly composed of America’s Baby Boomer generation. More on that entire crowd later.

I know them intimately.

* * * * *

You can take this to the bank (…if it hasn’t collapsed yet as you’re reading this): Earthlings are likely among the least popular and respectied species in the entirety of our physical universe.

We have to be the Jerks of the 3-D Cosmos, for sure, thanks to our way-popular, and culturally entrenched, rampant Hubris, Violence, Ignorance, Immaturity and Arrested Emotional Development.

"Baby Boomers," indeed.



You see? You see? Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!
With your ancient, juvenile minds you have developed explosives too fast for your minds to conceive what you are doing. You are on the verge of destroying the entire universe. We are a part of that universe. This is our last…
[cuts off]


~ From Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959)


* * * * *

Think about it: we’re out of control globally. And far too many of us have the brazen gall to think that we’re right about everything, despite ever-darkening global trends — which is true on both sides of any issue, too, especially when we disagree (!!) … which these days, is about all we ever opt to do any more with any enthusiasm.

There’s no more arguing for one’s position as a onetime cultural norm. Our universities have effectively done away with philosophy as a major, along with philosophical discourse in general (never mind logic), so most of us don’t even know how to argue for our side.

We’ve turned those "skills" over to our political Super-Pacs lately, and via incredibly expensive TV commercials, they’ve promoted (manipulated, is more accurate) their seedy, inane and laughably inaccurate polemics.

If you stand up and shout out the cliches and inaccuracies of the Super-Pacs, you’re not being courageous, by the way. You’re being a manipulated parrot, and your "opinion" is rarely ever your own.

Put another way — if you behave this way: you’re being played.

Whether it’s you, or those you (think you) don’t like, people don’t matter any more.

Not to Big Money and its Hidden Secret Manipulators (the majority appear to likely be home-based in, or in relation to, Wall Street).

I can repeat all of that.

* * * * *

Most of us would just as soon shoot our stupid neighbors as live anywhere near them. (Why can’t they just move someplace else?)

And all those poor people, mein Got! Always underfoot, unable (or unwilling) to pay their bills … and they look like crap! Hair, clothes, you-name-it: it’s a terrible embarrassment! They should all just be put away, where they can’t be seen, or heard.

Or just be, you know — shot.

They can bury themselves.

* * * * *

So: if you were an extraterrestrial, would you like to get to know us better?

What — no?

* * * * *

Oh, and it gets so much worse. Now, we can’t realistically say that "all" of us, or even "the overwhelming majority" of us are cowards — but we can (and right here, and now, will) confidently state most of us are.

Cowards, cowards, cowards. It’s all an outgrowth of global Hubris.

* * * * *

This essay’s working definition of Hubris is, once again: Seven-Deadly-Sins-level Pride (yes! Pride is a sin!!!). It’s almost always expressed in our self-promoting groups and memberships — many of which themselves are granfalloons.

Granfalloons: Stock Markets, which are fully funded by literally nothing (money has very little, if more commonly, zero inherent value), are enterprises that qualify as granfalloons — although they most certainly aren’t the only ones.

They’re made up of folks who claim to be gathered for one reason, but are in fact gathered together for something else (consciously or unconsciously).

An example of a granfalloon-in-waiting: unless they turn around soon, our universities are headed that way.

They’ve pretty much ceased teaching anything, in any of the arts, that’s applicable to 2012.

* * * * *

This means that we humans have lately placed most all of our time and energies (never mind eggs) in quickly-wafting-away mirages.

How ironic that a planetary population, so adoring of materialism, has such very little substance left at its disposal.

* * * * *

And, so, now, it’s here we finally can begin to address our latest, planet-wide and self-destructive addiction, the Ostrich Syndrome.

It’s an addiction, because we apparently can’t stop ourselves from acting-out so many denial-related self-destructive behaviors any longer.

Because we’ve devoted so much of our majority’s time on denial, escape, greed, Hubris, gossip, Hollywood adolescence-caught-on-camera, vacation spots, and recipes — oh, and photos upon photos of the Baby Boomers’ bleeping grandchildren — we’ve found ourselves (i.e., our heads) buried, hidden away from our previous real lives.

How bad has this all become?

We have no idea what the terms courage and hero mean any more. "Courage" is the word we use for some high school tailback who shakes off a minor injury and continues to play; while, "Hero" means either, (a) a military veteran returning from the Middle East (if they return at all) with some missing a limb(s) and fraught with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) — or, (b) ridiculous cartoon characters with capes and muscles on crusades to do away with cliche "evil" monsters, whose dialogue often mirrors pro wrestlers’.

* * * * *

I just watched a DVD of Marvel’s Avengers (2012), and the only word that consistently applies to its concept alone is preposterous – or, unintentionally silly. None of what’s in this film mirrors anything even remotely real-world: it’s mere lavish childish FX escapism for a movie audience that grew up reading comic books.

"The Best Superhero Movie Of All Time," crows Chuck Walton of, right there on the cover of the Avengers‘ DVD.

These aren’t just "heroes" — oh, no-o. They’re bleeper-bleeping superheroes! The bar just couldn’t be lower for our young people!

Talk about Arrested Development. C’mon, you 30-somethings — it’s time to talk to actual veterans, and come to discover what real war and weapons are actually like. Listen, and believe. I promise you’ll spend less time playing gore and splatter war games.

* * * * *

By the way: it’s been my experience that the only politicians, as a rule, who are in favor of starting or entering wars are those who’ve never spent even one minute on an active duty military roster.

Too many callous presidents, in fact, perhaps more interested in supporting the military industrial complex than America’s ethics, have initiated foot soldier combat with very, very little genuine concern or regard for the "pawns" they send off to have their lives turned upside-down, and their loved ones left broken-hearted, along with the beloved soldiers, sailors and flyers themselves.

War destroys people — whether they survive combat, or not.

Our denial refuses to acknoweldge this, as well. We’re afraid to.

* * * * *

So — do any of the rest of us complain? Or stand up, of our own volition, and firmly and determinedly disagree?

No. Only my generation’s hippies did that, and it was all bravado. They had no greater vision in play and this: they didn’t want to get drafted and shot at in some rice field in the middle of nowhere.

I didn’t, either — but I joined the Navy anway during the Vietnam era. My father, Donald Charles Brickner, was a Bronze Star recipient as an Army Air Corps crash boat skipper rescuing downed airmen during World War II — and I was, and remain, so very proud of him. How he managed to evade PTSD is beyond me. I get both my courage from him, and my silliness and innocence!

* * * * *

Hippies, one should add, uniformly acted with Hubris for the most part, back in the day, never mind with garden-variety cowardice.

Alas. No big whoop.

Now they’re commonly all marching to the tune of golf courses and suits, as the self-styled Big Shots they perceive themselves to be.

What wasted, empty incarnations.

What misguided world views, too. World view, in fact, is huge here.

Yet a taste for contemporary philosophy has long-since sailed out the door along with old civics texts and badly-worn baseball cards.

* * * * *

I’m ashamed to be a member of my Baby Boomer generation. While so many were living out largely meaningless lives by-the-numbers, they clearly stopped paying any attention at all to the mounting real threats building up, and building up, over and over again, all around them. And so now, here we are, in deadly 2012.

(So much for storming student unions in the 1960s. How dopey!)

All of this kind of self-absorbed, self-serving behavior, oblivious to the face of danger just about everywhere, is the cornerstone of today’s masked cowardice — in America, and elsewhere globally.

Does it matter that Wall Street had built into its agenda (while very few of us were paying any attention at all) a tenet of "free market capitalism" that required both "winners" and "losers" to co-exist in order for the construct of big business to work "properly?"(thanks to "zero sum game," an absurd, callous, transmutated academic contrivance:

Well. Beyond just answering "no," or "I had no idea that was true!" — our majority continues to support the ugly (and, yes, calculated and preposterous) rules of Wall Street that effectively castrate former employees; or anyone, of any age, without a job who seeks work, in addition to being willing to work hard.

When you’re thoughtlessly labelled a "loser," there are now no new chances. You’re simply expected to "go away." Somewhere.

What whack job came up with all of this lunacy? More importantly — especially in our universities, where this bilge is taught: Why did we allow anybody to enact it, much less encode it into our post modern profits-focused-only banking systems?

You think being kicked to the curb, blocked from getting hired and becoming resultantly desperately poor is a tenable "way of life?"

Try it.

If the Eurozone collapses in the near future (as it should), you’ll get just that chance. Yay.

People don’t matter — not in today’s Tales From the Dark Side America.

* * * * *

All of the arguments, opinions and passing comments made by me, above, are my own.

Yet, only in the last few weeks I’ve happily discovered I had an unanticipated comrade-in-arms, a long-time friendly acquaintance, Bryant McGill, who’d just published his own book, Voice of Reason (,%20by%20Bryant%20McGill).

The passage that follows (a tad out of context here on page 51, but not for the brunt of McGill’s treatise in Voice of Reason, which often resonates with my own previously-stated points-of-view, both in this and in other published Internet essays) cuts to the chase:

"What is it in the value structure of society that allows overt injustice to exist generation after generation, with people paying almost no attention to the obvious criminal disparity?" McGill posits. "What does this say about the society, and us as its members? If society allows this, what else does the society allow? These are the basic questions we must all ask."

Please grab yourself a copy of this thoughtful and timely work. I can’t say enough good things about it. It’s a solid, engaging read.

* * * * *

Returning briefly to our secondary theme of aliens … and so on:

I’m not going to make a big fuss about this next straight-faced observation. I’m just going to say it because it needs to be said:

Various extraterrestrials have likely been paying close attention to us now for a very long time — and some Above-Top-Secret folks of ours know that.

Yet other than "testing the waters," let’s call it, during UFO flaps all of the years most of us have been alive, they’ve decided to remain out of sight, and very successfully out of mind. And it’s not because they’re afraid of us.

They’re waiting for us to grow up, ditch our entrenched cowardice, and step up to the plate as something more than this galaxy’s naughty adolescent bigotbullyboys.

Their code name for us and our planet, we’ll suggest parenthetically, is Humpty Dumpty, taken from one our very own 19th and 20th Century nursery rhymes.

The ETs all — all — know that they needn’t do anything whatsever to take over our planet which, again, is probably not a big part (if any) of their agenda in our regard. We’re just this end of the universe’s dip sticks.

Seriously: how would you like to have to take on the responsibility of overseeing (much less saving!) a nursery school filled with the living dead?

As Humpty Dumpty, of course, it means we’re all viewed as just a lot of Pride-driven zombies (made out of eggs), who dance around blindly (and hubrisly) like The Three Little Pigs atop a very, very high wall. The ETs, thus, cannot help but see the following end result for all of us, 99 times out of 100:



* * * * *

Did I add that these various ETs are presently living among us, in plain sight? That’s in part why I used the word, "blindly," as applied to us figuratively as The Three Little Pigs.

Who on Earth (…get it?) do you think really runs Apple?

(…So I mixed two unrelated nursery rhymes… So?)

* * * * *

Our feature film sci fi screenwriters of yore seemed to know best, when it comes to defining our human species’ true nature.

Take these words (as well as those by humanoid ETs "Klaatu" and "Eros," above), from what appears onscreen in this next old film to be a one-dimensional cardboard mock-up of an insectoid, three-bug-eyed Martian Grumpypuss:


~ From The Angry Red Planet (1959):

Men of Earth, we of the planet Mars give you this warning. Listen carefully and remember: We have known your planet Earth since the first creature crawled out of the primeval slime of your seas to become man. For millennia, we have followed your progress. For centuries, we have watched you, listened to your radio signals and learned your speech and your culture, and now you have invaded our home. Technological adults, but spiritual and emotional infants, we kept you here, deciding your fate.
Had the lower forms of life on our planet destroyed you, we would not have interfered, but you survived. Your civilization has not progressed beyond destruction, war and violence against yourselves and others. Do as you will to your own and to your planet, but remember this warning — do not return to Mars. You will be permitted to leave for this sole purpose. Carry the warning to Earth — "Do not come here." We can and will destroy you — all life on your planet — if you do not heed us. You have seen us, been permitted to glimpse our world. Go now. Warn mankind not to return unbidden.


In actual real life, of course, we not only ignore this "threat," but this summer we went and successfully dumped on Mars (unbidden) a rolling labratory craft the size of a SUV.

We don’t care, one way or the other. Humility continues to elude us.

The closing point here is not lost on moi. If we don’t stop behaving like a bunch of spoiled, would-be-entitled, sociopathic, pushing-the-envelope — and just plain mindless — jerks,  this Earth of ours really could end up reduced to a burned-out cinder. Maybe not by Gort (Klaatu’s policeman robot), but by some other annoyed-enough-already outer space race.

Or, maybe we’ll just save them the effort, and destroy ourselves.

What is there about us to like?

Admit it, boys and girls: not a whole hell of a lot.

Somehow, and it all began during my lifetime: we truly become the real-deal bad guys.


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