Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Literature of Self-Disclosure

It's kind of interesting -- well, appalling really -- to observe people's behavior on the Metro and speculate on how it encapsulates, epitomizes or otherwise discloses their overall style of living. For instance a significant portion of able-bodied Metro riders take the free ride up the escalator instead of humping their lazy asses up the stairs, as would be better for them, and contribute to system efficiency. Does this mean they are parasitic, free-riding, schlubs in all their dealings, or does it just mean they're a little oblivious or self-indulgent in this relatively small matter? Frankly, I suspect the former, but I'm not sure. And of course there will be times when we all need to take the free ride, and we should be allowed to.

Another aspect of Metropology is reading matter. At the entrances to most stations there will be, weekday mornings, some poorly-paid black people handing out free newspapers, the Express and the Examiner. The former is a "digested" and dumbed-down version of the center-right Washington Post and the latter is the far-right corporatist propaganda sheet of reactionary billionaire Phil Anschutz. (I once spent an afternoon in Phil's company, watching him watch a sporting contest involving one of his many franchises and I am happy to report that his drink of choice on that occasion was Coors Lite, over ice. I think that speaks volumes. ) About half the people on the Metro during morning rush hour will be reading one of these rags, and one must wonder, does their choice declare their political leanings and affiliations? Alas, I suspect it does. Of course a lot of people are also reading really really really creepy stuff, like the Bible (especially popular among Marine officers) and Ayn Rand, and you don't even want to know what these people are up to when not on the train.

There is a certain odious type one sees around town but not so much on the Metro, as the Metro smacks of liberality and socialism. It were better that Republicans motor around in big-block gas-guzzlers whenever possible. Still, some do ride the Metro. And you can be sure that the fat white guy in the red tie and the Burberry, doing his level best to take up all of the two seats -- so as not to have to share with a tree-hugger or a negro, and also just because he deserves it for his many John Galtian contributions to society -- will be reading the corporatist rag with great, self-satisfed concentration. Some people can even read smugly.


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