We thought Jason Wahler was a douchebag the first time he got caught acting like a drunk, racist homophobe while being arrested on unspecific charges of assholishness! But stories from Wahler's weekend altercation with a cop — whom he reportedly described as a "nigger" "faggot" and "poorfuck" (a new one!) a— spurred us to probe more deeply into the anatomy of this troubled young man's rage.
We started off by watching a video wherein Jason and his buddies screen an episode of The Hills, and masturbate. Then we visited Wahler's MySpace page, where we learned Wahler does not attend school, has trouble discerning between the words "to" and "too," and lives in a "penthouse." Later, we read a story in the Wall Street Journal about how difficult it is for students in Palm Beach — which is wealthy like Laguna but with more humidity — to relate to the troubles of the lower classes as depicted in Upton Sinclair's The Jungle. And that was when we remembered a little something we caught in the New York Times Book Review last weekend about a new social trend threatening the values and mores of American society: Capitalism. Suddenly, the terrible truth behind Wahler's seemingly-inexplicable rage all made sense!
Capitalism, Barber writes, "seems quite literally to be consuming itself, leaving democracy in peril and the fate of citizens uncertain." Children's lives are reduced to shopping excursions in which their identities are subsumed by brands — they're the Nike generation, Abercrombie kids, iPod addicts. Our political culture compounds this by elevating the private sector over the public, encouraging Americans to believe that anything the government can do, private enterprise can do better (for example, prisons-for-profit are preferable to those run by the state, mercenaries trump the Marines, and so on). Left unchecked, Barber warns, "infantilization will undo not only democracy but capitalism itself."
So there you have it, dismayed Hills fans: Don't say Karl Marx didn't warn you!