There’s a saying in the South that’s lost on folks more accustomed to a different type of passive aggression. It encompasses the sweetest type of dismissal possible; a nugget of apathy candy-coated in condescension. “Oh, bless your heart,” they say.
Now more than ever, Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros frontman Alex Ebert is having a bless your heart moment. Ebert tells PandoDaily that he “can’t write a love song anymore. Pessimism is good as counterculture, but when it becomes primary it creates stasis.”
Using some magical optimism apparently culled from supporting “celebrity” hackers whose idealistic pursuits ultimately amount to apps for the technologically savvy, nary seeing nor making much impact on the under-served populations that can’t even afford the devices they run on, much less properly navigate them, Ebert has decided to help launch something called SecondGov.
Somewhat mimicking ideas already out there and thus showing little originiality, SecondGov is aimed at creating a mirror government of the one that America already has, which is somehow supposed to inspire change in reality.
Though Ebert decries the attitude that technology is simply used as a distraction, he’s showing that SecondGov is not only perpetuating that but adding pointless noise to a cacophony of commentators. It’s like shouting about urban planning because you just played SimCity and are super fucking on that shit, man; like you really know how to make a city and your fake city is gonna change the real world.
The point Ebert makes in defending SecondGov is that if a faux candidate running for fake governor of not real California gets more votes than California’s actual (and revered) Governor Jerry Brown, then Brown and the rest of his gubernatorial cohorts must take the SecondGov Governor seriously. Or something.
SecondGov is not without some credibility: It’s enlisting the help of “award-winning economists, political scientists, technologists, and other intellectual and financial resources,” as Pando reports. Want in on the ground floor as SecondGov seeks to launch their first project, “The New IRS?” Head to secondgov.org and they’ll let you know when they launch. It’ll be more fun than slogging through David Foster Wallace’s IRS opus The Pale King.
The scant details given about The New IRS show fake tax-payers with 100% of their tax dollars, which they can then divvy up into various public services of their choosing. Besides clearly showing no concept of properly balancing a budget, that style of allocating funds is about as well thought out as making the decision of which profession you’d like in the Oregon Trail before buying a shit-ton of ammo and killing off way too many squirrels.
It also points to its founders being out of touch with the current economic landscape regarding social services, complex tax brackets, and the general interest of a populace whose least concerns happen to be where their tax dollars are going when they have difficulties even making enough to pay taxes at all. You know who else is out of touch with the common man? Most politicians. Way to fucking go.