How the Average American Imperial lived.

(Cascadian National University Lecture Hall)

Morning again. Hey, great job on the inter-murals last week to all of our students. Great showing by everybody, and I know it's not easy competing against schools where they have entire funding departments dedicated to sports.

Which is a great way to bring the discussion around to some lighter topics.

So far in this class we've covered some of the more deep aspects of American society, touching on the reasons why they did what they did. However, how did the average Americans really live at that time? What did they see, what did they feel, and most importantly, why they did it.

Now, we won't focus on the lives of the rich. If you want to focus on that, there's tons of stories, books, and lots and lots of archived performances to observe. The opulence of their society was obvious to all, mostly because they advertised EVERYWHERE. You won't find an American artifact without at least four to five labels, logos and various other warnings, all of which attest to the quality and perfection of the object.

Good luck getting one of those to work now, I might add. A lot of suckers get taken in by some guy selling what he calls genuine American quality and quote labels and logos as proof. I will attest that I have not seen one Cell Phone ever work like they do in the stories. I understand there's a lot more than just a couple of phones to get it to work.

Anyway, back to how the average American lived. The average American lived in a multigenerational unit which was almost always at odds. Much of the American Propaganda of the time worked hard to ensure that families struggled for the Empire, and not for the family, and as a result sowed as much inter generational hatred as possible. The home would generally be owned by the eldest family member, who would then pass it down to the next resident, who would take over the duties of paying the rent on the property to the state. Often the situation would mirror that of the state, with the younger family members paying their rent to the elders, who would in turn pay it to the state. It became an unofficial serfdom of sorts, with the ultimate authority lying in who had the right to summon Soldiers to settle the matter without major consequence. In essence, who ever payed the largest share to the Empire directly.

The Average American was expected to work every day. If you did not, you were considered to be a poor slave who needed constant monitoring. An average American Slave was expected to be a performer, a laborer, and a book keeper. Firstly, the American slave had to perform for the clients of his owner, flattering and behaving submissively in a manner to impart gratitude for the client's business. Then the Slave was expected to perform whatever task that the client expected, with a cheery disposition and all the while attempting to gain more business for the owner. The slave was expected to extoll the virtues of the owner's products, disdain those of competing merchants, and all the while show joy in their servitude. Those that did not do these things were punished by the withholding of money, which was vital for even the water that slaves had to drink. The Slave was also expected to keep perfect track of an owners funds, and if even a dollar was out of line, the slave would not only be punished via the withholding of money, but sometimes forced to work even harder and longer hours.

An Average American was lucky to have a room to themselves. Most shared sleeping space with either family or others without family. However, that hostility that I spoke of earlier reared its head again, and even those with family were often forced to seek shelter with others who had been driven out. For the lowest, they slept on the streets or in extremely flimsy homes that they built out of whatever they could. These homes were always subject to destruction by the Imperial Soldiers, who would often delight in driving the "Bums" out of their assigned cities.

So, an American would wake, and immediately take stimulants. Every day. Just like now.
(General Chuckle through the class)

However, once again, that whole American work ethic comes into it. Instead of making your own cup of coffee, thinking about how much you had left, if you remembered to go to the dairy, whatever... An American would get in their car, drive to a restaurant, and not even get out of the car to be handed their coffee. And if it wasn't perfect in every single detail, an American would feel totally justified in having the slave who made it punished.

Then they would proceed to their task, which half the time was doing the exact same thing. Those that didn't have to directly serve clients often felt themselves superior to the common slaves, and would spend the entire day ensuring that the slaves were always working, and punishing those who did not. They of course feared the same from their superiors, and so on, up to almost the highest levels of power.

So, most of the time, an American would spend their time doing as little work as possible, and keeping their head down. The old joke, "The Boss is coming, look busy" was not a joke to Americans. The secret to a long life in America was not working hard, because if you did you would injure yourself out with constant demands and ever increasing work, but LOOKING like you were working hard. This resulted in the most successful among the lower classes not being those who succeeded, but those who took the credit. As you can imagine, backstabbing and intrigue were rife with the lower classes.

Slaves would delight in fighting with each other, trying to one up each other in meaningless diversions that brought zero tangible gains. A slave would spend years practicing on their own time for the chance to fight in the gladiatorial games. Sometimes they'd have a rich patron, or their family would support them, but it was considered to be greedy to demand that the time you spent in such hard labor to be counted against your work requirements. For the few very lucky who succeeded in the games, fame and great Cult power was promised, and occasionally delivered. Only very occasionally of course, and it would immediately be snatched back upon the slimmest of pretexts.

Watching the games, though was something nearly every American could do. There were tons of diversions, and after a day of work, they were provided to every slave who could pay properly. Often the diversions were about things that they could have if they only worked harder, and so the propaganda fed back into the need for them to appear to work harder, since so many were succeeding. Of course, no-one could work harder forever, but that didn't stop the propaganda from screaming how hard the obviously fat and lazy upper classes were working.

Americans were expected to also devote their time to the cults. You were expected to participate in shows of devotion every four years, and every two years for the especially devout. The most devout attended every local cult event and eagerly joined in the shouting down of any who questioned the wisdom of the cults. To an American, it didn't matter what cult you were in, as long as you believed in an official Imperial cult. Fringe Imperial cults were looked on with suspicion, but still were tolerated by the vast majority of Americans.

Americans dreamed of success. but were fully aware that hard work was not the way to achieve it in their society. For many, the true American dream was one of finding an unguarded bank vault for ten minutes.

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Steven D's picture

I'm enjoying these. Thx.

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"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

detroitmechworks's picture

@Steven D Not a lot of comments, which either means I'm nailing it or missing so badly that people just don't know how to let me down gently. Smile

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studentofearth's picture

@detroitmechworks Making the effort to comment erases the warm glow of contemplation

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Still yourself, deep water can absorb many disturbances with minimal reaction.
--When the opening appears release yourself.

detroitmechworks's picture

@studentofearth Still first draft, but I'm really enjoying a lot of this. So far it's feeling awesome as an extension of my favorite historian game. "What If..."

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I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

@studentofearth I am still chuckling over the one about coffee as well. So true. And of course the cult thing, so very fitting.

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detroitmechworks's picture

@lizzyh7
...
...
Yes. Smile

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@detroitmechworks I'm still working for one and the cult like atmosphere of it seems to me to be getting worse everyday.

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detroitmechworks's picture

@lizzyh7 It would make sense to use the same tactics that have been proven to work.

Since Corporations did not subscribe to "Ethical" behavior, and only what is "Legal", it was of course only a matter of time before they openly mocked human ethics by declaring themselves religions unto themselves.

Excellent point, and we will get into that more later with regards to the hold that corporate entities had over American cults.

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Steven D's picture

@detroitmechworks everyone has been focused overly much on meta around here lately. For me, you are nailing it.

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"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

snoopydawg's picture

that explains who the guy who is talking is or are there different lecturers about American (?) life in the past?

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Disclaimer: No Russian, living or dead, had anything to do with the posting of this proudly home-grown comment

detroitmechworks's picture

@snoopydawg https://caucus99percent.com/content/cults-late-american-empire

Cliff notes version: This is a lecture series given at the Cascadian National University in the year 2517. The class is "Introduction to the American Empire" and is considered a rather niche field of study, similar to Byzantine History in the modern day.

If this was ever published, It's envisioned as a professor's lecture notes, with hand scrawled notations at points, etc.

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Steven D's picture

@detroitmechworks This is a good idea

Each time you post a new one link to the earlier ones.

Problem solved. Smile

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"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

detroitmechworks's picture

@Steven D And post a link to that. (I'm going to have to write it eventually anyway. Smile )

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earthling1's picture

@Steven D
after Cascadia U. Lecture Hall on each one.
Really enjoying the series D. Keep those cards and letters coming, pleaze.

PS. Can't wait for the one describing the demise of the Empire!

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detroitmechworks's picture

@earthling1 Seeing as they'll be discussing American Expansion and Colonies. In many ways they led directly to the downfall of the empire.

Smile

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snoopydawg's picture

@detroitmechworks

Yeah I agree with Steven to maybe post a bit about this at the start of the next one. I've gone back and read the previous ones. Good job.

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enhydra lutris's picture

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

detroitmechworks's picture

@enhydra lutris The compliments really buoy my spirits. Honestly, looking back with the perspective of trying to make sense of insanity is quite depressing.

Gallows humor has always been popular with veterans. Smile

Course, right now, I just need something light to clear the palate... so here we go.

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earthling1's picture

@detroitmechworks

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

despite the Imperial propaganda about how slaves needed to work harder and longer, those who actually tried to do their job as best as they could were often viewed with suspicion, not only by their co-slaves, but also sometimes by their immediate overseers. In the most extreme cases, attempting to do your job well could even earn the ire of the State, leading one slave to say:

“You do not become a ''dissident'' just because you decide one day to take up this most unusual career. You are thrown into it by your personal sense of responsibility, combined with a complex set of external circumstances. You are cast out of the existing structures and placed in a position of conflict with them. It begins as an attempt to do your work well, and ends with being branded an enemy of society.”

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The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Keep pushing the door open. Light the corners till the melt.
--Magiamma

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

detroitmechworks's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal to the ultimate goals of the Empire. Those that rose above their fellows without properly expressing devotion to the Empire and its cults were rapidly punished, using every means available to the state.

The most common way of dealing with these people was a simple assassination. In particular the Maggot cult and others that subscribed to their philosophy were always willing to enforce the whims of the empire through violence. Of course the empire would claim they were a wolf cult at that point and declare war on wolves.

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in 2499 it was proven beyond a doubt that " For many, the true American dream was one of finding an unguarded bank vault for ten minutes." was absolutely untrue. The True American Dream (TAD) was the Lah-ter-ee and the magic numbers, and the suspension of belief in mathematics that would reward untold riches on the individual. It also proved that poor people were really wealthy in that the larger the lah-ter-ee was, the more money poor people would spend on it.

Enjoying the series. One day I will be rich enough to purchase an expensive stimulant and berate the slave that made it, if my master lets me.

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detroitmechworks's picture

@Snode Funny thing about that was the rich also played the game of Magic Numbers. The difference was that they Always WON. You see, whenever they lost, they would take money from the slaves in order to make up the shortfall.

The slaves of course were not really wealthy, despite the Rich's propaganda. The money that they spent on the Lah-Ter-ee game had to come from somewhere. Some slaves would even go without food to show their devotion to the cult game. Many would emulate the rich and try to take from other poor slaves whenever they could.

Hence why the real American dream was stealing legally. The Lah-Ter-ee was an attempt at getting something for very little. The Cults promoted the Lah-Ter-ee as a sugary, fattening version of what they were actually doing.

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