Guest Post: May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor - Part 1: The Reaping

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform blog,

“Human history seems logical in afterthought but a mystery in forethought. In every prior Fourth Turning, the catalyst was foreseeable but the climax was not.” -  The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe – 1997

We are five years into the Crisis that will not resolve itself until sometime in the 2020’s. No one can predict the specific events that will fundamentally change history over the next decade, but the catalysts of debt, civic decay and global disorder were evident sixteen years ago when Strauss and Howe wrote their prophetic generational history. The volcanic eruption occurred in 2008 when the worldwide financial system blew and the molten lava continues to spew forth and flow along the Federal Reserve created channels, protecting the corrupt establishment while incinerating senior citizens, the working middle class and Millennials. Deep within the volcano the pressure is building again as the mood of the country darkens. It will blow again and the economic, social, political and military distress will catalyze into a catastrophic emergency that will tear the fabric of the country asunder. The existing social order will be swept away and replaced by a new paradigm which could be better or far worse.

“Imagine some national (and probably global) volcanic eruption, initially flowing along channels of distress that were created during the Unraveling era and further widened by the catalyst. Trying to foresee where the eruption will go once it bursts free of the channels is like trying to predict the exact fault line of an earthquake. All you know in advance is something about the molten ingredients of the climax, which could include the following:

  • Economic distress, with public debt in default, entitlement trust funds in bankruptcy, mounting poverty and unemployment, trade wars, collapsing financial markets, and hyperinflation (or deflation).
  • Social distress, with violence fueled by class, race, nativism, or religion and abetted by armed gangs, underground militias, and mercenaries hired by walled communities.
  • Political distress, with institutional collapse, open tax revolts, one-party hegemony, major constitutional change, secessionism, authoritarianism, and altered national borders.
  • Military distress, with war against terrorists or foreign regimes equipped with weapons of mass destruction.”

The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe – 1997

Linear thinkers are incapable or unwilling to understand that history is cyclical, primarily driven by national mood changes and the interaction of generations entering different stages in their 80 year life cycle. We’ve seen this story before, but those who lived through the last Fourth Turning have mostly died out, and our techno-narcissistic populace has absolutely no interest in understanding history beyond last night’s episode of Duck Dynasty. The mood of the country during a Turning is often captured in literature and/or film produced during that period.

The last Fourth Turning encompassed the period from the Great Crash in 1929 through the Great Depression and World War II, ending in 1946 with a new world order. Four novels written during this Crisis captured the dystopian nature of the time, reflecting the fear, pain, anger, brutality, and courageousness of the common man during that perilous period. Huxley’s Brave New World (1932), Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath (1939), Orwell’s 1984 (written during WWII), and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy (written from 1937 through 1949) are masterpieces of literature which captured the aura of the times in which they were penned. Only one of the novels was brought to film during the Crisis, with John Ford’s brilliant Grapes of Wrath screen adaptation capturing the suffering and desperation of common folk during the Great Depression.

Most of what passes for literature and film these days is nothing more than glorified commercials or corporate created twaddle designed for narcissistic, mindless, teenage girls. Many will dismiss Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy and the film adaptations as nothing more than run of the mill teenager nonsense. They are making a huge mistake. Decades from now, if we make the right choices during this Fourth Turning, The Hunger Games will be viewed as the novels and films that captured the darkening, rebellious mood of the Crisis. It is not a coincidence the first novel was published in September 2008. The worldwide financial meltdown initiated by the Wall Street financial elite and their paid for cronies in the nation’s capital, occurred in September 2008 and marked the commencement of this Fourth Turning. Collins has brilliantly created a dystopian nightmare that combines the shallowness and superficiality of our reality TV culture with our never ending wars of choice and rise of our surveillance state, while blending the decadence and debauchery of the declining Roman Empire. She also unwittingly places her characters in their proper generational roles during a Fourth Turning Crisis.

Collins was a military brat who was fortunate enough to have a father that taught her the truth about historical events, not the propaganda taught in our public schools today.

“He was career Air Force, a military specialist, a historian, and a doctor of political science. When I was a kid, he was gone for a year in Viet Nam. It was very important to him that we understood about certain aspects of life. So, it wasn’t enough to visit a battlefield, we needed to know why the battle occurred, how it played out, and the consequences. Fortunately, he had a gift for presenting history as a fascinating story. He also seemed to have a good sense of exactly how much a child could handle, which is quite a bit.”

She learned lessons about war, poverty, oppression, and the brutality and corruption of the ruling classes. Her knowledge of history, the visual images of reality shows and the Iraq War displayed on TV created the idea for her Hunger Games trilogy.

“I was channel surfing between reality TV programming and actual war coverage when Katniss’ story came to me. One night I’m sitting there flipping around and on one channel there’s a group of young people competing for, I don’t know, money maybe? And on the next, there’s a group of young people fighting an actual war. And I was tired, and the lines began to blur in this very unsettling way, and I thought of this story.”

The central storyline of The Hunger Games is there are twelve districts subservient to the Capitol in the totalitarian nation of Panem. The country consists of the affluent Capitol, located in the Rocky Mountains, and twelve desperately poor districts ruled by the Capitol. The Capitol is lavishly opulent and technologically advanced, but the twelve districts are in varying states of poverty. As punishment for a past rebellion against the Capitol wherein twelve of the districts were defeated and the thirteenth purportedly destroyed, one boy and one girl from each of the twelve districts, between the ages of twelve and eighteen, are selected by lottery to compete in the “Hunger Games” on an annual basis.


The Games are a televised spectacle, with the participants, called “tributes”, being forced to fight to the death in a treacherous outdoor arena. It’s a combination of American Idol, Survivor, and Middle Eastern warfare. The victorious tribute and his or her home district are then remunerated with extra food and supplies. The objective of the Hunger Games is to provide superficial reality TV entertainment for the vacuous small-minded masses in the Capitol and serve as a constant reminder to the Districts of the Capitol’s supremacy and supposed omnipotence. The Capitol ruling with an iron fist over its 13 Districts is clearly founded upon the British Empire running roughshod over the 13 American colonies and harvesting resources and taxes to maintain their wealth, power and control. Collins utilizes her knowledge of ancient Greek and Roman history and merging it with our degraded shallow TV culture to meld a dystopian nightmare of brutality, child murder, voyeuristic sadism, and a fragile, rotting empire.


 “A significant influence would have to be the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. The myth tells how in punishment for past deeds, Athens periodically had to send seven youths and seven maidens to Crete, where they were thrown in the Labyrinth and devoured by the monstrous Minotaur. Even as a kid, I could appreciate how ruthless this was. Crete was sending a very clear message: “Mess with us and we’ll do something worse than kill you. We’ll kill your children.” And the thing is, it was allowed; the parents sat by powerless to stop it. Theseus, who was the son of the king, volunteered to go. I guess in her own way, Katniss is a futuristic Theseus.

In keeping with the classical roots, I send my tributes into an updated version of the Roman gladiator games, which entails a ruthless government forcing people to fight to the death as popular entertainment. The world of Panem, particularly the Capitol, is loaded with Roman references. Panem itself comes from the expression “Panem et Circenses” which translates into ‘Bread and Circuses’.” Suzanne Collins

Any similarities between propaganda posters in Panem and propaganda in America are purely coincidental, I’m sure.

 “At least once every human should have to run for his life, to teach him that milk does not come from supermarkets, that safety does not come from policemen, that ‘news’ is not something that happens to other people. He might learn how his ancestors lived and that he himself is no different–in the crunch his life depends on his agility, alertness, and personal resourcefulness.”  - Robert Heinlein

The Reaping of Wealth


“War, terrible war. Widows, orphans, a motherless child. This was the uprising that rocked our land. Thirteen districts rebelled against the country that fed them, loved them, protected them. Brother turned on brother until nothing remained. And then came the peace, hard fought, sorely won. A people rose up from the ashes and a new era was born. But freedom has a cost. When the traitors were defeated, we swore as a nation we would never know this treason again. And so it was decreed, that each year, the various districts of Panem would offer up in tribute, one young man and woman, to fight to the death in a pageant of honor, courage and sacrifice. The lone victor, bathed in riches, would serve as a reminder of our generosity and our forgiveness. This is how we remember our past. This is how we safeguard our future.”President Snow – Hunger Games

A major theme in the novels is the tremendous wealth inequality between the Capitol and most of the districts. District 12, the home of Katniss Everdeen the protagonist, is the most desperately poor. District 12 is located in the Appalachian region of the former USA. They are tasked with providing the Capitol resources obtained from dangerous mines. The population lives a bleak existence in poverty and squalor, with starvation always looming like an apparition of death. The districts are essentially slave plantations to be pillaged for whatever the dictatorial Capitol demands.  The districts exist to harvest resources, such as fish, coal, lumber, crops, and gems, all sent to fulfill their quotas.  Many districts, such as 12 and 11, don’t have enough coal to power their own district or enough food to feed their citizens. Districts 1, 2 and 4 are closer and more allied with the Capitol, resulting in them receiving more support, better food, consumer goods, and military protection. The wealth inequality between the ruling class and the working class in the districts is the primary cause of discontent and increasing rebelliousness.

The parallels with our corporate fascist surveillance state are unmistakable. The wealth and power in our country is concentrated in the hands of ruling elite who primarily reside in the nation’s capital of Washington D.C. and the financial capital of New York City. The top 1% control 42% of the nation’s financial wealth, while the bottom 80% control less than 5% of the financial wealth.   

 Table 1: Income, net worth, and financial worth in the U.S. by percentile, in 2010 dollars

Wealth or income class

Mean household income

Mean household net worth

Mean household financial (non-home) wealth

Top 1 percent




Top 20 percent




60th-80th percentile




40th-60th percentile




Bottom 40 percent





From Wolff (2012); only mean figures are available, not medians.  Note that income and wealth are separate measures; so, for example, the top 1% of income-earners is not exactly the same group of people as the top 1% of wealth-holders, although there is considerable overlap.

The concentration of wealth in the hands of the few if achieved through superior work ethic and/or intellectual advantage would not cause discontent among the masses. Henry Ford, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were admired for creating businesses and employing people. They earned their wealth. Today, it has become clear to all critical thinking people that a small cabal of super-rich men constituting an invisible ruling class have captured our financial and political system. They are the .1% who run the Wall Street banks, control the Federal Reserve, buy off the politicians of both parties, and pay lobbyists to write the laws and tax regulations. They use their ill-gotten wealth to maintain the status quo and further pillage the wealth of the working class through financial market manipulation, man-made inflation and outright theft. As 47 million Americans depend upon food stamps and other welfare programs to get by and real unemployment exceeds 20%, the wealth inequality in the nation has reached levels only seen in 1929, prior to the Great Crash outset of the last Fourth Turning. The mounting anger and discontent among the former working middle class is palatable. Those at the top of the food chain have rigged the system and get richer by the day. They bribe the lower classes with welfare benefits, taken from the working middle class, in an effort to stave off riots in the streets.         



Rentier capitalism, the economic practice of parasitic monopolization of access to physical, financial, and intellectual property, has replaced free market capitalism, with the rentier class generating billions of illicit financialization profits while contributing nothing to society. We’ve become a modern day Panem, an imperialistic state thriving on the slave labor of other countries and inflicting our bastardized form of democracy at the point of Tomahawk missiles. In order to survive, Katniss defiantly and illegally hunts outside the District 12 fence perimeter and the famished citizens openly defy the law with their black market trading at the Hob. Desperate times lead to desperate measures.

When people despair, laws designed to maintain the status quo are deemed inconsequential by the peasants. You can see this happening in our society today. Welfare fraud among the lower classes is rampant. Bartering and working under the table for cash to avoid the crushing tax burden is growing. The rise of bitcoin as an alternative currency and the growing popularity of having possession of physical gold and silver is a reaction to the banker/politician fiat currency debt scheme to impoverish the masses. When the people see the bankers (Jamie Dimon) and former politicians (Jon Corzine) breaking laws with impunity, they feel no obligation to obey laws designed to keep them under the thumb of the ruling class. The fallacy of all men being created equal, with the American dream achievable for everyone, is still propagated by the government media propaganda mouthpieces. You’d have to be asleep to believe it.

In reality the ultra-rich have captured the system and have stacked the deck in their favor. This theme is captured in the Hunger Games during the reaping process, which is supposed to be random, with rich and poor equally likely to get chosen. In reality, the poor are much more likely than the rich to be reaped as tributes. In exchange for extra rations of food and oil necessary to keep from starving or freezing to death, called tesserae, those children eligible for the Hunger Games can enter their names into the reaping additional times. Most children of poor families have to take tesserae to survive, so the children of poor families have more entries in the reaping than children of wealthy families who need no tesserae. The odds are never in their favor. The current version of the Hunger Games for our youth is loading them up with government peddled student loan debt, with no jobs available when they graduate, leaving them enslaved in unpayable debt.  

The rich who do become tributes from the more prosperous districts have an additional advantage, because they are often trained to take part in the Games and volunteer to do so. They are bigger, stronger, well fed and groomed to win. The poor tributes face certain death. The fact is you can only push people so far before they fight back. The arrogance and hubris of the rich governing class leads them to disregard the misery of the lowly peasants, while they intensify their pillaging and burning of the countryside. Eventually a spark ignites a revolutionary spirit and unleashes a torrent of violence and retribution. History is ripe with instances of the downtrodden masses rising up and throwing off the yoke of authoritarian despots. Fourth Turnings are when the existing social order is swept away in an avalanche of violence and bloodshed.              

Bread, Circuses & Reality TV

“What must it be like, I wonder, to live in a world where food appears at the press of a button? How would I spend the hours I now commit to combing the woods for sustenance if it were so easy to come by? What do they do all day, these people in the Capitol, besides decorating their bodies and waiting around for a new shipment of tributes to roll in and die for their entertainment?”Katniss Everdeen – Hunger Games

The name of the nation – Panem, derives from the Latin phrase panem et circenses, which translates into ‘bread and circuses’. The idiom is meant to describe entertainment used to distract public attention from the corruption and vices of the governing class. By the government providing basic food and ample entertainment, the citizens voluntarily sacrifice liberties and rights for safety, security, and sustenance. The debauched occupants of the Capitol are the wealthiest and most decadent of all Panem, and the city’s affluence is fueled by the compulsory labor of the districts. The degenerates of the Capitol are known for their “creative” outfits, outrageous hair and ridiculous sense of fashion, even to the extent of dying the color of their own skin, or having whiskers implanted. Food and amusement are major drivers of the Hunger Games plot. The impoverished citizens, particularly in Districts 12 and 11 are on the verge of starvation, while the Capitol has food in abundance and throws lavish parties with extravagant and copious quantities of cuisine.

The superficial decadent upper class in the Capitol embraced overindulgence to such an extreme they purposely drank a concoction which would force them to throw up, so they could consume more. The analogy to the Roman vomitoriums during the depraved final days of their declining empire is distinct. Today in America, 47 million lower class Americans are reliant upon food stamps to be fed, while the majority are left to ingest processed poison packaged as food by mega-corporations and relentlessly marketed on television to a dumbed down populace. The ultra-rich dine on caviar and champagne in their penthouse suites, mansions in the Hamptons, or make reservations at restaurants not available to the 99.9%.

Appearances are extremely important in the post-apocalyptic pretentious world of the Hunger Games. Style and ostentatious fashion are everything to the affluent citizens of the plutocratic Capitol. It is natural to tattoo and dye their bodies’ in bright colors, as well as undergo plastic surgery to improve their looks. Some people of the Capitol have gems implanted in their skin, as well as talons. Capitol residents regularly wear wigs in a multitude of shocking colors. The degradation of our society can be seen in the worship of Hollywood created stars and pop singers freaks like Lady Gaga. The filthy rich deform their bodies with plastic surgery to change their natural appearance. By mutilating their bodies with surgery and tattoos, the media glorified fashionistas set the tone for a cultural decay. The lower classes can’t afford expensive plastic surgery, so they cover themselves in hideous tattoos in a pathetic attempt at individuality, when they are just conforming like lemmings to what they are told is trendy. The vain and narcissistic are too ignorant to realize their worship of celebrity and purchase of the latest fashions in clothes and jewelry are the sheep-like behavior of conformists.

The voyeuristic exploitation of children is taken to an extreme in The Hunger Games with their terror, suffering and slaughter televised for the enjoyment of a blood thirsty public. Murder as mass entertainment in a reality TV game show format illustrates a truly depraved culture. The American TV culture turns news, tragedy, childhood and war into morbid reality TV entertainment. The news, as reported by the corporate legacy media, is nothing more than propaganda generated by the establishment to support their continued control over the financial and governmental levers. It is designed to distract, misinform and obscure the truth.  What the news cameras show is not reality and facades are more consequential than the truth – a Wag the Dog world. Virtually half of prime time TV is a staged voyeuristic display of moronic triviality, requiring no thought and providing a form of passive sedation for low IQ imbeciles. The sexual exploitation of children in shows such as Toddlers & Tiaras and Honey Boo Boo is considered normal in a thoroughly abnormal society. Television is nothing but show business and we are amusing ourselves to death, as revealed by Neil Postman.    

“When a population becomes distracted by trivia, when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act, then a nation finds itself at risk; culture-death is a clear possibility.” – Neil Postman – Amusing Ourselves to Death

The Hunger Games are televised and discussed incessantly in Panem’s media, just as the pointless Iraq War and faux War on Terror are ceaselessly analyzed, evaluated and hyped by talking heads with bleached teeth, like the smarmy Caesar Flickerman in the Hunger Games movie. The Roman gladiatorial games and the televised “Shock & Awe” of obliterating the city of Baghdad with thousands of cruise missiles are both forms of barbaric entertainment, with the poor sacrificed on the altar of entertainment. The ruling class have successfully dehumanized our culture and turned real people into commodities to be manipulated, used and even killed for profit. Their value becomes determined by how much entertainment they provide, and as such they lose their identities as people. Reality television is a form of objectification. The world has become a stage for our Contollers, their stage managers on Madison Avenue and the mainstream media.       

“Television is our culture’s principal mode of knowing about itself. Therefore — and this is the critical point — how television stages the world becomes the model for how the world is properly to be staged. It is not merely that on the television screen entertainment is the metaphor for all discourse. It is that off the screen the same metaphor prevails.” ? Neil Postman – Amusing Ourselves to Death

We’ve spent the last five decades learning to love our oppression, adoring our technology, glorying in our distaste for reading books, and wilfully embracing our ignorance. Huxley’s vision of a population, passively sleep walking through lives of self- absorption, triviality, drug induced gratification, materialism and irrelevance has come to pass. Only in the last two decades has Orwell’s darker vision of oppression, fear, surveillance, hate and intimidation begun to be implemented by the ruling class. We’ve become a people controlled by pleasure and pain, utilized in varying degrees by those in power. Stay tuned for our modern day Hunger Games after this commercial for your very own Duck Dynasty Chia Pet.

In Part 2 of this article – May the Odds Ever Be in Your Favor – Hope & Defiance, I’ll address how Edward Snowden is our mockingjay who has ignited a fire that will lead to revolution and the next phase of this Fourth Turning.

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Crawdaddy's picture

What happens when every dude with a "NO treatment for you" answer from OCare or a terminal illness decides to take some apparatchiks with them? Hunger games may turn into Well Fed games.

“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?... The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If...if...We didn't love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation.... We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”

- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

DavidPierre's picture


More of your Hollywood ... Pop Culture Bull Shit

You buy into to that stinking chum ... hook line and sinker.

Th e 4th Turding … a scatter shot hodgepodge of mindless sweeping generalizations. No one really knows the teal future.  

Maybe you should embrace historic reality; analyze the past starting with September 9, 2001 and how it relates to November 22, 1963.

Strauss and Howe are not making a very compelling argument for why anyone should believe anything they say.  Don't be fooled by the bullet lists, tables, and apparent organization of the chapters - there is not any sort of cohesive argument.  Instead, they meander about, trying to convince with terrible analogies and by randomly grouping historical events together that conveniently fit into their ideas.   There is no forward progression in the evidence the authors try to present.

This book is very bad science.  

The authors try to make the flimsy, narrow and Euro-centric data fit their wobbling and flimsy hypothesis.

 The United States of Assassinations has been at war with citizens for over 50 years. 

You are not even aware of it.

Your beloved government puppets and their Wall Street puppeteers have used their control of the mainstream and Hollywood media to fully utilize Edward Bernays’ propaganda techniques to convince you of the OffaliCIAl 9/11 story line.

For anyone willing to uncover the facts and think critically about the storyline being presented, an entirely different reality is revealed.

There can be no change unless you have the courage to make a stand.

What Really Happened on 9-11? 


Next time at least address real events, (JFK and 9/11), that actually TURNED the world.


LetThemEatRand's picture

I'd say you're both right.  Hunger Games may be pop culture, but it is also literature (it was a series of books before it became Hollywood fare) and good literature usually has a message.   Hunger Games may be a little "in your face" on the message, but so was 1984 if you think about it.   What amazes me is how few people who read/watch Hunger Games actually get the message, so maybe it's not as obvious as it seems to us.  A lot of people read/watch Hunger Games, whereas relatively few bother to read sites like this one that discuss the truth about the world unfolding around us.

To me, 9/11 has been used to create or at least massively expand the control grid to keep those in power who really caused 9/11.  The two themes are not mutually exclusive.

fonzannoon's picture

I never saw/read the hunger games. I read "The long walk" years ago and that was also one hell of a book. Freaked me out.

LetThemEatRand's picture

I haven't read that one but just looked it up and I see it's a King book.  I've read probably a dozen King novels and will add that one to my list. 

fonzannoon's picture

yeah man it's a good read. check it out when u have the time.

Crawdaddy's picture

A King quote from The Talisman pings through my head when I see/hear central bankers and politicians: "fusshing feefs."

fonzannoon's picture

"Garrity's father, before the squads took him away, had been fond of calling the Major the rarest and most dangerous monster a nation can produce, a society-supported sociopath"

long walk

outofideas's picture

What I find interesting is that there is a lot of anti-establishment literature in children/youth books.  Both Hunger Games and Harry Potter are sweetly anti-authoritarian and aimed at a young generation that is going to grow up in a increasingly oppressive world.  For example I'm not saying Harry Potter is responsible for a the younger generation being opposed to gun control (HP's wand control was a very interesting story line), what I'm saying is that these books are successful not because they mold the minds of a generation but because they FIT the minds of a generation.  The future may suck, but as long as the youth reads Hunger Games and Harry Potter I hold out hope.

willwork4food's picture

Then you don't know what you've missed. The Hunger Games saga is real and it's coming.

Zero Point's picture

The Long Walk is an excellent book.

Damn it'd be a griity film if they ever made it.

Actually, The Running Man is right up there as well.

I reckon they made that shitty Arny action film with the same title, just to shift some attention from Kings early anti establishment bent.

Mind you, he wrote both of those under a pseudonym, so who knows.

fallout11's picture

The ancient Greeks, from whom we inherited the early tenets of western civilization, used to say: "Art imitates life".  Certainly seems to hold true.

BLOTTO's picture

Reality is their illusion.


Their fiction is the reality.


acetinker's picture

You self-righteous prick.  You criticize Quinn w/o realizing that your obsession with 9/11 is preventing you from seeing, and participating in the actual awakening of a critical mass.  Is it soooo fkn important that everyone see things exactly the way you see them?  Is it possible that Quinn's strategy is to capitalize on current trends rather than gruesome history to inform and cajole?

I don't know exactly how 9/11 came to pass, and even though I'm first to question the official story, I can say with relative certainty that you don't either.  So, stuff it, for now.  The public don't wanna know.  You think you can change that?

Wahooo's picture

No kidding. I'd have to be tied down and anesthetized to read that entire swill.

TheReplacement's picture

Maybe if they made a 30 minute reality show out of it you could stay tuned to it? 

acetinker's picture

Ass-u-ming you're talking to me, I don't have dish or cable, just off-air tv, which I studiously ignore.  My wife is a different story, she loves the shit that makes me wanna puke, and I love her, so there.

All I'm saying is if the average Joe could wrap his/her head around the deceit that is 9/11, the revolution would already be in-progress.  Average Joe's can't process pure evil, though.  They can't believe it exists.

They can, however, process the theme of a hypothetical book, or movie.  I'm thinking we should be glad to take what we can get.

Yeah, it'll probably never amount to a hill of shit, but I'll never stop cheering for the underdogs... which in fact, are us.

NoDebt's picture

I just took a break from watching 'The Hunger Games' with my kids to have a smoke and check in on ZH.  Weird this would come up.  I'm going to go finish watching it (never seen it before, but so far it's pretty impressive, if you can catch the symbolism while you watch).  


bunzbunzbunz's picture

When you're done, get some free bitcoins from They have paid out on time since I started going there (5 weeks now).

Bro of the Sorrowful Figure's picture

sorry to lend advice to someone who may not want it. i smoked a pack a day for 8-9 years (im 26), plus a couple packs during drinking nights in college. bought an e-cigarrette on a whim in january 2013. used it for 6 months, then quit that. now completely cigarette free. still have to use the e-cigarette when i drink, sometimes after a stressful day, but i use the lowest nicotine content. once you get on the e-cigarette you can slowly lower the nicotine content until the psychological addiction is stronger than the physical one. at that point e-cig is much easier to completely put down than are real cigs. also, lungs clear up in a week, throat clears up, allergies improve, feel better and healthier in general. now i cant stand the smell of real cigs, although i would never admit that to a smoker because i used to fucking hate the assholes who judge smokers or fake cough or comment on the smell.

here's a good all organic e-liquid website, can also buy the e-cig itself there:

highly recommend it. saved me from something from which i couldnt save myself. make sure you buy a nice one, i tried a shitty small one a couple years ago and it didnt work. try one like this:

give it a try. like i said completely changed my life. from talking to older people who quit, i would say the main difference is that i don't miss smoking. i honestly look back and ask myself what the fuck i was doing. people who didnt quit using e-cig always say they would start smoking again in a heartbeat if they got a terminal disease. i might start smoking my e-cig again but i definitely wouldnt go back to the real thing.

again, im really not an asshole preachy type, so excuse me if this came off that way, but it made a big difference for me.

akak's picture

Bro, I appreciate your post and its frankness, but not to sound equally preachy and assholish, I would just like to ask you, as a former smoker, a question that I have always wanted to ask of a smoker, but never have: Just what was it that made you START smoking in the first place? 

That is the thing that I can never wrap my mind around: people voluntarily chosing to slowly kill themselves, for little or no apparent benefit, while having to pay dearly for the luxury of so doing. (The same question could equally be posed to chronic alcoholics, I suppose).  Not having the "addiction gene" in me, this phenomenon has always bewildered me.

Bro of the Sorrowful Figure's picture

i had my first cigarette when i was 14. my family had just moved to paris and i was going to an all french school. all the hot girls at the school smoked and went to little cafes to drink beer at lunch. not particularly proud to say it, but i followed the crowd (c'mon, i was 14 and there were hot french chicks, what chance did i have?). ps it worked out well for me.

i became a serious smoker around 18. honestly i couldnt tell you the exact moment. i would say it sneaks up on you and then the next thing you know you're smoking everyday.sometimes i loved cigarettes, sometimes i hated them and myself. the latter sentiment was the more frequent one.

id like to point out one thing though, the question you asked is one that could be asked of any variety of things people do. i havent had a soda in 5 years, i never eat fast food, i never eat anything that comes in a plastic bag, i lift weights before i go to work in the morning and sit on my ass as little as possbile. i think the short answer to your question, and it is an issue with which i struggled as a smoker, is that when you light a cigarette you dont think of it as giving yourself cancer, just like when you eat a bigmac you dont think of it as giving yourself diabetes or hypertension. it's a long slow process that ultimately follows a slow at first, then exponential, build up in terms of its negative effects, and we humans tend to see the world in a linear fashion.



NoDebt's picture

Bro- thanks for sharing.  Cigarettes are my last remaining vice.  I'm a peach compared to how I used to be.

Since you shared, let me share a little of my life in return.

I wasn't always the nice guy you know from ZH.  I was a binge drinker with a few other habits on the side (and sometimes no so much on the side).  I ran with the worst crowd I could find.  By my choice- nobody twisted my arm- I sought them out.  In my case, that happened to be some members of a well-known biker club.  I wish to point out clearly here that I was never a member.  I was only a 'wheelman' for a few of them for several years.  Mostly boring crap, but it had it's moments.  I've kicked in the door of a few really bad houses and taken stuff from people who deserved to have stuff taken from them.  I've known what a real 1%er is for well over a decade before Occupy Wall St. ever existed.  I know what PFFP means at a personal level.  I've had my head cracked open and my stomach hit so hard I've suffered internal bleeding.  I smoked cigarettes on the way to the hospital in both cases.

I regret almost none of it.  Almost none.  I must have needed it at the time, though at this point I can't imagine why.  By all rights, I should be dead or in prison.  Yet somehow I'm now a middle-aged husband and father and a well respected member of the community, much to my surprise.

None of this is an excuse for smoking.  Yet, somehow I continue to do so.  If I didn't have children, this wouldn't even show up on the radar screen of issues for me.  But I do.  Which is why I know the cigarettes have to go.  But they have been a part of my life for so long they're embedded in my soul.  They aren't just some health choice for me.  They've been a part of who I am for a long time.  I don't hate them.  

It's not easy to let go of something you don't even hate yet.

Bro of the Sorrowful Figure's picture

NoDebt, great story thanks for sharing, although admittedly i feel like a pretty huge bernanke (read: pussy) by comparison. it's probably good to have my problems put in perspective on occassion. sounds like you've overcome a great deal. if you decide that you really want to quit, e-cigs are a good way to make the transition easier...still feels like you're smoking. good luck with whatever you decide to do. check out, solid resource if you decide to move forward.

willwork4food's picture

Thanks for the stories. For some reason rush hour home was pretty intense tonight-took over an hour to go <35m. When I got home I needed a beer and a cigerrete just to calm down.


I picked a bad day to quit.

TheReplacement's picture

I quit smoking, drinking, and sleeping around with multiple women.  It was the worst 20 minutes of my life.

Crawdaddy's picture

.."people voluntarily chosing to slowly kill themselves, for little or no apparent benefit?

Compared to many of the other risks, e.g. Mexican cantina whores, driving on the 409, owning a 401k, a smoke is the least of my worries.

akak's picture


driving on the 409

Well, I don't know where or what "the 409" is, but I can presume that it is some urban freeway.  And let me tell you, even here in Alaska, the kind of increasingly reckless if not outright suicidal bullshit that I see SO many other drivers engage in on the highway, and in urban surface traffic too, is getting so extreme that I am more and more reluctant to do ANY driving that I do not absolutely have to do, and am more and more on-edge every time that I do go out in traffic (I do not have a daily commute, however, unlike most people).

I am quite self-aware, and know that my driving habits have not changed in 30+ years.  Meanwhile, I see more and more so-called adults driving like teenagers just given their driving licenses that very day --- and with noticeably even LESS regard for others on the road than would have been the case for such teenagers 20 or 30 years ago as well.

Yes_Questions's picture



To your observation of why would someone smoke: I can relate when it comes to a number of behaviors.

Anonymys sex in bus stops

Bungie jumping with the cords attached to big piercings through the pectorals.


Things like that.


But,. for me, smoking was a given.  Grand parents on Dad's owned a tobacco shop, smoked into their 80's.


Gramps on ma's side: smoked to same age.  No heart/lung problems, died "naturally".

I know.


but, for me, its a completely normal part of life.  I am a bad example, though.



Crawdaddy's picture

Some day smoking will be the new trans-fats. A grand nevermind!

Yes_Questions's picture




Global Warming & Terrorism too..



Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I see your problem. You need more fun. Years ago I was driving my daughter and 2 kids to high school. We were going south on the 805 freeway in a torrential downpour. I was driving 55 which was pushing it but I had large snow/ mud tires on my Santa Fe. A crazy guy swung up next to me in a sporty BMW with thin high performance tires, pissed I was going so slow in the fast lane and wanted to pass. That got me fired up and I increased speed so to prevent him. He started to hydroplane badly but was determined to pass me. My daughter screamed " Mom.. don't do it!" I replied " Mommy is just teaching an asshole a lesson" The two kids in the back seat just stared white eyed and knuckled. Finally I got up to 75, he made one last futile attempt and it happened. He hit a large puddle,spun out, hit the center divider and 360'd to the emergency lane on the opposite side of the freeway facing the wrong way.

When we got to school my daughter was major pissed. " Mom, that was crazy. You left the scene of an accident. You deserve to go to jail!" she stomped off after slamming the door. The 2 other kids slinked out without saying a word. I was happy to find they didn't leave 2 urine stains on the back seat.


akak's picture

Miffed, I will refrain from commenting on your highway escapade, but when one drives on roads and highways which are largely ice-covered for fully half the year, frequently crossed by traffic-oblivious moose, with very short winter daylight hours, and routinely passes vehicles in various attitudes and states of damage stuck or overturned in the median, on the shoulders or well off into the trees, one cannot help but say to oneself "there but for the grace of God go I".

Miffed Microbiologist's picture

You are correct. When I had moved to Spokane at 16 and had a glimpse of what truly challenging driving was in harsh weather conditions, i was truly humbled. I will say it dramatically improved my driving skills. San Diegans are horrible drivers because they rarely face difficult driving situations. The biggest event here is the first rain of the year. The roads are slick due to oil over months of no rain Just a light rain and there will be HUNDREDS of cars in accidents in a few short hours. The morons never learn and the whole scenario is replayed the next year.

My biggest problem is I despise stupid arrogant aggressive A-holes. If you ever met me you would characterize me as gracious,fun loving, fairly well spoken,vibrant person. However when pushed I will fight to the bitter end fearlessly. Ive done such outrageous things when I was fighting some injustice ( like that freeway incident) my family actually had an intervention and got me into anger management training. After 6 months I wanted to quit saying I was better but they had another intervention and stuck me back in. Thank god I'm not so bad or I probably would have killed myself, gone to jail or possibly kill an unfortunate asshole.

I grew up in a polite, gracious respectful society that has turn into a pit of self centered, grasping mass of unscrupulous " people" that only see me as something to use for their own benefit. My sense of fairness reeled at the indignation. And, that this seems to be increasing everyday with no end in sight, i must be ever vigilant not to go over the edge.


acetinker's picture

Miffed, I am in total agreeance on how to handle self-important assholes on the roadway of life.  I have a 19 yo daughter, though, who still thinks that the world bows at her feet.  Thing is, for the most part, the world does bow at her feet.  People don't believe she's my daughter, she's that pretty.

She's my baby girl, and I love her dearly, but there's just no way I can get her to come around to my way of thinking, because her current situation is that she can get whatever she wants, whenever she wants, because of her looks.



Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Ace dear, never call yourself irrelevant. You may just be temporarily ignored for now. I was where your daughter was at nineteen. A pretty buxom blond that had lots of male attention. Stupid thing was I never used it to my advantage and had to do everything the hard way. Now, at 52 I look back and kick myself at the missed opportunities. My problem was I was bored unless infinitely challenged. I wanted the pride of personal accomplishment not handed an easy life. Having a tough childhood probably made the difference. Having a mother who harped I was a good for nothing loser that would fail at my endeavors made me want to prove her wrong if it killed me.

The sad truth for women is looks will fail eventually. If that is all you had, you are in for a whole lot of hurt in the future. I am thankful I figured this out before it was too late.


acetinker's picture

I just call 'em as I see 'em.  My middle daughter, now 30, fought me tooth and nail in her teen years.  The guys she fancied were morally bankrupt, having abandoned other girls with their progeny.  Needless to say, I was distraught.

Today, she is married to a guy I didn't think existed anymore.  He is self-employed and self-sufficient.  Owns tractors and arable land that he bought and paid for by the sweat of his brow.  I don't know how this happened, but I thank a Diety I've never met for him, and for her good fortune.

Hoping the li'l one will be as fortunate.

Thanks for the kind words, btw;)

Serenity Now's picture


"Owning a 401k" made me laugh out loud.  That was a really funny sentence.  

JB's picture

I know the question wasn't directed at me, but I'll answer, as I'm am now smoke free for six months after smoking for nearly twenty years.

It sneaks up on you. I smoked herbs, but I thought people who smoked cigs were stupid. But I wanted to learn to blow rings.

So I would bum a cig and practice. Eventually someone told me to buy my own pack. 'But I don't smoke,' I protested. 'Yes you do,' he replied. 'You just don't buy them.'

I bought an ecig on May 30, and haven't had one since. I took a single drag after a twelve hour road trip on day 23, and it was so awful that I couldn't believe I had done it for so long.


MeelionDollerBogus's picture

I used to smoke a pack a day. Down to a pack a week.
I didn't try to quit, just got busy doing other things.
My strongest incentive to quit, and i love smoking, is knowing how many ounces of silver I could have if I didn't smoke at all.

acetinker's picture

Suzanne Collins is one sick, depraved, insightful broad.  Kids' entertainment my ass!  I wanna have her babies!

BLOTTO's picture

Aside from other things..'a book about kids killing kids.'



Personal life

Suzanne Collins resides in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, within Newtown, Connecticut with her husband and their two children.[8][20][21] She is a Roman Catholic.[22]

Just a coincidence...



Raymond K Hessel's picture

What the fuck is that supposed to mean, dick breath?

acetinker's picture

LOL, Ray!  Dunno Blotto's level of damage, or exactly what he's tryin' to tell me.  I already knew where Ms. Collins hails from, but since all three novels pre-date the Sandy Hook shooting, it's hard to draw a parallel.  Even so, I once thought ZH'er blindman a blithering idiot until I realized he was speaking a different tongue.  It's english, and it sounds like blabber until you realize the syntax.  Dick-breath?  Maybe so, maybe not.

Yes_Questions's picture



My acquaintence with the books is from having them read to me by Mrs. Questions during a long road trip. In the Rockies.  Previously, I had the impression the story was like Twilight, a love story, basically.


Collins creates a world fully integrating all Tin Foil, Paranoid, Observant, Concerned, AWAKE, *Prepper*, theories how the not too distant future may look following this time.  


I have not found an interview of what inspired the setting for this story, but I would not be surprised if Collins read a little of what some people expect to happen soon and went from there.