Roll over and play dead
Expanded from the 8-13-2006 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
UPDATED 8-15-2006

Another local baby boy lies dead on the sands of Araby.


Somehow, all the political inside/outside stuff and predictions I had planned for this week don't seem interesting at all. But make no mistake: perverted politics killed 18 year-old Marine Lance Cpl. Jeremy Long of Sun Valley.

A nauseating number of reasons have been advanced for the docility of American citizens. I stand among those guilty of trying to psychoanalyze America: We are looking for daddy to take care of us and want to believe him even if we know he's lying. We are weak co-dependents who can only feel needed and useful when we are being abused.

I've gotten medieval: We want to believe the protector of the tribe. And even biblical: Saul stood head and shoulders above any other man, so the Israelites made him king by acclamation.

A comment by Barbara Ehrenreich in her latest book Bait and Switch got me thinking in another direction.

Henderson soldier killed in Iraq Aug. 9
Associated Press 8-15-2006

In an earlier work entitled Nickel and Dimed, she gave us a firsthand account of trying to survive on minimum wage. For Bait and Switch, she legally changed back to her maiden name, obtained a new Social Security number and spent about a year unsuccessfully trying to land a white-collar job.

She hired consultants and went to seminars to learn the ins and outs of ivory tower cubicle survival, all to no avail. One of the best writers and creative minds in the country couldn't even get entry-level employment, let alone a mid-level position.

ONLY STEPFORD WIVES NEED APPLY: "Only one kind of personality seems to be in demand, one that is relentlessly cheerful, enthusiastic and obedient," she noted. "The requisite personality traits even trump intelligence and do so at all levels of the corporation," she wrote.

"Cheerfulness, upbeatness and compliance: these are the qualities of subordinates – of servants rather than masters," Ehrenreich states, then goes on to quote author Harvey Mackay: "The nicest, most loyal and most submissive employees are often the easiest people to fire."

Ehrenreich makes a comment about corporations which could easily apply to another type of large organization: "What sets the white-collar corporate workers apart and leaves them so vulnerable is the requirement that they identify, absolutely and unreservedly, with their employers."


That's exactly how soldiers are supposed to behave. Once more unto the breach.

"In this line of reasoning, the individual must be patient and 'flexible' – ever-attentive to the changing needs of our corporate leaders – in order for that great abstraction, the economy, to thrive. I can think of many rebuttals to this argument, which eerily echoes the demands for self-sacrifice once made by communist governments….The end result may well be a generalized culture of incompetence, as we saw in the government's response to Hurricane Katrina," Ehrenreich concludes.

You or someone close to you have suffered through working in such environments. You've got to go along to get along and don’tcha dare rock the boat. Fit in. Put on the company uniform, even if it makes you break out in a physical (or worse, mental) rash.

How many times have you heard politicians talk about improving education by prescribing that dry-sounding magic pill named "accountability"? Such charlatans shoot sound bytes at the wrong problem.

Our culture of conformity has resulted in the oft-noted "dumbed down" curriculum which good teachers loathe. Because mass-produced textbooks have to pass muster in retro burgs like Texas, kids can't get interested in the resulting blanded-down pablum.

So we benumb inherent genius, strangling it fresh out of the cradle. We brainwash with cowboy movies and war games to a point where the young won't question the wisdom or righteousness of going to war, they just go.

If they survive to adulthood, they don't challenge questionable elections because they need to believe daddy's comforting lies that the tally is honest and that everything will be alright come morning.

The meaning of the lives risked or lost while protesting in places like Tiananmen Square, the Ukraine and Mexico bounces off such innocent and unquestioning sheep.

Their jobs and thus their futures are exported, families ruined, communities unraveled.

Their parents gripe about the cost of gasoline to drive them to the Army recruiting center.

Our national horror movie of rich potential cleft in twain continues in an endless loop.

The draft is coming soon to a theater of war near you.

Who will be accountable?

Who will answer?


   Lisa Albiniano, William's mother, was called by doctors at Cal-Davis at 4:00 a.m. Saturday, July 29. She was ordered to immediately take her son to Washoe Med ER, as his blood pressure and heart rate were spiking. (Thank heaven someone at the hospital ordered tests notwithstanding the family's financial straits.)

   William was treated and sent home. Mrs. Albiniano continues her round-the-clock efforts to save her son's life.

Complete info about William's case

ALBINIANO UPDATE. KRNV TV-4 anchor Joe Hart's feature on critically ill eight year-old William Albiniano will probably air this Wednesday, perhaps on the 6:00 p.m. newscast.

As I've noted several times, the family has been missing house payments to pay for the seriously ill boy's medication. Still no word on whether or not he can be covered by the much-ballyhooed Nevada Checkup health plan for children.

Don't forget that the yard sale fundraiser at Dee's Used Furniture in Sun Valley has been rescheduled to Sept. 9 to allow more time for donations. Anyone wishing to contribute items may call (775) 771-4951 or (775) 303-0606.

As always, a complete list of donation locations and Janine Kearney's front page Tribune story about William's case will be linked to the web edition of this column at

Please help if you can.

Be well. Raise hell.


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Copyright © 1982, 2006 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 37-year Nevadan, editor of and webmaster of His opinions are strictly his own, as always. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.


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