Saturday, May 5, 2018

crass times

In a time when money and morality sometimes seem to be holding each other in a DNA-helix head lock, I really cannot claim to understand money. Or don't want to. Or something. Each night, on TV, I watch something called "The Nightly Business Report," a public television wrap-up of the bets Americans have placed on the stock market, which is owned most prominently by the clean-finernails cartel in America. 52% own no stock.

To hear the public television show is to see credulity in action. If it's good for Wall Street with its newly-acquired tax rollback, then it's good for America. The tax bill was premised, as others before it had been, on trickle-down economics, a discredited theory that suggests companies that can keep their profits will plow them into workers whose wages have stagnated since the 2008 Depression (called a "Great Recession"). Contrarians dispute the theoretical trickle-down and say the companies will simply buy back their own stock, thus raising equity for those who do own stock. And -- watching the Nightly Business Report -- that is exactly what is happening. Everything's rosy except for the man or woman whose finger nails are not so clean.

But the TV show is based on credulity -- the belief that if you create nothing, still you deserve to be paid for it because you took the great gamble in a rosy society ... and besides, you probably know your wines. Bamboozling others is considered good for a nation ruled by president who sells away the country's patrimony -- a crass and immoral man well-versed in man's lesser angels. Trump's tax bill plays to the politicians who need the money to get re-elected and are loath to surrender anything to anyone. Where there's money, they surrender like nine-pins.

Jobs were created, but what jobs are they, precisely? The Nightly Business Report doesn't tell me that. It doesn't tell me if the man or woman who had once earned a living wage at one job is now reduced to two or possibly three jobs in an effort to stay ahead of the tax man, the doctor, the lawyer, the banker and the others with their droit du seigneur status. 

Millions have been bamboozled into the 401k trap that urges workers to be "productive," a word used to insulate and elevate the well-off and simultaneously immures the well-heeled. Bamboozling is kool, dontcha know. Bamboozling is the way the world goes around, dontcha know. Bamboozing is the way the 'players' of any consequence play, dontcha know. Wouldn't you like to be as well-to-do as those who bamboozle others? Caveat emptor, dontcha know.

In the "Dhammapada," a book alleged to be the encouragements that came directly from Gautama the Buddha, there are a gazillion translations, but one translation of one verse I always liked (if ill-remember) was, approximately, this:
If you meet no equal or better in this life
Go alone.
Loneliness is preferable
To the company of fools.
The loneliness may be awful in a land that can idolize a Jesus who is merciful and gives what he has to those who do not have enough. Fuck-the-other-guy is at war with treat-your-neighbor-as-yourself.

The crassness of our times and its hungry bamboozlers ... I guess that sometimes I wish I knew more about the savvy world of liars and cheats and moral incompetents. I wish I could find out more and be Vaseline-slick in a world of self-serving credulity. But roughly speaking (though far from perfectly), I have chosen a moral skein and it's too late now to go back. I know too much about shame in a world where shame is sorely lacking.

Am I the better for it? I honestly don't know. But I do know I miss living in a matrix in which to keep a weather eye on the those who may claim to espouse morality. Strange to think: There needs to be a moral framework within which to assess the overreach of morality ... is that true? I suspect it is.

The Hindus call this era the Kaliyuga -- the era in which the shit hits the fan and things come apart, the Iron Age. I hate stuff like that ... a lawsy-lawsy confusion that is helpless and tells (Kaliyuga-like) tales and explanations and nostrums in the face of that helplessness. "It is what it is" ... go fuck yourself!

But I miss decency and a mostly-shared outlook that is not endlessly sullied and impoverished and morally corrupt.

I never did learn to sell out well ... complacently ... forgivingly.

Oh well ... too late now.
If wishes were horses
Beggars would ride.



    1. What did Forrest Gump’s mother say? Stupid is as stupid does.

  2. When I read Fox News and see the rise of Trumpianism or the bloodshed I believe in the Kag whatever age. Hope it ends well

  3. As Senator Mark Hanna said in 1895: "There are two things that are important in politics. The first is money and I can't remember what the second one is. ..."

    1. I often think that money is a distraction. The real goal is power. After all all things follow from power. Sure money can be the seed of power, but so can a good con job.