Friday, October 26, 2012

fear and loathing of greed

it was the early 80s.  unadulterated greed was sweeping the country in unprecedented fashion and those who weren't good at it were being dispatched into unemployment, poverty and homelessness with ruthless efficiency.  urban cores all throughout the country were decimated by job losses brought on by ever-cheaper offshore labor.  those good at being greedy celebrated and flaunted their status, snorting enough cocaine to keep the cartels' armories better stocked than the colombian government's.  this drug-addicted wealthy class and an otherwise idle lower class busying themselves supplying the wealthy addicts combined for more violence than the u.s. had seen on its own soil since the civil war.  amazingly, the violence was contained almost exclusively to the suppliers.

the initial currency for the costs of this class warfare appeared to be inner-city, lower class lives.  it became clear later that the economic experiments being conducted here had spread all throughout the globe and infected all facets of life.  the iran-contra scandal displayed the immense international reach of this purest greed ever conceived, a gigantic machine chewing whole countries up and spitting them out with a smile on its face and a wink in its eye.  sons were selling out fathers and brothers, even mothers and sisters to get in on the fancy clothes, hard charging parties and sheer euphoria of seeing some number on a slip of paper from the broker get ever larger, convinced the consequences were inconsequential.

as a child in his formative years, i couldn't get over just how uninteresting it all appeared.  how did so much money lead to so little taste?  the clothes, the yachts, the hair, the golf courses, the jewelry, interviews with robin leach, it all screamed of an early retirement gone wrong, one of imaginations so starved in the pursuit of wealth that inspiration for how to spend newfound idle time came only from elderly grandparents.  i had no interest in any of this, a life polished so clean that feathered pubic hair sounded plausible next to ass bleaching.
Every Time I Tried to Windmill
while most kids were rebelling against their parents, i was busy rebelling against all these fuckers who idolized "dynasty."  i would collect junk from construction sites, piling them in a box in the garage, treasuring them for some eventual use my genius would uncover.  i would skateboard through tunnels my friends told me were storm drains, without being able to shake the feeling they might have been for sewage.  i thought breakdancing and graffiti were the most mind-blowing art forms ever created, my injury-addled attempts cementing the rock steady crew's place in my hero pantheon.  and while it was obvious the "dynasty" lovers had no moral code, none of them declared their atheism as proudly as i did.  i'm sure the irony of a chinese boy virtually practicing communism while growing up in a family moved to nebraska to escape it wasn't lost on everyone.  in this drive to find the most despised things, i found them in the usual places greed detested, places of government -- libraries, parks, schools, streets and, of course, public transportation.

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