Thursday, March 19, 2009

Populist rage

I guess today's a good time to suspend for a day my usual resistance to having real-world-crap being the subject matter on this brane. I've always felt that the American public is rather docile, even when pushed really hard, as compared to some other publics, like the French, who have never hesitated to call a general strike over things that barely make the news when they happen here. Apparently the AIG bonus payment situation, however, has been some kind of grotesque icing on the cake of shit that has been baking for the last couple of decades and has now driven everyone totally bugfuck. On today's Talk of the Nation on NPR, some time was spent on this and there were many on-air guests and calls and emails all saying the same thing: this is crap, it's unfair, we're mad and not going to take it anymore. Now that the populist rage against the obvious fraud that the so-called financial system has been for a long time has finally manifested, I find (to my disappointment) that I am already sick of it. Why?  Because the AIG bonus crap is trivial, ephemeral and utterly insignificant in comparison to the stuff that people should have been enraged about long ago.

A tiny number of examples, in no particular order: 1) How did it slip past everyone that making millions and billions of dollars in salaries and bonuses and corporate profits without making a tangible product or offering a service that any sane person wants to buy is plainly unsustainable (derivatives, credit default swaps, stupidly inflated house prices, the idea that the economy will always grow at a crazy rate forever, etc.)? We're all pissed off about it now, but I said it years ago and was always  laughed off as some kind of communist. The rage should have started years and years ago.  2) Millions more people lose their ability to have health insurance every year. How about some more populist outrage about that? I know I'm enraged: I lost mine a couple years ago and have not been able to get back into it since. 3) Thousands of our soldiers have, in recent years, been put in coffins: a general consensus now exists (save for in the extreme extra-chromosome right wing) that the Iraq War was, at best, a huge tactical blunder and a mind-boggling boondoggle of  bad situation management after the initial invasion. I have yet to meet in person anyone who is screaming with rage about that. I hear about them in the media sometimes, I guess. 4) Every President since Nixon has sworn that America will quit being enslaved to Middle Eastern dictators by oil dependency.  The problem has only gotten worse with each passing administration.  I fear now that Obama won't be able to do anything about it either, because all his political capital may be stripped away in short order now that everyone has been pushed over the edge by some insurance company douche-bags getting some bonuses. Yeah, it's outrageous and stunningly tone-deaf on the part of the the company, but it's small potatoes compared  a lot of what we should have been pissed off about all along. President Obama wasn't kidding when he said it'd get worse before it got better.

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Rick Novy said...

I thought only Harlan Ellison(R) got to use the word "bugfuck."

Unknown said...

Well said, Christopher. Apathy is contagious and it's turned our country into a bunch of zombies--and not even the kick-ass types of zombies.

Christopher Fletcher said...

Damn, you're right, Rick! I should have said "batshit." I hope he doesn't sue me.

D. D. said...

The tech industry has been doing this for decades. Promising products every year that never materialize. Vaporware abounds! Where's my Duke Nukem!!!!

Christopher Fletcher said...

Well said, too, Garrett: not EVEN the kick-ass types of zombies. Not the shambling Romero ones in clown outfits and wedding dresses, not the Dawn of the Dead remake ones that come running at you, not even the 28 Days later Rage-infected ones. Nothing.

Another good point, also, D.D. Vaporware everywhere.

Oh, since this post is about being pissed off, here's another one: I'm sick of hearing nonsense from the Pope! Argghh!


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