"Yo, Rich Dude, could you spare a few million for a cup of Joe?"
According to my guiding light, Thorstein Veblen, Brother Veblen I call him around the house, the way you prove you're wealthy is 1) you show you have mastered the ability of wasting time; 2) you show you have the pecuniary ability to conspicuously consume! I walk out onto the streets of Manhattan and I see all around me what Brother Thorstein was talking about over 100 years ago. Humans wasting time and conspicuously consuming.
Check it out: even though General Motors and Chrysler are bankrupt they still seem to have plenty of big bucks in their advertising budgets to keep ads running every fifteen minutes all over commercial television. Look how the automobile industry has still got enough bucks in their advertising budgets (stocked to rafters with interest-charge profits) to conspicuously spend it on false-prophesying ads, i.e., the General Motors advertising campaign currently running that is explaining to us average morons how General Motors is "reinventing" itself! What the fuck does that mean? Think about it. How are the leisure-class dudes who got General Motors in a bankrupt situation in the Global marketplace (a place our automotive industry helped invent, by the way) going to somehow suddenly be able to "reinvent" the company they allowed to fail? Won't the reinvention just naturally fail since it's still based on the failed model? That to me is a big example of both wasting time and conspicuous consuming. [By the bye, as an informative aside: Obama has made a huge mistake by allowing Chrysler's bail out to end up in bankruptcy court, where the bankruptcy will be overseered by a by-the-book-strict judge named Gonzales--he presided over Enron's bankruptcy. This judge now has total control of the Chrysler Motor Company. Obama's mistake: We the People of the USA had total control of the Chrysler Motor Company before he gave it away to the bankruptcy court! He was headed in the right direction by taking Chrysler over, making We the People the majority stockholders in the company. Yes, he theoretically nationalized Chrysler but he can't use that word so he calls it a "restructuring package" his financial experts have put together--and remember, please, his financial experts are Neo-Cons in their economics/in their Sociology/in their language/in their dreamworlds--they are Bush-Cheneyites-Clintonistas-Pappy Bush New World Order nuts-Reaganites/plus most of them are poor little rich boys with nothing to do but either join their old daddies's crooked deceits in management or law or go into time-wasting and conspicuous-spending-abilitizing "civil service"--the way they're taught it at Dartmouth, Amos Tuck, Harvard Law, Harvard Business, Yale Business, Yale Law, Wharton--where they meet and greet each other and become asshole buddies for life from prep school, college, or in Obama and Timmy Boy Guethner's case, they met as kids in Indonesia where Obama's mother worked for Timmy Boy's daddy, a Ford Foundation head due to Timmy Boy's mommy's being related to the President of Ford Motor Company--aha! the automotive industry--and son of a bitch, Ford's seeking government bailout now and Timmy Boy's in charge of the Treasury--and Ford's failed management has already been rewarded by Timmy Boy with billions. Think about it. Ford is broke! Why are they broke? Toyota isn't broke. Hundyai (a Korean company) isn't broke. Tatta Motors in India isn't broke. Why even cheap-ass tin-can Kia Motors isn't broke. Why Ford, GM, and Chrysler are stoney broke isn't explained in detail at all. We're too fucking dumb to understand the complicated reasons. Yet these pampered sweet-back men (powerful White males) with great bales of time to waste and with their urges to conspicuously spend going full blast do understand why they failed--right? They know the workings of "their" failed automobile industry; hell, they were driving it when it hit the wall, so now they claim they understand how to deconstruct the crash they caused, reset (reinvent, reengineer) it so that this time it doesn't hit the wall but jumps over it. Then you start it rolling all over again the same way (it's Capitalism, folks; rugged individualism; inherited wealth; private, very private enterprise) but with a new program that allows it to jump over the obviously always-coming-towards-it wall! How's that for some 'round-the-barn Neo-Con logic? Of course, we numbskulls are out here trying to baby-logically understand all this complicated bullshit the way these clowns justify all that they do. I mean, come on, low-level curiosity demands you wonder where the hell Obama's going to come up with all these trillions of dollars he's handing out with conspicuous glee to corporations claiming they have somehow found themselves trillions of dollars in debt--wahhhhhhhh!] [That was quite an aside!]
The largest advertiser in the USA, by the way, is We the People of the USA. Yep, our government spends more on advertising than most of the big wealthy industries put together! U.S. Armed Forces recruiting ads are the biggest wasters of taxpayers's monies in advertising! You see, those with time to waste and the wealth to conspicuously spend depend on the US Army for their protection--for defending their need to exploit the natural resources and labor of the world. As General Smedley Butler said back in the thirties, all the U.S. Armed Forces are are the special police forces for our big imperialist corporations--in Smedley's time it was the Chase Bank, the United Fruit Company (yep, Chiquita Banana), Kennecott and Phelps-Dodge mining companies. United Fruit's, Chase Bank's, and the U.S. Army's control of Central America back in the early 19-teens into the 1950s is where the term "Banana Republic" comes from (and, by the bye, I once met the chick who with her husband started the Banana Republic chain of clothing stores--they bought up tons of foreign and U.S. surplus military uniforms and shit like teeshirts and boxer shorts, safari outfits, pith helmets, swimming trunks, winter coats, wool blankets, sox, etc.--like those British commando sweaters that were popular for a while back in the 80s--and she was charming sexy woman--very cute and babbling a mile-a-minute wasting my time telling me all about how she and superhubby were being interviewed by Playboy and on their way to enormous conspicuous-spending abilities--yahooooo! The first Banana Republic store was in a store in Manhattan that had once been a Pioneer Super Market--on Bleeker and Sixth Avenue (Robert Moses changed the name of Sixth Avenue to the Avenue of the Americas in 1964 as a means of promoting his '64 Flushing Meadows World's Fair (a colossal flop, by the way), but New Yorkers never caught on to that bullshit, so it remains to this day Sixth Avenue though the street signs say Avenue of the Americas. All along the Avenue of the Americas, and most New Yorkers never know it, are statues of Latin American national heroes like Bolivar and Jose Marti--all up and down the Avenue from where it officially begins at Canal Street to where it ends uptown running into Central Park--sorry I've wasted your time with this)).
Wouldn't one solution to our credit card debt problem, for instance, be to quit using credit cards? You know why We the People are bailing out these banks and financial crook dens? So they can loan us money again--that's how Obama's Clintonistas put their reason for bailing out these crooks--which means, they are following the Neo-Con "drive us to the bottom" philosophy. Loaning us more money and therefore putting us even deeper into debt--debt, which to these crooks means profits! Just like WAR means profits! CRIME means profits. Crooks become our economists; our politicians; our bankers; our lawyers; our administrators--those on the side of profits at all cost-- those "too big to fail"--those to whom even DEATH means profits. As Capitalists, isn't it natural for us to fight to the death against anything that even resembles SOCIALISM! A Capitalist's greatest fear is a Socialist takeover of HIM. Why I remember during the Cold War, I had teachers that taught me that in Communist Russia (we refused to call it the Soviet Union for a number of years) if you made a profit, the government would cut your hands off and then send you to work doing time-and-motion-clocked handiwork in Siberia. The only Socialist in the USA at that time was the gentle Norman Thomas. I couldn't imagine Norman Thomas cutting anybody's hands off, much less sending them to do time-and-motion-clocked handiwork in Siberia--though I did assume, in those wrongly-thought-out times, that all Socialists, no matter where they worked out of, had access to Siberia's Gulags.
And you talk about wasting time! These above-us-alls wasting their time trying to figure out how to squeeze a little more sweat and allegiance from billions of us "other" humans, us "disposable" humans (Blacks, Latinos, soldiers, the handicapped, the retarded, the dopers, the impoverished, illegal immigrants, senior citizens (unless they belong to the Power Elite), gays and Lesbians)--those without the ability to waste time and conspicuously consume but who are forced to act like they have both excess time on their hands and plenty of bucks (credit) to wear Mickey Mouse teeshirts and Armani suits and "designer" dresses and shoes and driving SUVs and BMW car-trucks and wearing sneakers with the Nike label on them that cost $1 a shoe to make in the child-enslaved sweatshops of Indonesia (a Muslim country by the way--the largest Muslim population in the world, by the way), selling over here, on credit card purchase, for $125 ($200 by the time you pay them off). One hundred and twenty-four dollars worth of profit for those who really do have plenty of time to waste and to conspicuously spend.
Isn't wisdom the same year-in year-out? Think about that? Solutions are in the air. Solutions are universal. Man is so stuck on himself as a supernatural being he defies the natural being "the way we are birthed" from the time it is born by immediately guiding it into a new world of lies and lying and prevarications and prefabrications--we humans are born as a naturally developing natural entity same as a newborn chimpanzee or June bug grub--the universal having-to-live at least a bit longer than the time it takes the mother to bite through the umbilical cord--to unsnap the connection with mother-invested life--and sets you free to struggle out "on your own" into whatever Gestalt you happen to be born. The solutions are available to us from that moment on--our minds are awake and receptive to whatever information starts spilling their way. Life becomes the number of years we can figure out how to live through given the universal bodies we're assigned by the universal formulation for life and living--the environment, our parents, our pets, our lawns, our gardens, our city limits.
I do not nor have I ever had the ability to waste time, though to some, especially to strivers, I appear to live a life of totally wasting time. My M.O. ("method of operating") seems to indicate that I perhaps am a professional timewaster! But this is not true. Wasting time is antilife to me--though as Henry Miller said so often, paradise is the ability to loose yourself in loneliness--to live as though on a distant island without thinking, without reading a stupid newspaper, without hearing any rumors or gossips, without having to balance a budget, without having to THINK...and that's the starting premise for a totally withdrawn life--stop thinking. The ability to waste time is the ability to stop thinking...to luxuriate! Perhaps this is why the wealthy who rule us, who make laws against us, who decide what our morals should be, who decide what clothes we wear, who program us, have so many conferences and summits and closed meetings, secret meetings--major top-level wastings of time--but what glorious conspicuous consuming they do in the meantime, like our President carrying his big, overpriced, overgimmicked, oversecure Caddy limo in a special Air Force cargo jet with him when he travels around the world--stop right here and consider how many automobiles and trucks the Feds buy every year! Stupid We the People, we own all those trucks and cars--and think on about how many government buildings and properties and National Park lands and wilderness lands and oil reserves--WE OWN ALREADY--so how the hell are we BROKE as a Nation? And, yes, we are programmed, and that's what Henry Miller means by his paradise of loneliness and nonthinking--a place where you are no longer programmable--nor do you have to be programmed. B.F. Skinner's "boxed" kid experiments proved children raised in a box, totally outside the influences of parents, environment, etc., still develop along universal lines (the operating system--the M.O. of the society in which you are shoved into by birth), and if left on their own, they will eventually grow up in control of their own unique living situation--a society of some evolving type will develop. Man cannot, however, exist very long totally alone--or in an isolation booth as Skinner experimented with. Mostly in humans, males are expected to be able to survive anywhere alone--that's a part of the male M.O. Look at what we humans call our "explorers." These were civilized men willing to go exploring into the savage world (the world of Nature)--and by "civilized" we mean "privileged." By privileged we mean, those of us with "the ability to waste time." Everything "earthly" goes in circles--like a melody unspools itself horizontally to eventually encircle itself to come back to the note on which it began. The "eternal return" in Greek mythology. Being "born again" in Christian fable. Circular thinking. Wisdom recycled. Coming out a "purer" product with ever recycling. Wisdom is constantly being REdefined. Out of the babbling of languages comes refined wisdom, a universal way of existing that is understood in any language--how to wake up, how to realize you are alive, how to cope with the place in which you find yourself alive--first of all you find yourself bamboozled by this strange new antiamniotic world--so you start bawling, squalling, screaming for attention--"Hey, somebody cut me loose from this giant queen out of whose belly I've just emerged; somebody wash this foul shit off my body; somebody give me some clothes--I'm freezing my ass off; somebody knock some life into me--NOW, dammit, somebody give me something to eat--put something in my sucking mouth to pacify me!" Pacification! We are so animal, when we're born--we're so aggressive--we have to be pacified. That's all our enemies want, you know: to be pacified like a mother pacifies a baby by sticking something in its mouth. Very Freudian, eh? Oh shit, yes, I'm still Freudian as I was the day I was born. You see Freud just hit on a universal. It was just the right time in his "exploring" for him to unveil all that oral and anal shit!
for The Daily Growler