December 22nd, 2011 11:44 EST
Help, Send More Money, We're Drowning In It!
Something sinister in the dual plasticization and corporatization of our society hangs in the air this Christmas, as if all that`s preternaturally smooth and shiny is also corrupt.
We seem to have pawned our common sense along with our future for the siren song of national security. The proof is in our e-mail. Plea after plea arrives with the same noisome message: Say something, if you like, but what we really want is your money.
Everywhere we are threatened with the dire consequences of not sacrificing another liberty or another dollar. Common sense would tell us this is a poll tax. We`re being taxed to speak, and then we`re told our tiny contribution didn`t do much good, so please send more. But more won`t make any difference either.
In other words, our electoral process is thoroughly corrupt, and unless you can afford a politician in your pocket you have no vote and no voice, but we still want your money and we still want you to join us in this cynical game because it`s the only game in town.
These e-mails remind us hourly that our dysfunctional Congress will not represent us unless we send more money, and when we do send money we`re told it didn`t do any good because the other guy "you know, that big guy called a corporation "had more money, much more, money he likely swindled from you.
This is plasticized, corporatized America. These e-mail dunning notes are as contemptuous of us as Big Pharma`s advertisements. We`re screwing you, so what? What are you going to do about it?
The right wing keeps on blathering about the cost of government, but neither party has a word to say about the prohibitive cost of politics 24/7. The only people in America who can afford government are corporations, and they`ve already bought it. And the politicians sending you those e-mail pleas for another dollar "and oh yeah, you can say your two cents` worth if you want "they know damned well the only people they`re listening to are corporations. That`s right, the Supreme Court, you remember, says corporations are people.
And the Supreme Court has all sorts of double-talking reasons for saying so, but it all stinks to high heaven and flies in the face of the common sense for which Americans were once famous. A bear is not a bunny, and we know it. And so do they. And all those politicians whining for our money, they know the house is rigged.
Perhaps the noticeable understocking of the big-box stores this season set my antennae to twirling, or perhaps the evil fatuousness of our politics, or perhaps Gingrich`s clown act, or Romney`s mortuarial slickness, or the President`s genteel spinelessness. What is clear is that our common sense is not to be found in the lost-and-found desk of the mall. George Washington once said he avoided lawyers as much as possible, but our government, which was supposed to be of the people, by them and for them, has become a Byzantium of legal bullsh[i]t. Leon Panetta, the new Defense chief, says the Iraq War was worth it. He can`t even account for the money his department spent "more than a trillion and three more trillion projected "and he says it was worth it. Sure it was, to banksters and other crooks, the same crooks we left behind to keep on pillaging.
At Christmas I should be thinking of wise men, angels, sleigh bells, gently falling snow, but I find myself thinking of Jesse James. We can argue about his true nature until the end of time, but we know why his myth flourishes. We hate his victims. We think they had it coming. The railroads of the Gilded Age corrupted a Supreme Court that wanted to be corrupted, as does ours, and the banks foreclosed on people the railroad tycoons had already screwed.
Jesse, like Jesus, would have been as welcome to the One Percent as they were in their own day, and Christians have long since forgotten that every day was supposed to be Jesus`s day. He would be as welcome in most churches as Jesse would be at Goldman Sachs. We saw how welcome Jesus would be in churches when the filthy-rich Trinity Church at one end of Wall Street, a church that owns some of the priciest real estate in the world, told the Occupiers, No, you can`t gather on our parking lot.
The One Percent and their bought-and-paid-for government has just pulled off a monumental heist in Iraq. Having broken the middle class, this elite then coerced its remnant into bailing out banks that had played fast and loose with our money, because the banks think it`s their money. Jesse knew whose money it was.
Christmas is now so commercial that some people, oblivious to irony, wrap their houses in ribbons. Gift-wrapped for the banks perhaps.
Plasticization and the oil industry go hand in glove, plastic being petroleum-based. We live in a petroleum society. The malls and big-box stores, those giant vampires, have sucked the blood from our center cities and towns, leaving dreary, unsustainable suburbs as testament. We never asked ourselves the hard questions. We never reckoned on oil being finite. Just as now we ignore that the cost of electing government the way we`re electing it, not to mention the cost of our hysterical response to terrorism, has foreclosed on our democracy.
Djelloul Marbrook`s first book, Far from Algiers (Kent State University Press, 2008) won the 2007 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize and the 2010 International Book Award in poetry. Artists` Hill, " an excerpt from his unpublished novel, Crowds of One, won the 2008 Literal LattÃ© first prize in fiction. Artemisia`s Wolf, a novella, was published by Prakash Books of India early in 2011. Alice Miller`s Room, a novella, was published in 1999 by OnlineOriginals.com (UK) as an e-book, and Bliss Plot Press of Woodstock, NY, recently published his novella, Saraceno, as an e-book. Orbis (UK), Smashwords.com, Potomac Review (Maryland) and Prima Materia (New York). His second book of poems is Brushstrokes and Glances (Deerbrook Editions, 2010). Recent poems were published by American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, Oberon, Meadowland Review, The Same, Reed, The Ledge, Poemeleon, Poets Against War, Fledgling Rag, Daylight Burglary, Le Zaporogue, Atticus, Long Island Quarterly, ReDactions, Istanbul Literary Review, Arabesques Literary and Cultural Review, Damazine, Perpetuum Mobile, Attic, and Chronogram. A retired newspaper editor and Navy veteran, he lives in Germantown, NY, with his wife Marilyn, and has lifelong ties to Woodstock.
Del`s book, Far From Algiers: http://upress.kent.edu/books/Marbrook_D.htm
New review of Far from Algiers: http://www.rattle.com/blog/2009/05/far-from-algiers-by-djelloul-marbrook/
Artists Hill, Literal LattÃ©`s fiction first prize: http://www.literal-latte.com/author/djelloulmarbrook/
His blog: http://www.djelloulmarbrook.com
His mother`s art: http://www.juanitaguccione.com
His aunt`s art: http://www.irenericepereira.com