April 1st, 2010 11:24 EST
We Love Vampires Because We'd Like to Be Like Them
The synchronicity between the heightened vogue for vampire fiction and Wall Street greed is surely no accident. Our society has been waiting for a long time to see a little empathy from its vampire class, a little trickle-down mercy.
Instead it gets one rip-off after another, more fine print, another tricky health insurance plan, another mortgage written in hell. And all the while the supply-side economists promise that the vampires will show mercy if only they can have another transfusion.
That`s why we`re in love with the vampire on the wagon, because he`s trying not to drink our blood, because he`s trying to behave as nicely as we`re supposed to behave, he "s trying to play by our rules. But we know he has a card up his sleeve, he can revert to his old ways.
He`s addicted to our blood, we`re addicted to his addiction. How boring our lives would be without these beautiful creatures out for our blood. How much more seductive a vampire`s lies than down-home truths: witness the ascent of the Fox propaganda machine.
The poor are already drained, a boneyard, and the middle class lies bleeding profusely, unable to get out of its sickbed.
The blathering media talk about a housing stimulus, incentives for banks, relief for homeowners, one-time-only write-offs, but hardly a glance at the most obvious truth: we can`t afford the homes we live in because we built too many in the first place and we don`t have the income to pay the mortgage. And unlike the bankers who screwed us, we don`t insist on the God-given right to obscene bonuses for amoral work.
And nary a glance at that other obvious truth: we don`t have the income to pay for our homes because Corporate America doesn`t want us to have it. It has transferred our wealth to cheap labor markets and never again intends to pay Americans decent wages or humane benefits. Never.
Facts are like statistics, they can be bent any which way, and a Fourth Estate that depends on Corporate America for its revenue isn`t about to stare these obvious facts in the face. We are becoming a Third World nation because that suits the profit-takers. They are not playing by American rules, they are playing by amoral internationalist rules. And here I`d like to propose a notion about the vogue for the Apocalypse: it`s a handy out for not having to give a damn about injustice.
We are in trouble because we have bought and continue to buy a bill of goods, namely that unions are communist conspiracies and government and taxes are instruments of the Antichrist. We continue to believe the vampires when they say they`ll take care of us.
We look on with horror as states go bankrupt, school systems and hospitals fire people, roads and bridges crumble, power grids deteriorate, cities cut back police and fire protection "and yet we refuse to admit that we have been suckered into believing that tax cuts and business deregulation will give us all the things we are now catastrophically losing.
Why are we hooked on vampires? They`re familiar, aren`t they? Some of them are family. We went to school with them. They`re the beautiful men and women we want to like us, to love us. They`re the liars whose promises we long to believe. Their lies are lovelier than our crappy truths. Wouldn`t it be wonderful if their wealth trickled down to us, if we could reduce taxes and still have the privileges they do?
Djelloul (jeh-lool) Marbrook was born in 1934 in Algiers to a Bedouin father and an American painter. He grew up in Brooklyn, West Islip and Manhattan, New York, where he attended Dwight Preparatory School and Columbia. He then served in the U.S. Navy.
The pioneering Online Originals (U.K.), the only online publisher to receive a Booker nomination, published his novella, Alice Miller`s Room, in 1999. Recent fiction appeared in Prima Materia (Woodstock, NY), vols. I and IV, and Breakfast All Day (London, U.K.).In his younger days his poetry was published in literary journals including Solstice (England) and Beyond Baroque and Phantasm (California). Recent poems appear in Arabesques Literary and Cultural Review (www.arabesquespress.org), Perpetua Mobile (Baltimore), and Attic (Baltimore). He is the English language editor of Arabesques Literary and Cultural Journal (www.arabesquespress.org).
He worked as a reporter for The Providence Journal and as an editor for The Elmira (NY) Star-Gazette, The Baltimore Sun, The Winston-Salem Journal & Sentinel and The Washington Star. Later he worked as executive editor of four small dailies in northeast Ohio and two medium-size dailies in northern New Jersey.
For More Information: www.djelloulmarbrook.com