FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

I Just Know I’ll be Rich Someday

In one especially memorable scene in 2000’s historical drama Vatel, King Louis XIV of France is depicted in the midst of the daily ritual  known as the levee.  The levee was conducted in the king’s suite at his awakening, and consisted of meeting with advisers and courtiers while valets and assorted servants prepared his  toilet and daily garments.

Within this scene, which my students see as both amusing and disgusting, a servant is shown behind a curtain, literally, and I don’t know how to put this delicately, wiping the Sun King’s butt.

But thinking about my history students’ reactions, I find myself wondering why they would be disgusted. After all, don’t we on a daily basis genuflect and kiss the asses of the members of our royalty?

Just as the nobility in the time of Louis XIV we also don’t expect ours  to  pay taxes. You know, that’s the least we can do given all those millions of jobs they create with that wealth.

Beyond that we feel an unquenchable need to prostrate ourselves before them.  Much of our culture is devoted to the worship and adoration of the wealthy. Cable and network television is crammed with reality shows depicting the idle rich in their mansions spending obscene fortunes on cars, jewelry, yachts, personal jets and fabulous vacations. And aren’t we just giddy about the latest Hollywood star’s ten million dollar wedding?

So why do we do it?  The peasantry of the Third Estate didn’t know any better. The Enlightenment with its emphasis on natural rights and condemnations of the privileged had not yet arrived . But what’s our excuse?

Why do we pay a tattooed from head to toe football player with a salary that could maintain an entire region’s homeless shelters for a year?

Why are we so captivated by and enthralled with Wall Street hedge fund managers who steal fortunes with illegal insider information and endless scamming? These miscreants who wouldn’t piss on us if we were on fire.

Part of the answer lies in the power of myth. As entrenched is the ridiculousness that America  is actually free and there is justice for all, is the nonsense that anyone can and should be rich. I see it in my student’s faces. Whenever we discuss class and economic inequality they resent when I attempt to counter with statistics, facts and reality. They each, to the student, believe they are going to be rich; and no one is going to dare tell them different.

More articles by:
bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
July 24, 2019
Marc Levy
 A Discomforting Letter From a Comfortable Town
Kenneth Surin
The UK Media’s Spurious Campaign Against Labour “Antisemitism”
David Mattson
Felicia’s Fate: The Trials of a Grizzly Bear Mom
Lawrence Davidson
Democratic Party Dilemmas
Helena Norberg-Hodge
Local is Our Future
Binoy Kampmark
WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and Decoding the National Security Commentariat
Michael Doliner
Russiagate: the Cherry on Top
Jonah Raskin
A Whale of a Time on the California Coast
Nozomi Hayase
In Crisis of Democracy, We Must All Become Julian Assange
J.P. Linstroth
Why Indigenous Lives Should Matter
Elliot Sperber
The Parable of the Flax Seed 
July 23, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Why Boris Johnson is Even More Dangerous Than Trump
Christopher Ketcham
The American West as Judeo-Christian Artifact
Jack Heyman
Whitewashing American History: the WPA Mural Controversy in San Francisco
David Mattson
Through the Climate Looking Glass into Grizzly Wonderland
David Macaray
Paul Krassner and Me
Thomas Knapp
Peckerwood Populism is About Political Strategy, Not Personal Belief
John Kendall Hawkins
Assange and His Wiki Wicked leaks
Howard Lisnoff
What Has Happened to the U.S. Since the Kids Left Woodstock?
Victor Grossman
“How Could They?” Why Some Americans Were Drawn to the Communist Party in the 1940s
Gary Leupp
Minnesota, White People, Lutherans and Ilhan Omar
Binoy Kampmark
Lunar Narratives: Landing on the Moon, Politics and the Cold War
Richard Ward
Free La Donalda!
July 22, 2019
Michael Hudson
U.S. Economic Warfare and Likely Foreign Defenses
Evaggelos Vallianatos
If Japan Continues Slaughtering Whales, Boycott the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Mike Garrity
Emergency Alert For the Wild Rockies
Dean Baker
The U.S.-China Trade War: Will Workers Lose?
Jonah Raskin
Paul Krassner, 1932-2019: American Satirist 
David Swanson
U.S. Troops Back in Saudi Arabia: What Could Go Wrong?
Robert Fisk
American Visitors to the Gestapo Museum Draw Their Own Conclusions
John Feffer
Trump’s Send-Them-Back Doctrine
Kenn Orphan – Phil Rockstroh
Landscape of Anguish and Palliatives: Predation, Addiction and LOL Emoticons in the Age of Late Stage Capitalism
Karl Grossman
A Farmworkers Bill of Rights
Gary Leupp
Omar and Trump
Robert Koehler
Fighting Climate Change Means Ending War
Susie Day
Mexicans Invade US, Trump Forced to Go Without Toothbrush
Elliot Sperber
Hey Diddle Diddle, Like Nero We Fiddle
Weekend Edition
July 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
The Blob Fought the Squad, and the Squad Won
Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz
It Was Never Just About the Chat: Ruminations on a Puerto Rican Revolution.
Anthony DiMaggio
System Capture 2020: The Role of the Upper-Class in Shaping Democratic Primary Politics
Andrew Levine
South Carolina Speaks for Whom?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Big Man, Pig Man
Bruce E. Levine
The Groundbreaking Public Health Study That Should Change U.S. Society—But Won’t
Evaggelos Vallianatos
How the Trump Administration is Eviscerating the Federal Government
Pete Dolack
All Seemed Possible When the Sandinistas Took Power 40 years Ago
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail