FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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:
April 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
In Middle East Wars It Pays to be Skeptical
Thomas Knapp
Just When You Thought “Russiagate” Couldn’t Get Any Sillier …
Gregory Barrett
The Moral Mask
Robert Hunziker
Chemical Madness!
David Swanson
Senator Tim Kaine’s Brief Run-In With the Law
Dave Lindorff
Starbucks Has a Racism Problem
Uri Avnery
The Great Day
Nyla Ali Khan
Girls Reduced to Being Repositories of Communal and Religious Identities in Kashmir
Ted Rall
Stop Letting Trump Distract You From Your Wants and Needs
Steve Klinger
The Cautionary Tale of Donald J. Trump
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Conflict Over the Future of the Planet
Cesar Chelala
Gideon Levy: A Voice of Sanity from Israel
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled Again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail