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
December 05, 2019
Colin Todhunter
Don’t Look, Don’t See: Time for Honest Media Reporting on Impacts of Pesticides
Nick Pemberton
Gen Z and Free Speech
Bob Lord
The U-Turn That Made America Staggeringly Unequal
Josh White
The Most Important Election in British History
Daniel Warner
The Hillsborough Soccer Tragedy: Who is Responsible?
Dean Baker
The Big Deal in Warren’s Prescription Drug Plan
George Ochenski
Another Utility Disaster Headed Our Way
Binoy Kampmark
Spying on Assange: the Spanish Case Takes a Turn
Victor Grossman
Big Rallies and Big Differences in Germany
L. Ali Khan
A Playboy Misrules Pakistan
William J. Astore
How American Exceptionalism is Killing the Planet
Susie Day
The Mad Activist Impeaches Western Culture
Andrés Castro
Look Out for the Drift
December 04, 2019
Jefferson Morley
RIP Fred Hampton: a Black Visionary Assassinated by the FBI
Vijay Prashad
Wealthy Countries’ Approach to Climate Change Condemns Hundreds of Millions of People to Suffer
Kenneth Surin
The Tory Election “Campaign” to Date
Maria Paez Victor
Indians Shall Not Govern
Peter Lackowski
Bolivia’s Five Hundred-Year Rebellion
Dave Lindorff
Billionaire Entitlement Run Amok: the Case of Michael Bloomberg
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Is Corbyn for Christmas Just Another Stove Pipe-Dream?
Howard Lisnoff
Elizabeth Warren: Savior of a Fallen System?
Robert Fisk
The Remembrance Poppy is Becoming a Weapon Against Immigrants to Canada
Dean Baker
NAFTA was About Redistributing Wealth Upwards
Richard Greeman
French Unions and Yellow Vests Converge, Launch General Strike
Binoy Kampmark
Legitimised Surveillance: Kim Dotcom’s Case Against GCSB
Walter Clemens
Goodbye Law and Morality, Welcome Pretend Tough!
Sam Pizzigati
Football Without Billionaires? Why Not?
Anthony Giattino
Royal Forests of America
December 03, 2019
Richard Lachmann
Can the US Get Out of Its Endless Wars?
Ramzy Baroud
Israel’s Unfinished ‘Coup’
David Rosen
The Dialectics of Postmodern Sexual Identity
Robert Fisk
Reporting Syria: I Talked to Everyone, Except Assad
Patrick Cockburn
Why the Resignation of Iraq’s Prime Minister May Not Stop the Mass Uprising on the Horizon
Norman Solomon
For Corporate Media, It’s ‘Anybody But Sanders or Warren’
Bob Scofield
Uruguay Turns to the Right
Joe Emersberger
Talking About Ecuador’s Political Prisoners: an Interview With Marcela Aguiñaga
Medea Benjamin
Trump Was Right: NATO Should Be Obsolete
Nyla Ali Khan
Lesson in Diplomacy for India’s Consul General Sandeep Chakravorty
William Gudal
The Bubble Machine
Gaither Stewart
Dirty Hands
Peter Certo
End the Wars, Win the Antiwar Vote
Binoy Kampmark
The Liveris Formula: Dow’s Inclusive Capitalism
Dan Bacher
California Freezes New Fracking Permits – But All Oil Drilling Permits Still Outpace 2018
Kay Sather
Can’t Get No Satisfaction?
December 02, 2019
Rob Urie
Ukraine, the New Cold War and the Politics of Impeachment
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail