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:
July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
Gary Leupp
When Did Russia Become an Adversary?
Uri Avnery
“Not Enough!”
Dave Lindorff
Undermining Trump-Putin Summit Means Promoting War
Manuel E. Yepe
World Trade War Has Begun
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Stomps Britain
Wim Laven
The Best Deals are the Deals that Develop Peace
Kary Love
Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Franklin Lamb, Requiescat in Pace
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
Michael Collins
The Affirmative Action Silo
Andrew Levine
Tipping Points
Geoff Dutton
Fair and Balanced Opinion at the New York Times
Ajamu Baraka
Cultural and Ideological Struggle in the US: a Final Comment on Ocasio-Cortez
David Rosen
The New McCarthyism: Is the Electric Chair Next for the Left?
Ken Levy
The McConnell Rule: Nasty, Brutish, and Unconstitutional
George Wuerthner
The Awful Truth About the Hammonds
Robert Fisk
Will Those Killed by NATO 19 Years Ago in Serbia Ever Get Justice?
Robert Hunziker
Three Climatic Monsters with Asteroid Impact
Ramzy Baroud
Europe’s Iron Curtain: The Refugee Crisis is about to Worsen
Nick Pemberton
A Letter For Scarlett JoManDaughter
Marilyn Garson
Netanyahu’s War on Transcendence 
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail