Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Bailout and Revolution, Film Noir Style

by James N. Herndon

I woke up with the usual hangover. It’d been a rough night. The booze had run out. And so had the credit. But, this time, there was something different in the morning air. There was a certain clarity, like a Santa Ana wind clearing the LA smog.

It had suddenly hit me. The whole sorry state of things came into focus: Representative democracy is like voting for a stranger to sleep with your wife. He gets all the fun. And you’re the one who gets screwed.

Sure, deep down, I always knew I was being played for a fool. I knew that slow motion economic slavery was the government’s game, and dictatorship the prize. And I always silently wondered: When I wound up on the poorhouse slab, would anyone come to claim the body?

It was all a cruel charade, the kind entitled classes have always loved to play. Promise a palace and deliver a prison. With a lawyer as your cellmate. On a contingent fee basis.

Finally, as my brain cleared, I could face it squarely. We’re all just servants at a bankers’ party, a party where cash and killing are the evening’s entertainment, a party where everything’s for sale. But the party has gone on too long, and the gods of high finance need fresh infusions of blood. From the bodies of voters.

And the politicians? They’re just actors in a fourth-rate, poverty-row adventure serial, the kind the studios churned-out to excite barefoot farm boys. Except, we’re no longer on the farm. And we’re no longer boys. I started to think that we’d become merely customers of our own government, purchasers of a product that no longer even entertains us, a product beginning to have the stench of death.

I was uneasy, that’s for sure. I felt as if the third act of a tawdry melodrama was underway. I even imagined that I heard screaming from the cheap seats. In fact, I had. The blackmail note had just arrived. Money was being demanded by the mercenaries with an MBA, by the whores with a printing press, by the loan sharks with the Wall Street addresses, by the guys who shower in their suits and make love to their cell phones. By the hit men who’ve turned mass murder into an investment opportunity.

The whole situation seemed ridiculous, even outrageous, like imagining a priest as chairman of the Federal Reserve, or Henry Kissinger avoiding eternal damnation. But, as I paced the room, replaying the past a thousand times over, I came to realize that I, too, had played a role in making a sordid mess of things. Of letting my country down.

Like a drunk forced to face his addiction, or a lobbyist forced to ask for the return of his bribes, I, too, was forced to finally admit it. I was part of the problem. And now it was time to help make things right again.

In the past, it had been all about too many "things" and too much looking away. It had been about too much silence and too many principles kept on the shelf. It had been about too much talk about others not honoring an old piece of paper, and too little effort to honor it myself. It had been about too little guts and too little action. And it had been about being afraid to look freedom straight in the face.

Walking along the Hollywood streets I’d known so well for so long, I knew there was something calling out for me to do the right thing, no matter how much I resisted. No matter the fear.

One thing I knew for sure. I was going to represent myself from now on. And there would be no more hangovers, at least not until the job was done.

The air smelled fresh again. It smelled like…revolution.

October 15, 2008

James N. Herndon [send him mail] is a media psychologist with Media Psychology Affiliates. He specializes in naturalistic research and media design for the worlds of politics and entertainment.

Copyright © 2008


No comments:

Post a Comment