August 17, 2012
Cupidity United v. USA

For those who may have missed this when I blogged it in 2006, here’s a re-run of a passage from God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, a 1965 novel by the late Kurt Vonnegut that never goes out of date. Although now that I think of it, maybe it has. Maybe things have gotten worse.

The speaker is a fictional millionaire named Eliot Rosewater who was determined to love his country no matter what:

Thus did a handful of rapacious citizens come to control all that was worth controlling in America. Thus was the savage and stupid and entirely inappropriate and unnecessary and humorless American class system created.

Honest, industrious peaceful citizens were classed as bloodsuckers, if they asked to be paid a living wage. And they saw that praise was reserved henceforth for those who devised means of getting paid enormously for committing crimes against which no laws had been passed.

Thus the American dream turned belly up, turned green, bobbed to the scummy surface of cupidity unlimited, filled with gas, went bang in the noonday sun.



Posted by Jerome Doolittle at August 17, 2012 03:46 PM
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*God Bless you, Mr. Rosewater* is one of the greatest encomia ever to the virtues in being what some people would call a pushover.

But the American Dream was always a sales pitch. If in need of convincing, see Wallace Stegner's *Beyond the Hundredth Meridian* and Jonathan Raban's *Bad Land* on the selling of arid homesteads in the Great Plains. "Rain Follows the Plough," my eye.

Well, eh, see "golden age that never was."

- MB, fresh from an errand for a client at the traffic court clerk's ofc, where, due to court system budget cuts, a big long line of working people who took time off to go to the courthouse this afternoon had the door shut on them at 4 p.m. and were told to go home.

Posted by: Martha Bridegam on August 17, 2012 8:49 PM

Quit your bitch'n Martha and support our job creator creatures with a smile. You understand they need people in line tomorrow, too: don't you?

Posted by: knowdoubt on August 18, 2012 7:23 AM

'There's no hope, but I may be wrong'
(Pete Seeger)

Posted by: Peter on August 18, 2012 12:50 PM

By an odd coincidence, I recently re-read that book. (Thank you, Library of America.) I flagged something like half a dozen passages that I inflicted on my Facebook friends. Most of them are cynical lefties, so it was okay.

Gotta say, reading Vonnegut for the first time when I was 17 was something of an epiphany. No, he didn't change my view of the world - instead, he provided my first confirmation that I wasn't the only one who viewed the world that way. And the fact that he was a best-seller strongly implied that there were a whole lot of people who also viewed the world that way. It came as a tremendous relief.

And as long as we're bringing up cultural figures who neatly summarized the real problem decades ago, here's Joseph Heller: "Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing." Whether he knows it or not, Mitt Romney is running on that very platform as I type this....

Posted by: Kurt Weldon on August 18, 2012 2:34 PM
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