Saturday, May 13, 2006

Money = Shit

I like to have money so that I can buy shit, but that's not the connotation I'm looking for. A friend was talking over brunch about how wonderful a world we could have if there were no such thing as money. I suggested that such a transformation of our culture and society might not only be highly unlikely, but also cause quite a few new problems. I came up with an analogy that I think expresses a more reasonable attitude towards money:

Have your guesses ready...Dealing with money should be like taking a shit. Provided I've eaten enough fiber, I take a shit every so often. It's something essential to life, and it's something everybody has to do, but it's not really something I want to fixate upon too much.

Just as "Remember the Alamo, Remember Goliad!" has been shortened by history, so we seem to have forgotten that it is not money itself, but rather obsession with money, that is the root of all evil. Some people, the obsessive wealthy, have more money than they could spend in a dozen lifetimes, but yet they continue to pursue it. For a few, it's a game, an adrenaline rush, or something like that. For some it's a bitter campaign to compensate a thousandfold for the lack of money in their past and sometimes also their present. For others, though, it's an obsession because they know they might have to choose between feeding the kids or paying the rent. That side of preoccupation with money is not the subject of nearly so many soft-focus fantasies as the bling-bling version.

And right now, whatever else you say about them, the team currently at the helm in Washington are the very definition of obsessive wealth. Dubya is obsessed with cutting taxes and getting back at Saddam Hussein; he will let no inconvenient reality derail him. Cheney is obsessed with expanding the powers of the Executive Branch to Kremlin-ish new degrees and protecting the public from any knowledge of those inconvenient realities.

OCD — the real thing, not the colloquialism — is a real mental illness, with real science and medicine to diagnose and treat it. I don't know that George Bush fits that clinical definition, or dry alcoholic or sober drug addict, but I think they're all fair questions. Since the fate of our nation rides on them, I think they're urgent questions.

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