Does God Love Wall Street?

Life is imitating — in a modern, totally-mindfuckingly-complicated way — my favorite movie, It’s A Wonderful Life, but on a massive, countrywide scale. (don’t excuse the pun, take it and all its ironic lumps!) It’s like the whole country is panicked and beating down George Bailey’s door, worried that their money is not in the bank anymore, except it’s not George Bailey it’s George Bush and he wants to give it all away to Potter.

We want to buy a house. It’s scary, terrifying actually, to even think about the prospect of paying the current prices. What if we’re not even close to the bottom of this real estate slide? What if we buy a house and it just sinks in value like an anvil in the hull of the Titanic?

This was all caused by bad loans bundled and sold and resold, by the notion that something has value just because we ascribe it a value. They played hot potato with people’s mortgages, betting that they’ll win in the end as long as they’re not holding the loans when the music stops.

More and more, Galapagos seems like a reasonable place for a vacation. If Kilgore Trout was right, then our brains our finally going to finish the job.

This bailout is ri-fricken-diculous! Isn’t it cheaper to just pay off everyone’s home? This is more proof that the magical cities of America are built on fragile sediments of collective belief, belief in the value of money and stock markets and capital, that in the end it doesn’t come down to beef and turnips. But we need houses and we need banks and we need to continue on with the delusion that we’ve not built the future on a tectonic economic landscape.

It requires the confidence that you’re investing in a system that isn’t just rewarding thieves and snakes, but through hard work and a little personal investment you can earn a good living too; that confidence is what powers growth and innovation. Sadly, this bailout doesn’t do much too much to assuage me of that fear. The feeling I get is like I’m watching a slow motion bank heist, where all the players are inside the system: bankers, brokers, politicians, developers. It will probably work, the crises will pass and everyone will go back to normal, to shopping and going to Disneyland and all that patriotic stuff that George Bush and John McCain want us to continue doing at all costs. People will still lose their homes but brokers will hang on to their portfolios. Nice.

It’s amazing how modern marketers have convinced the majority of the public that swiping your credit card is the benchmark of freedom, when in actuality it’s a form of third party enslavement.

  • Buying Shit you don’t need: Endless Debt.
  • Hoping to fill a void, a profound sadness endemic to modern man, but failing, thus making the void larger, more untenable: More Debt, Higher Interest Rates!
  • The collapse of the American Way of Life: Priceless.

Screw it, I’m sick of feeling panicked and depressed. Let’s go to Ruby Tuesday and see their new lamps!

That might just be the worst advertising campaign I’ve ever been subjected to. Anytime a company pokes fun at itself it’s only out of desperation. It’s working if its aim is to get attention for the overhaul, but if the restaurant was any good it wouldn’t need an overhaul. Pointing out that your style had recently been 30 years out of date and now your plates are square isn’t exactly compelling evidence to place my stomach in your epicurean hands.

Speaking of food…

I did a clam bake on the shores of Santa Barbara. Put about eight of them in aluminum foil and poured in white wine, butter, lemon juice and garlic… that’s how I get down. I had a whole loaf of sourdough to sop up the sauce once I ate the shellfish. A 22 of Pacifico turned it into a total cliche, but hell, it was a perfect scene to enjoy the sweet life. I chowed down on clams, taunted the seagulls who eyed my afternoon feast longingly, and toasted the sea for its bounty, looking at mussels clinging to the rocks while I ate their cousins from New Zealand. It’s probably the only time I dined on an animal in front of the animal. God damn, I felt so blessed right then I almost believed it’s on purpose, like there is an intelligent designer running the show, caring about me… but if He loves me, He doesn’t care much for the clams and mussels, to make them so delicious is basically dooming them to the dinner plates of West Coast snobs and their socially-conscious palettes and emotional whims.

I wondered if the seagulls thought my little concoction smelt good and were dying to get a piece or if they were wondering why the hell I was ruining some good raw clams with all that junk and putting it on burning charcoals like I was. I had myself a good time I tell you. I wasn’t drunk from the beer, but from the clams and my culinary initiative. I was giddy from the scene.

But, of course, back in the real world the stock market was putting a damper on my little clambake. It was nice not to think about it for the day, though… washed up with the seaweed, blowing around with the kites.


One thought on “Does God Love Wall Street?

  1. “It’s amazing how modern marketers have convinced the majority of the public that swiping your credit card is the benchmark of freedom, when in actuality it’s a form of third party enslavement.”

    That is one great line. Overall, decent rant. But otherwise, keep in mind, anyone who is or has built a house and is living the “American Dream” lifestyle is just as much at fault for perpetuating a lifestyle that isn’t economically (won’t even touch environmentally) sustainable. Fact is we (Americans) have been tinkering with this form of growth and the white picket fence and house and two car garage for so long, no one even realizes how we attain these things. For millions of American’s it’s because of the redistribution of costs for sprawl and growth onto the backs of the upper incomes.

    …a method that in the end, isn’t sustainable in any way. Eventually we have to pay the piper and it looks like he’s come to collect on our house of cards.

    …may the mayhem begin. 😮

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