Forgive me for not writing in a while. I’ve been a little busy. I’d been out of work and that left me a lot of time to write. Then I found some work and I had less time. I didn’t have zero time, just less. I still spent the same amount of time watching TV or listening to podcasts or just watching the movie in my head, but somehow there just wasn’t enough extra time to actually write.
A lot of things happened worth writing about, like…
Ok so nothing really happened and I just didn’t have the will to overcome the inertia of not writing. I had the urge from time to time but never in a sustained way, so , you know,… fuck it.
Some of you may have noted recently that I wrote a piece back in July about the ratio of CEO’s pay to average worker’s pay and how that stacked up around the world. I think that back in July about 15 of you read it. It wasn’t a ground breaking piece but it let me vent about some of the more obvious inequities in the system and throw some feces at the power structures and I did a nice illustration for it. I also did a table with some info in it that detailed the ratios discussed. That comes up later so store the info for now.
So anyway, it wasn’t the last thing I wrote but it was the last thing I published.
Then, about two weeks ago a funny thing happened on Wall Street. A couple dozen granola munchers with irritatingly dirty hair but a justified miffiness about Wall St. excesses by Wall St. exec-ses started having a protest. They blocked a little traffic, chanted some slogans, bugged the passersby and got a little bit of TV time. But by and large, it was going un-noticed and was about to be packed up and put away. The american people were canceling the protest for low ratings because they either didn’t understand or they didn’t care, or maybe both. And the white guy with the dreadlocks and the pukka beads wasn’t helping middle america feel warm and fuzzy about the whole group. They were just about to be, ex protesters. They were going to tune the guitars, whip out the pan flutes, have a bit of a sing along and then go grab a caramel machiado and call it a political yawn when all of a sudden and out of nowhere came their prime time tv hero with a white uniform shirt and a badge.
Just as America was starting to turn the page and go back to reading about J Lo again, NYPD Capt. Anthony Bologna started spraying down screaming girls and AP photographers with a seemingly endless supply of anti personnel pepper spray and presto change-o, bingo bango boingo, they’re in business again. Capt. Anthony Bologna (yes, that’s right, Tony Baloney) puts the whole thing right back on center stage, prime time, the big top and we’re off to the races… and this time it’s gonna be bigger and better than ever because now they have footage of girls in a fenced off section being sent into paroxysms of screaming pain and we have frozen still shots of an older policeman with a grimace of pure hatred to use as the back drop for the news story. Yeah, this will grab some eyeballs.
I’m not saying that the protestors shouldn’t get the attention. I think they should, really. They’ve got a reason to be mad. I’m mad to. But, it’s been two weeks now and I still don’t know what they hope to express beyond the basics of “we’re mad enough to stand out here and go without showering for longer than usual”. I haven’t seen a plan of action articulated or a set of grievances listed in detail. Maybe it’s just as simple as they’d just like the government to actually hand out some punishments to the dickweeds who broke the economy and shoved a few trillion dollars into their own pockets.
I’m all for that, but if you start hanging these guys by lamp posts, where does it stop?
I think we’d have a case against the whole Blackwater / Halliburton war profiteers group and nobody would really miss them. And then there’s the whole over leveraged loan industry and the insurance guys who bet heavy on everybody going broke (and won). but if you take them, you’d probably end up sweeping in a lot of “really rich but mostly not guilty of killing the golden goose” banker types and investment hedge fund operators just by accident. And really, if we take them and put their heads on the wall, we have to also target the buffoons who let it happen in the first place and that would be the entire Bush administration and some of the Clintonites, and finally,… us.
Yep that’s right. Us. We the freekin people. We let it happen. We blithely strolled along in the “we are the champions” 90′s and kept on going through the “It’s fucked up but what can you do” 00′s and we let people run things without asking them what they were doing or holding them accountable. Worse than that, we wouldn’t have understood the answer, if we’d have been able to form the question about what was going on because we couldn’t be bothered to read up on it and learn the new terms for how rich people were going to bend us over the table again. But it didn’t matter because we all had jobs and some of us had health care and we have a super massive military dick that we can just smack nation bitches in the face with and that can distract us from the fact that we’re spending more than were making, we have no industry, China and India now make everything and whoops, the EU, which looked pretty strong for a while seems to have stepped into a couple of really deep holes called Greece and Italy and made some bets they couldn’t pay off.
That’s called world economy I think. We’re all connected. Nobody fails alone. Money, like matter, is never destroyed, it just changes form (and location). But being all connected, we’re all to blame because we’re all responsible. But it’s all fucked now, we’re fucked, they’re fucked, all the fucking fuckers have fucked us hard and fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck….
So anyway, I told you that to tell you this.
I wrote the piece about CEO Pay excesses back in July and nobody cared. You could hear the crickets yawning as the tumbleweeds blew past. Nothin….
Then,Wall St becomes the next political battleground, hotspot, TV moment. Celebrities start grabbing mic time and before you know it, somebody says CEO enough times that the magic threshold is met and the internet starts spewing out search returns with the words CEO, pay, and workers in them and guess who has those words and two thumbs? That’s right…. this guy!
I went from a couple hundred hits a week to 6,000 page views an hour. I was on fire. My article was everywhere. My wife went to her Facebook page and the tabel graphic I used for the worldwide ratios was being passed around like a giant joint at a Grateful Dead show. People were reading and commenting and having a great time telling me what a magnificent writer I was and that they just loved my piece and oh, by the way can you tell us what the source of your numbers was… we want to quote you.
brrrrp,(record scratch). What? You want to quote me? You want to use my material as source for your argument? You want to use something I wrote, to stand up to actual educated people and wave my chart around? You know what. I don’t think that’s a good idea. Did you read the thing I wrote about penis on the menu? What about the 3 part series I did on Weiner Gate? What about my rant on sending money to help the rich ass Japan after the Tsunami or the one I did about white guys with shaved heads. You really don’t want my stink anywhere near your cause, fellas. People who like me don’t want me around that much.
And when I said that, it was like I’d smacked them all in the face personally. I had splash a big ol turd in the middle of the punch bowl at their “rally to make some kind of a point in America” party. The DJ stopped the music and everybody turned to look at me. But now, instead of it being 200 people a week, it was quite literally thousands of people.
They asked again about my source. I said no again, that’s not a good idea. I think at one point I said “I read some shit, I wrote some shit. I made a graphic. I’ve done what I set out to do.” I told a few of them who persisted that I’d searched the internet using words like CEO pay, average worker pay, imbalance and stuff like that, and they came back at me incredulous. How could I have misled them so? How could I have so royally screwed them and their grand design to hold me up as a beacon? Was I serious? I Googled it? Really?
Yeah, you bet your ass I googled it. And I Binged it and Yahooed it and I read a lot of stuff. But I didn’t know that there was going to be a quiz at the end of class. I didn’t show my work. I wrote what I wanted to write for my purposes and I forgot that there was an entire population of loonies and goonies out in the boonies who will adopt your thing and make it theirs and then hate you for it, and love you, and then hate you again and stroke your hair while calling you a fascist. And then take a picture of you and cut the eyes out and wear the eyes while they’re sleeping in a Saran wrap tent.
I had become instantly famous and infamous and then, very quickly, irrelevant to the conversation as the factions lined up and started throwing poo at each other like teams of screaming chimpanzees. “This is what he meant!” “No, you’re wrong, this is what he meant!” “, “Typical liberal horseshit!”, “He has left us a shoe!!”
The groups were divided into three basic camps. The ones on the left who loved the info, wanted to load it into their “destroy the ultra right” howitzer but were mad at me for not citing my sources because it may their cudgel less whompy. The ones on the right who were mad at me for suggesting that big business and the republicans could have had something to do with the debacle and the neck-deep shit we seem to find ourselves precariously treading water within,… and not citing my sources, and the ones in the middle who really thought the article was fun to read and that I was doing an interesting and entertaining job of fending off the hyenas sniffing around for cited sources.
Usually when I’m writing. I’m not thinking that somebody is going to source me. I do enough research to find stuff out to where I understand it and believe I have the gist, but not so much that it starts being work. I’m not getting paid and I’m not getting a grade so really, I’m writing for me. I think it is important for people to understand that I’m just a guy who can type. I’m not a nationally recognized economist. I’m not running for office and in all likelihood, you wouldn’t like me personally if you met me. So read, enjoy the words; take from them what you want, but let’s try not to treat it as holy writ.
In the last few days I’ve said at least as many times as I’ve said anything else, that people shouldn’t just believe something because somebody can type and just because that typing includes cited sources. The cited sources could be made up, too. Seeing it written does not make it so. I know what I read. I know what I found and I know what I believe to be the truth of the situation but that is strictly a belief within me. And as much as it makes my heart hurt that there are people out there who will believe anything, I’m just as bummed because there are an equal number who will believe nothing but never try to find out something.
Just because I don’t want to cite source doesn’t mean I made it up. Likewise, just because somebody cites sources doesn’t make it fact. Don’t be so quick to accept the validity of anything just because somebody attached a source with an official stamp of approval. Those are the easiest things in the world to fake.
I answered a lot of different ways to the commentators on the blog (and you should take a read of those when you have an hour to kill) but I guess the best answer, if you’re one of the people who think I didn’t do enough to prove something, is for you to make choices in who and what you believe. I’m just a blogger. The threshold for what I have to do is pretty low and my desire to prove something to you is even lower. Skepticism is a natural protective feeling that you should have. It’s a good thing but you having it doesn’t actually require me to do anything to prove something to you or anybody else.
I appreciate that any of you read my piece and that it caused some of you to think beyond the fecal humor. But to overlay some kind of rules of journalism on it after the fact or to think of it as anything more than an entertainment piece that I wrote to make my wife think my brain was sexy big is just flat-out wrong. Some things are just for fun and shouldn’t be used as the plank in a campaign to topple corporate greed based economies or to beat the opposition over the head for political amusment. I’m just an asshole who writes dick jokes. I can say what I want, the way that I want and I don’t have any responsibility to you on how I do that. You don’t have to read it, but if you do, you don’t have to believe it, but if you do you don’t have the right to require me to do more, write more, say more or research more. I’m not trying to be shitty about this, but I’ve had half a hoard yelling at me from one side and half a hoard yelling for the other side, and a bunch of them yelling at each other and it’s all just over a bunch of words I strung together. Sweet Salty Jesus, if you’ve read any of my other pieces you know that I’m not taking me that seriously. And if I’m not taking me that seriously, they why in the hell are you?
Now go do something important and get off my tit.