Thursday, February 24, 2011

"It's time I had some time alone."

The Song: "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)," R.E.M. Words & music by R.E.M. (Bill Berry, Michael Stipe, Mike Mills & Peter Buck). Track 12 of Eponymous, 1988; track 6 of Document, 1987.
When/how acquired: Purchased Eponymous, c. 1990.
Listen/watch here.

The Middle East is melting down. The governor of Wisconsin has forgotten basic American values. Books Etc. in Falmouth is closing on Monday. Clancy Bea, great dog among great dogs, rebounded yesterday after a weekend his family thought would be his last. And Mother Jones just published this set of charts that should make even the hardest-core free market conservatives (Dad?) stop and wonder what the hell is wrong here.

At macro and micro levels, it feels as if civilization is collapsing around me. I must remind myself that I have groceries and cable and a great dog of my own, friends and family and work to do without unnecessary distractions.

I may give up Twitter for Lent. I'm seriously thinking about it. I never thought I'd say this, but I'm just not sure how much information I need.


Jennifer Lechner said...

I can't help myself. I read the Mother Jones charts, which are described as "Eleven charts that show everything that's wrong with America."

To quote P.J. O'Rourke, "Wealth is not a pizza where, if I have too many slices, you have to eat the Dominos box. My wealth does not create your poverty. Your wealth does not create my poverty. They're separate questions. And we can generate more wealth."

I am not wondering what is wrong here. I am grateful that I live in a country where such wealth and the freedom to aspire to and possibly achieve such wealth is possible. That's more than most in the Middle East can say. Hopefully, that's what will change.

AnswerGirl said...

If the growing pizza meant more for everybody, I'd buy that argument. But it doesn't, and this is the question: when the market valuation of US corporations has grown by 700%, why has the unemployment rate more than doubled? Why are businesses contracting rather than expanding? Why aren't banks lending? Why are CEO salaries continuing to rise, as businesses cut personnel and benefits to save costs? This isn't biased reporting; these are the facts.

I know more people out of work now than I have at any point in my whole life, even when I was right out of college and none of us had jobs. I know more people working three jobs than I ever have. I know more people without health insurance. I know an alarming number of people who have seen their standard of living decline rather than fall over the past ten years, and not because they chose that (as I admit, I did).

We grew up in a world where every generation could expect to do better than the last. This is not happening today. It's not. No patriotic slogan can make it so.