Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Homeless Story of J, 5

Although this story is fiction, the newspaper article is real (“An Unnatural Disaster,” New York Times, Opinion, 5/29/10 ). The author does not imply endorsement of any of the following arguments or views.

Homeless Story of J, Part 5

The longer I live on the streets, the more obvious the truth. There’s nothing fancy about it. Long ago as a college brat, when I had the luxury of bandying about quotes, one of my favorite was:

"The great way is easy, yet people prefer the side paths." (Lao Tzu)

Little did I know what I was saying. It really is that simple.

I’ve taken to tearing out bits from discarded articles. Trashed newspapers can be found almost anywhere, especially outside Starbucks. They are the footprints of clues.

J’s First Rule of Justice: The reason for our unhappiness is absolutely basic: the supremacy of greed.

All the world’s religions condemn greed. Prosaically enough, no one cares. I see it in the body language of the formicae. Tension, worry, and servitude bind their sinews and strides like slip knots. Blue collar to white collar, from the owners of tin jalopies up to the scale of gold and platinum, everyone is leashed to cash and clock.

I know this because I am homeless and can’t do anything about it.

It’s the corporations, dummy. Mammon’s corporals. The one journalist who has it absolutely right is Bob Herbert. Herbert is a prophet. The horrible BP oil spill, which currently spews and spews, fouling the majesty of the naiad’s watery kingdom, has disgusted him as much as me.

Big media, owned by fat-pursed moguls, can’t entirely stifle the truth. Herbert has a small niche as a backup columnist, and he dares to harshly criticize even the President.

The President has exposed his own lackey spine by saying that he thought the oil companies were decent and forthright. Herbert isn’t letting Mr. Obama get away with any of that shit:

With all due respect to the president, who is a very smart man, how is it possible for anyone with any reasonable awareness of the nonstop carnage that has accompanied the entire history of giant corporations to believe that the oil companies, which are among the most rapacious players on the planet, somehow “had their act together” with regard to worst-case scenarios.

Ha! The argument is clear: the corporations, throughout their entire history, have been rapacious sneaky lying monsters. Therefore the president should not have thought they were trustworthy.

Can anyone honestly challenge the merits of this brief yet devastating logic?

Have we forgotten the “seven dwarves,” that line of cigarette CEO’s who stood before a congressional committee and all swore they knew nothing of nicotine’s addictive potency?

Have we forgotten how Nestlé sold worthless milk formula to mothers in Africa, causing their mammaries to stop producing milk, resulting in the deaths of millions of babies?

Have we forgotten how chemical companies will pollute for profit then bog any attempt at exposing the cancer-causing mess in legal entanglements for years?

Have we forgotten that insurance brokers, who should be superfluous, have wormed their way into heathcare, adding layers of codes and cruelty, with no higher purpose than to batten their obese pockets?


Does anyone really think that giant business conglomerates are better than sociopaths? What hides beyond their sweet insipid commercial faces except a mission to feast?

Everyone knows what corporations are. But no one will say.

Except Herbert the prophet:

These are not Little Lord Fauntleroys who can be trusted to abide by some fanciful honor system. These are greedy merchant armies ... President Obama knows that. He knows — or should know — that the biggest, most powerful companies do not have the best interests of the American people in mind when they are closing in on the kinds of profits that ancient kingdoms could only envy ... They are [craving] stacks and stacks of gold glittering beneath a brilliant sun. You don’t want to know what people will do for that kind of money ... There is nothing new to us about this ... The idea of relying on the assurances of these corporate predators that they are looking out for the safety of their workers and the health of surrounding communities and the environment is beyond absurd.

Herbert is right! And the argument is simple. Valid, appositive and limpid. It's so obvious that even children’s books are full of warnings about this sort of poisonous greed.

My question for the people, then, is founded not only on conscience, both also hundreds of years of historical precedent:

Why do you slave at the feet of Colossal Demons?

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