So the CEO of AIG, which, in case you’ve forgotten, bent the economy over the banister and sodomized it back in 2008, and then got bailed out by you and me and every other American because they are to big to fail to contribute to politicians re-election campaigns, wrote a whiny op-ed in which he compared outrage over bonuses to em0loyees who lost everyboy’s money to lynching.
Read about it here, if you want to bump your blood pressure up:
So, naturally, I voiced a nostalgia for the sweet rumble of the tumbrill and the guillotine.
Somebody called me on it, accusing me of :”benefiting from Capitalism while hating on capitalists” and told me not to hate him for being rich, because I would love to be rich, or something like that.
So let me make this perfectly clear:
It has NOTHING to do with the fact that he makes a lot of money.
His company, through mismanagement or fraud, depending on whether you feel they were just incompetent or downright criminal, helped to create a financial crisis that sent shockwaves across the economy, screwing you and me and everybody else whose livelihood was effected by that downturn. So he got a GOVERNMENT BAILOUT. That’s us, rescuing them for fucking up the economy.
And instead of saying to their highly paid workers, who were either negligent or criminal, “Hey, guys, we screwed the pooch bad, no six figure bonus this year, until we, y’know, make a profit and pay back the guy whose house got foreclosed on ’cause we suck,” they paid out enormous bonuses. For Failure. So all you Libertarians who scream about the “everyone gets a trophy” mindset ruining society should be outraged that these douchebags got rewarded for doing a shitty job.
I have NO PROBLEM with workers at a company that has a GOOD YEAR getting a bonus. If the company loses a shit ton of OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY, we should say “No! Bad financial weasel! No donut!”
Into the tumbrill with you!
Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite.
I recently got my manuscript back from the editing team. Their take overall was positive, but they more or less unanimously objected to a framing device I’d used.
As usual, it was because they just didn’t understand what I was doing, that this was integral to the plot, it’s an established device in the genre, don’t they read, do you people know who I am?
So, I went off alone to my corner to have my private misunderstood artist moment, to seethe and reflect on how unjust it is that I am doomed to walk alone as the only person who really gets it. Then I came back and reviewed their notes in detail.
The thing that got me to stop and try a rewrite was that old convenient handle: guilt. Once a Catholic, you will always have that handle sticking out to be grabbed, even if you wind up President or shave your head, put on a robe and start selling flowers in the airport.
My book manager said that “I think it would be better of you changed it. You could get away with the device, but do you want to just ‘get away’ or do you want it to be something exceptional?”
Well, I still hold enough Irish Catholic working class self doubt that looking down my nose and directing him to publish it and stop questioning his betters, damn his eyes, just isn’t on the table.
So I swore, had a big drink, rolled up my sleeves, and went back to the trenches and rewrote it.
And it’s so much better.
Maybe I’m not the only one who understands my art.
Yep. I went there.
I love the Pledge. I love my country. Two days after high school graduation I was standing at attention with my head shaved and my sphincter clenched as a DI roared at me. That’s how much I love my country.
But “Under God” should not be there. It just shouldn’t, and if you really do support what America stands for, you’ll see that.
I’ll outline the reasons:
1. It’s not in the original.
The Pledge was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minster, and even he didn’t see the need to put in “under God.” The original text is “I pledge allegiance to my flag and the republic for which it stands, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
“Under God” was added in 1954, during the Cold War, at a time that gave us other great ideas like “Duck and Cover,” McCarthyism and sending “advisors” to Vietnam.
So don’t get all irate that we’re bucking tradition by taking it out. The men who stormed Omaha Beach and raised the flag on Iwo Jima did not say “under God” when they recited the pledge. They seem to have done OK without it.
2. It pretty much violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
I’ll let you guys go check. Just find the Second Amendment (you all know that one) and look right above it. And there’s eight more under it in the Bill of Rights. Wild, I know.
Anyway, right there in the Constitution you can find the clause: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
Which means, basically, that the US will not have an “official” state religion, or prevent me, if I’m a Buddhist for example, from practicing my own religion by, oh, I dunno, making me swear fealty to your God.
So, yeah, I think it’s fairly clear, you don’t get to insert your God of choice into the Pledge for everybody. Liberty and justice for all, bitches.
Know your Constitution if you’re gonna yell about it.
3. The “Under God” part kinda invalidates the “For all” part.
We should strive for Liberty and Justice for all. Not single out and persecute groups because they follow a different religion. Kinda why some of our ancestors left the Old Country in the first place. Especially those guys in funny hats who founded Massachusetts and then did something with tea and a harbor…It’ll come to you if you think.
Know your history.
4. Other oaths of service seem to do OK without it.
When a young man, fresh out of high school in 1986, stood at the Military Entrance Processing Center and repeated the oath to defend this nation from all foes both foreign and domestic, the Marine administering it finished by saying: “You may add the phrase ‘so help me, God’ if you so choose.”
So, if the freaking Marine Corps thinks you can mean what you say and serve your country without the help of the great Sky God, I think that should be good enough for Mrs Mulcahy’s first grade class.
Although, if I had to go back in time, and pick Parris Island or St Joseph’s Elementary to repeat, I’d probably think real hard for a minute and then line up to get my head shaved again.