Monday, October 10, 2011

Word Game

Sir, I am sorry for laughing.  I know that this is no laughing matter.  It’s just that, well, are you aware that you are the absolute master of understatement?  No, I am not exaggerating.  You are for sure the best that we have ever seen.
The people have taken to the streets.  There are signs that their numbers will continue to swell.  Have you really asked yourself why in the world they would leave their homes and sleep on concrete?  To be sure, some are enjoying the theater of it all.  That goes without saying.  And of course there is that old arm-in-arm camaraderie, shared by those marching for a cause.  But at the heart of it all, there is something much more serious and worrisome and real.

How does the saying go, misery loves company? Well, if they are just the tip of the old iceberg (which many of us suspect is the case), then there are quite a few miserable folks out there in the kingdom, wouldn’t you say?

Misery is an awfully good word. You should think seriously about using it. True, some of your enemies might accuse you of hyperbole. You are afraid of that, aren’t you? Were you to utter that word, some of your enemies might stick you with it.  Remember when that happened with malaise?  That was a bit before your time, but you are a student of history.

Some would blame you for causing the misery, and others for at least failing to cure it. That’s what enemies do. And your enemies will do that in spades. Your enemies want you gone.  Your enemies want you humbled, discredited, even humiliated.  Your enemies are eager to gloat.

And, that is where the no-small-matter of courage comes into play. 

Sir, it was most disingenuous of you to characterize these people, in the streets – your people – as being frustrated. Frustrated?

I am frustrated when a pull-top breaks off and I can’t open the cat food can.  I am frustrated when I can’t keep the squirrels off of my bird feeder.  I am frustrated when I can’t get a signal on my cell phone.  I am frustrated…well, you get the picture.

Frustration?  Sir, you can and must do better than that.  Frustration is so 2009!

Let’s stop and count the homes that have been lost, the careers that have evaporated, and the futures that have been derailed.  Let’s, for a moment, consider the mountains upon mountains of misery.  Would it be so terribly out of character for you to use real words?  Words like anger, or even rage.  Words like despair and fear, or phrases like scared to death? 

Because, that’s the stuff that is filling the streets. You know that, don’t you?

You know damn well that the game they were playing – the game that always was more or less honest – somehow became rigged.  It was stolen by people high up in those buildings, standing in the windows, and laughing like hell at all of us, including you.

Back when the game was more or less honest, and the rules were more or less fair, there were lots of winners. Hard work and sacrifices usually paid off. Combinations of risk and creativity and resourcefulness just might hit the jackpot.  

You don’t owe anyone a home, or a job, or a business, or a jackpot, but you do owe them a seat at a table with a clean deck of cards.  No, we are not naïve.  We know that you cannot just wave your hand and make that happen.  But you can shake a fist in front of the faces – those well tanned, over-fed, contemptuous faces -- of those in the bonus-no-matter-what club who mock us and mock you.

And you can call them by their name – their real name.  You can call them thieves. You can say loudly and clearly that the ring of con men who so cleverly sold us blue smoke blown into so many tiny, unnoticeable, tightly sealed boxes were quite simply gangsters without guns.

Why not say it?  Who or what is holding you back? 

Is it the loyal opposition? The other side, who so underestimated you (God, we hope they did) that they marshaled their forces in the most insulting manner. They sent in the clowns. They sent in imbeciles who do not read and did not bother to learn history. They sent in a slick salesman who knows how to sell what the market demands, and who will quickly and smoothly switch his product-offering the very moment the market demands something else.

Where do you think that leaves us? 

Sir, it leaves us with you, and your words which, I was about to say, are disappointing. 

But disappointment is so 2010.


  1. Oh, Bruce. I want everyone I know to read this. When you post, it's a doozy. I have been amazed that finally "news" media are SHOWING the occupation of Wall Street. I am terrified. This weekend I got THREE pieces of mail from the social services people I must deal with for my food stamps and disability and insurance. All three conflicted with the last three pieces of mail I got before. I am disqualified from food stamps or eligible for another $3/month. I may be eligible for more assistance... or I am about to lose the assistance I have not yet received.

    Bruce, I am fairly well educated and, yes, SMART even. I threw the mail across the room and screamed. No hyperbole there at all. It's what I did. My insurance doesn't want to cover my colonoscopy because I had one four years ago. Three relatives had colon cancer and I am high risk.

    I had to sell my home and I am one of the lucky ones. It sold in a year and eight months.

    His language makes me throw slippers at the t.v., frankly.

    If ever a post was timely, to the point, and spot on, this is it. And the guy who is scrambling to keep his current job should have to read it... read it aloud in front of his CHILDREN. The irony of it all is that if he waved his fist and spoke what is in the hearts of so man people in this country, he'd actually win in a landslide because the slicksters on the other side would be ignored.

    Thank you for saying what many are thinking, in your OWN inimitable style. Unfortunately, erudition is so 1860's...

  2. Brilliant. And well worth the wait. Funny how you write about frustration, but mine is relieved when I read that another can express it so perfectly. Thank you from the deepest part of my troubled soul. EFH

  3. Spot on and very well written post!
    Well worth the wait.

  4. Bruce, this is superb. You have exposed a train of thought that is so now.

  5. Perfectly written! You have described what many of us are feeling right now. Well done Bruce!

  6. As JeannetteLS said, a landslide (whoever was the first to use the raw language, instead of couching things in polite terms.)

  7. By the way, I've sent this to five of my friends, who pretty much voiced Expat's feeling. Frustration is such a LAME word.

  8. Bruce: While I’m hanging out waiting for Simon & Garfunkel to come back to Central Park after their break, I think I’ll just hum a tune:

    “The monkeys stand for honesty,
    Giraffes are insincere,
    And the elephants are kindly but
    They're dumb.” Hmmmmmmmmmm

  9. All anyone has to do is view the film "Inside Job" to realize just who owns America, and why. The situation that millions of people find themselves in today is an incidious cancer that has been growing since the deregulation bill passed in the 70's.

    This is a wonderful post, Bruce, and I plan to send it on to my friends. Unfortunately, we are preaching to the choir.

  10. Subtle yet to the point. Very impressive.

  11. Bruce, did you see Michael Moore's "Capitalism, a Love Story"? Your post is just as brilliant.

    Your country is run by the shareholders of the major corporations. That is who everyone reports to ~~ everyone. Until that changes, not much else can be done.

    I was reading in Time Magazine that, slowly, slowly, manufacturing is being brought back to the United States from China, because the wages and beneifts are rising in China, and are becoming too expensive for the cost of business. Ironic, isn't it?

  12. Beautifully said, Bruce. Frustration is so 2009! I no longer have any hope that something will change through politics. It's time to take to the streets.

  13. Great piece, Bruce. Going to share it right now. I think the answer to why he doesn't do what you suggest, why he lacks the courage to call them what they are, is that they *own* him, plain and simple. He doesn't see that in risking the loss of Wall Street/corporate support, he would gain ours in droves. He's like the guy holding the proverbial wolf by the scruff of his neck who doesn't dare let go--except it's the bankers who've got his neck. The irony is that if he decided a second term didn't matter so much, and did the right thing, he'd probably get that second term.

  14. Arrrgh! I can't believe I missed this by more than a week! You said what many of us wanted to say. Yes, we are beyond frustrated, but given today's political environment, taking too much of either side is committing suicide, and we need someone to give those well-fed scums some strong medicine to save this country. One side will feed the scums (and themselves) more, and the other dares not to do anything strong. Hmm, what do we do?

  15. Bruce, good points, bad points…makes me sad, makes me angry!

    Maybe he is held back by disappointment too.

    I know that am disappointed daily!! But MUCH of it is by us, the masses, the 1st world countries. We think we are so smart and empathetic and “eco-friendly” and facilitate change. We point fingers but DONOT look within, at what we do and do not do! When the passer-by is passed and our comrades are looking the other way… we revert back to being hateful, wasteful and grumble about everything that we, ourselves, do not care or try to change!

    Never mind the fact, that change is so slow, you can rarely attribute it to one entity or period. We individually need to change before a whole can do anything… unless tripping is on the agenda.

    We are desensitized and judge others harshly but do not adapt ourselves! How many times do we do things bad for ourselves when we know there is better?

    So I ask you

    Should we really blame the larger someone when the lazy individual and the stupid mass walk-on blindly? And I do mean blindly!

  16. Ah, well said. There is still hope for improvement, though I fear it will be small and slow.

  17. I dropped in from another blog, and glad to meet you and your well-constructed response to that political farse we are experiencing on Capitol Hill.

  18. Wow Bruce. This piece resonated with me. It can apply to so many situations occurring in the world right now; how do you do that? Yet another thought-evoking post. :)

  19. Your writing knocks me over every time.

  20. I'm obviously late to the party but this should have been published visibly for the world to see. You gave a voice to so many who are "frustrated". Well done.


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