The Pope, the Queen, Ayn Rand and other Useless Bobbleheads


I was going to throw in the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, but he does spend a lot of time thinking about interest rates (Or he used to when they actually fluctuated) and the money supply. So he really does something important and his rarefied stature clearly is justified.

I considered tossing in the famous actors and actresses here in my town of Hollywood, the unjustifiable and grating elevation of them, given the blunt reality that any good-looking enough orangutan can be trained to serviceably act. But in all fairness, providing something that good to look at is a genuine contribution to the human condition. When the Queen is Olivia Wilde and the Pope is Ryan Gosling I’ll reevaluate the dubiousness of their lofty regard.

Yes, I understand the world is currently Pope-less, and the berobed bling ring has gathered in Rome to alleviate such an untenable absence by secretively electing the newest Chairman of the Board. In the meantime, maybe it’s something to do with living in present day America, where wealth disparity is all but the law of the land, and strange creeds of innate superiority and makers and takers and producers and moochers and job creators and the one percent versus the forty-seven percent who “won’t take personal responsibility and care for their lives” animate one of the major political parties that puts one not so much in the mood for news of exalted figureheads.

Tolerance in these quarters also is at an all-time low for the role of mythology, bogus tradition, faith and superstition in keeping noxious world views, radical ideologies and so much antediluvian horseshit afloat in modern America. An American past of rugged individualism is more unexamined bunk and hokum than anything resembling history: more Barnum and Bailey and Buffalo Bill than real. But it is used by the contemporary American right to justify much of today’s systemic inequality, rolled up into a giant propaganda blunt and shotgunned down Americans’ throats. For instance, the degree to which unadulterated mythology about guns in American life, and a cartoon, fabricated American frontier are credulously accepted as defense for gun proliferation that results in lots and lots of needlessly murdered people, many of whom are children, isn’t that cute anymore.

The British are entitled to their Royal Family, though in fairness to them they do seem to keep it in perspective as a sort of royalist Disneyland for the tourist set. Still, on this side of the pond where a segment of our populace, and worse, our political class believes in economic Kings and Queens, the Republican Party platform little more than an American version of the Restoration, the idea of very, very special people to whom we defer, and unquestionably subjugate ourselves for our own good, supposedly, is an idea striking an apex of revulsion now.

The British may have retained the theatrics for reasons of economics and nostalgia, but long ago discarded the notion of superior lineage. Have we? Remarkably, the Donald Trumps and Koch brothers of the world and other inheritors of great wealth indeed consider themselves to be in possession of immaculate personal characteristics making them individually deserving of their mighty fortunes. The rest of us may chortle or vomit, but the Paul Ryan ilk elevates them to demigods, and furthermore promulgates an ideology and a social and economic structure that would have the rest of us orbit them as cold planets revolve around a sun depended upon for warmth.

Speaking of Ryan, in the annals of mythologized superior types, the elevation of his hero, the eccentric nitwit Ayn Rand to the status of Economics Pope by the American right, may be among the most woeful ever, as harmful as it remains distinctly ludicrous. Little more than an insufferably pretentious wannabe actress and bombed screenwriter who concocted a kind of economics Scientology for misanthropic adolescent elitists, fancy dressing for feudalism, aristocracy and the Übermensch, the Church of Ayn dominates the Republican Party, and by extension the rest of us unsaved souls. It’s a wretched, dehumanizing atavistic faith, evangelized with very bad arithmetic, yet it holds disproportionate sway over American lives.

No doubt our self-designated Masters of the Universe on Wall Street proceed with the genuine conviction they indeed are a cut above…far above, and that deference to them in the tax code and the shredded regulatory regime by Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan and Grover Norquist is only their due, even as the rest of us understand they are just very aggressive, very acquisitive, immaculately amoral humans with a very narrowly refined skill set.

Perhaps when the work and productivity of all in America fairly benefits all in America, when labor is respected as much as capital, when the middle class is thriving once again rather than taken to the proverbial cleaners, when perverse, radical ideologies designating very special human beings and superior categories of them is not a malevolent force in American governance and politics I’ll be able to humor the traditionally exalted again as simply fanciful or inspirational. In the meantime, I intend to reserve my adoration for single mothers working menial jobs to support a family, or dads sweeping floors during the day and working in convenience stores at night to send their kids to college, or the immigrant working in fast food who comes to work each day cheerful and eager. Now they’re special.

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