My Blog Week: July 14 to July 20
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A Word on the Week
The Billionaire’s Mite
When the very rich throw their hats in the ring, political parties complain that their aura will tempt away voters. What makes the mythology of the maverick businessman so powerful? If the story were true, if corporations somehow functioned as microcosms of nations; if CEOs were actually aware of what parts of their companies could be analogous to a military, a state department, a department of natural resources, and so on (which would take stretching definitions considerably), the “lessons learned” might be applicable to shaping up an inefficiently run government.
Let’s consider Richenbicher, my cartoon CEO, arriving at his desk, brunch-time, sending a flunky to get “that guy” into his office.
“The EPA is on our back. I heard it on Bloomberg, on my way in this morning.”
“Don’t worry, sir. I’m on top of it.”
“Fine. Let me know.”
And Richenbicher puts his feet up, telling himself, “You just have to get the right people in the right jobs, and leave them alone to do their work.”
Anyone who runs a company that way is giving a free pass to all endemic corruption, including those cultures of ghastly sexism, the prevalence of which, we’re discovering.
Richenbicher’s flunkies, for decades, have nodded and phrased at him:
“Uh huh, that’s right, very true, you got it, sir!”
And so he feels, because everyone agrees with him, every day, all the time, that he is a brilliant businessman. He tells people, when hit with thoughts of a scheme, “Everyone says it’s great. Trust me, I know what I’m doing.”
Meanwhile, he hardly takes stock of his all, so how can he give it? He knows nothing of his low-level employees, whose jobs he can’t imagine and would never bother to; nothing of what happens to them when they get pushed out. He assumes, in a vague way, the economy will provide, as long as his own taxes are low. If he had a political ideology, it would be, “Someone’ll get that.”
Maybe there is a maverick or a rogue out there, in the business world, whose bright ideas will turn government on its ear. Right now, it’s the grassroots activists who seem to have both the useful information about reality, and the can-do attitude to put genuine ideas across.
I was once a schoolchild enchanted by the moon landing…its 50th anniversary having come this week. It was the Buckeye Mart, or the Hecks (defunct discount chains of Ohio), selling the coveted moon globe, that had a craterscape on one side, and little information panels on the other, the dark half’s topography being unknown. Big stuff for America, our space program. And why not?
(Someone’ll get that thing about every developed country having an equal right to send their junk into orbit, until it all caroms into disaster.)
But, speaking of sturdy public stories, why is it not routine for our journalists to stick a paperclip on this one? Would any news reporter wax sentimental about “King Cotton” and never mention how that epoch came about? Our rockets had a lineage. They were birthed by Nazi Germany’s V1 and V2. We split up the scientist pool, post WWII, with the Soviet Union. Those are merely facts; it can’t “spoil the fun” to say so.
Monday, a fresh episode of the novella Celebrated, with Petra and Tom remembering an editor; on Tuesday, Florrie Quincy’s unhappy situation met that of Rose Durco, in Sequence of Events. Wednesday, the conclusion of the short story “Promoted to Exile”, in which Herward gets a chance to cross the border legitimately. Thursday, Catastrophe moved towards its conclusion, though Hess has a number of notes remaining on the psychology of disaster. Friday, a new Totem-Maker, part nine of “Winter Alone”, the character gaining confidence from having a role to play. Saturday, a new poem in the Eight series, “Abnormalizing”.
Images on my posts often have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: July 14 to July 20
Celebrated (part seventeen)
Sequence of Events: Anarchy (part two)
Promoted to Exile: Fifth Tourmaline (conclusion)
La Catastrophe de la Martinique: sixty-five
British Museum: Eruption timeline for Vesuvius
The Totem-Maker: Winter Alone (part nine)
Poetry Foundation: George Seferis, “An Old Man on the River Bank”