My Blog Week: December 13 to December 19
A Word on the Week
This week marked a shift for GOP apologists, towards a phenomenon known as the Tail Wagging the Dog. A Wall Street Journal columnist had written an offensive piece questioning Dr. Jill Biden’s right to her title. The silly notion that the American tradition of calling holders of doctorates Doctor (presumably to be replaced by some other country’s practice, for the sheer patriotism of it?) is a new and fraudulent thing, devolved in a hurry, when Fox News took up the bait. Reminded, maybe, of their sometime pundit Dr. Sebastian Gorka, or the wish they’re bound to have at some point to quote the late Dr. Billy Graham, they began hairsplitting. Dr. Biden was disqualified as a special case, because her dissertation had typos. (Supporters on Twitter have been coming forward to say theirs did too.) Fox is not in control of this conversation, could easily have sat the whole thing out, and has ended up looking foolish.
You’ve heard that the stock market is not the economy. This week we learned that British and European bettors were crushed when the company Betfair started paying out for Biden following the electoral college vote. A New Zealand-based company called PredictIt, via a thing called a no-action letter, allows American traders to place limited bets on U.S. elections, but betting on elections is otherwise illegal here. Americans can bet on the stock market, using (for one), a company called BetOnline.ag.
So the idea that the working class have no stake in the performance of stocks may be a naïve misappreciation of the times we live in. A person who can’t afford to buy and hold, may still make quick bucks in theory by wagering. The “freedom” to wager online means gambling addictions don’t have to wait for the weekend, or involve travel, or exclude anyone possessed of a phone and a credit card.
This addiction, of course, traps its victim between a great fear and a great hope, an anxious place to live one’s hours. We’ve seen some Trump supporters unhinged, crazily lusting for military overthrow of government in states they wish Trump had won. It’s not hard to imagine someone convincing himself the Supreme Court, “fixed” as it was by Mitch McConnell, would hand the election to Trump no matter what, and floating on daydreams for a month, rehearsing one rationale after another for the payout that would keep him out of trouble. Then, crash. Some could have bet large through a Euro-surrogate, or been persuaded into the habit of betting on financials by any fellow MAGA, now to fear their future existence (in Dreamland) threatened.
This is a problem with creating broader and broader gambling opportunities. Being able to bet on anything means potentially anyone can steer outcomes. The person who controls a schedule can try, at least, to have an event for his boss occur on a particular day…
And so forth. Our cultural mental health suffers when larger numbers of people become addicted, but especially if they think in the magical terms of a gambler. The more the individual feels he has power over outcomes, the more extreme his reactions to being thwarted, even when the whole cycle takes place in his head. And for small players, who only want to make money, buying stocks may be less gratifying than betting on them. Investments are for inheritors. The GOP has worked hard to teach its followers fatalism. If a Live For Today attitude takes money out of the stock market for quicker gains gambling, we’d have a real tail-wag, turning the whole enterprise into a declining pyramid scheme.
On Monday, a new Totem-Maker, more of the Prince’s story. Tuesday, a Jumping Off poem, “Gravity”; Wednesday, Marjorie Bowen’s The Sword Decides!, with Konrad reading a revealing letter, and background notes on the real historical personages. Thursday, part twenty-two of Shine!, by Mathilde Alanic, Annie hearing encouraging words from her mentor. Friday, “The Volunteer”, an Irish immigrant fleeing the work gang, and falling into the Union Army. Saturday, part thirteen of “Celebrated”, Petra and Tom discussing novels.
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: December 13 to December 19