Who Wants to be a Billionaire?

If you’re upset you can’t afford holiday presents, or that you even have to buy holiday presents, be cheered by the confirmation once again of this salient fact –

Money does NOT buy happiness.

But you can rent it, right Chairy?

The richest man in the world was having a hissy fit this week because a bunch of reputable journalists posted stories about him and his whereabouts he didn’t like and couldn’t control.

Yes, Elon Musk is THE richest person on EARTH and a bunch of silly, bitchy and not even very revealing comments about him by reporters who work at places like CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post pissed him off.  Not to mention a college student in Florida and what he wrote on his Twitter account. 

In fact, he suspended all their Twitter accounts, then banned them altogether, then reinstated them. 

He screamed (Note: Well, posted very loudly) they were violating his privacy by revealing the comings and goings of his private jet when that information is public record.  Forget that some of those reporters never even wrote about where he was.  They were instead commenting on his latest follies on the social media platform he now owns.

See, the richest man in the world bought Twitter for $44 billion this year in order to steer public discourse to his own liking. 

Ho Ho Ho

And even if it collapses under the weight of his toddler-y tantrums as he leads a band of digital dingbats to troll the libs, he will still be a multi-billionaire.

What it won’t do, though, is fill the deep hole of distaste for that which and those whom he cannot silence, or at least control.

Us.

Or, put in the spirit of holiday movies like It’s A Wonderful Life:

Elon will forever be Mr. Potter and….

WE ARE ALL GEORGE BAILEYS.

OK but the happy one right?

He will NEVER get his hands on our buildings and loans because we don’t look at the entire world as something we could ever, in reality, fully control. 

Certainly not with the cash and clout we have available to us in Christmas, 2022.

And how lucky are we for that?

Yes, lucky. 

Because we also learned this week that, aside from money, being the MOST POWERFUL PERSON ON THE PLANET (Note:  Which these days comes accompanied by a ton of money, or at least financial “opportunities”) also can’t come close to buying happiness.  Or even contentment.

Certainly not self-respect.

Bah humbug!

Yes, of course we’re talking about Tr-mp.  That’s a given.  But only in service or making a much larger point.

I mean, what would it take for you to hire/authorize/perhaps pay (Note: Well, maybe not the latter) a digital artist to create inferior drawings of you as a cowboy, a superhero, an astronaut or even fighter pilot, with a a strange, air-brushed slapped-on replica of your face and hair where the head is supposed to be?

For your sake and mine, we’ll post this instead. #yikes

It could conceivably be a fun party favor on your 50th, 60th or even 70th birthday under a tent, given to all invited guests.  You could imagine your spouse doing that behind your back without telling you, thinking you’d be pleased.

You might even be displeased but be forced to grin and bear it while resenting it, or even pretend to like it and then have it grow on you and sort of have it win you over because, hey, why not, what do YOU have to prove at this point, anyway, being so rich and powerful?

But no, imagine you actually WANT to create these faux objects d’art voluntarily, as YOUR merchandise from YOUR virtual merch store?  And voluntarily publicize and sell them to anyone in the world who wants to buy them for $99 a piece?

Wait, this is serious!

Um… what?

In your mind you ARE a superhero.  And maybe you were indeed an astronaut, a cowboy and a war pilot.  Who is to say that you were not?   

A liberal like me can joke all that he wants but hey, the Trump digital cards sold out in a day and they made $4.3 million.

I am clearly in the wrong business

At least that’s what THEY will counter.

But, well, is that a lot of money for a self-proclaimed billionaire?  More importantly, does that raise the stock of the once most powerful man in the world?

Well, maybe there is an Iowa state fair looking for a superhero carnival barker in 2024 rather than a presidential candidate.

Been there and done that, you can hear Trump really privately thinking about running again. 

So why not do the state fair

If they pay enough and you can private jet in and out it might be good for the brand in the long run, And wouldn’t it be so great to be back up on a real stage among MY people?  

You can imagine him contemplating it, even if he doesn’t publicly admit it. 

Or perhaps it is just a simple money grift from the man born with no shame and then some.

Welcome back Potter

Already intellectuals are writing think pieces about these Trump playing cards, attempting to cast them as some post modern ironic, version of crypto art.  They are NFTs, aka non-fungible tokens, after all.  Which is nothing more than a fancy word for images each with their own digital stamp. 

Sounds like a Sam Bankman-Fried scheme to me.  But let’s not go down that road even if Larry David and Tom Brady already did.

Instead let’s stay with the idea of seriously marketing yourself as a real life cartoon character NOT in the Marvel or DC Universe when you actually once were a sort of Superman/person in real life.

It’s kind of like the end of Tar when she finds herself….

Oh, never mind. I don’t want to give it away. 

Don’t worry Cate, we’ll have a podcast all about you #AwardsSeason

Even though I thought that movie was an unbelievably bloated, pretentious, obnoxious and sad excuse for…

Hey, that’s sort of how I think about Trump and Elon!

Two pieces of faux public art drowning in their own bottomless hubris as the rest of us celebrate this holiday season in ways they can’t understand and will never be able to buy.

P.S. We love you, Cecily

“Blue Christmas” – Austin Butler with the SNL cast

Vote First

This week the spouse of the person third in line for the presidency got seriously attacked by a hammer-wielding, 2020 election-denying conspiracy theorist that regularly spouts racist, anti-Semitic and anti-LGBTQ views via a blog not like, but not 100% unlike, this one.

Now, before you go jumping to conclusions —

We here at Notes do NOT believe, as the attacker does, that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is the power behind some cannibalistic, child abusing cabal. 

Step one

Nor do we traffic in the notion that non-white people, Jews or gays are evil incarnate.

And not only because the Chair is in the latter two of those three groups.

Rather it is due to the fact that we, like him, use the WordPress platform to regularly espouse our views for all the world to read, and perhaps rally behind, via our own personal BLOGs.

Tale as old as time

I was thinking about this a lot after hearing my fellow blogger broke into the Pelosi home after 2 a.m. bellowing, Where’s Nancy, struggling with 82-year-old Paul Pelosi before hitting him REALLY hard on the head.  (Note: Nancy was not at home, but hard at work rallying Democratic voters far away on the opposite coast).

Nevertheless, Mr. Pelosi suffered life threatening injuries from this attack – a fractured skull and serious injuries to his hand and arm that required surgery – but it is now reported he will be okay. 

This was not solely due to his doctors but also to the fact that an intuitive 9-1-1 operator dispatched the police to his home with a high alert warning.

Still, it momentarily left me wondering:

Exactly where do we stand with free speech in our presently advanced information age??

Quite a prickly situation

Oh, OF COURSE FREE SPEECH NEEDS TO CONTINUE! (He ranted). 

WHAT ARE WE, A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY OR…..RUSSIA? (He asked). 

OR A MAGA STRONGHOLD IN THE SOUTH OR MIDWEST? (He irrationally screamed).

OR THE HOUSE JUDICIARY GOP, which still has up the following three-week old tweet:

TRUMP.  ELON.  KANYE.

Yikes, indeed

Well, I guess that post is presumably in support of the free speech rights of people like Kanye West to go, as he just did, def-con 3 on THE JEWS.

Shoot (oops), even billionaires (Note: Up until this week) get to say anything they want, like the rest of us.

Or in solidarity with Elon Musk’s plan, after buying Twitter for $44 billion, to let back on the platform many of the hate spouting, fake conspiracy-promoting users whom former Twitter execs permanently banned for life.  Beginning with:

@realDonaldTrump.

Get ready America.

Fly, my pretties! Fly!

I don’t have answers as to where free speech ends and governmental intervention begins.

Nor do American politicians or its citizens if the last six plus years of the MAGA agenda to poison our social discourse with lies about the efficacy of the 2020 elections (and beyond), amid white power salutes and calls to lock up every elected official they don’t agree with, are any indication. 

Phew, that was a mouthful.

And we’re not done yet.

I have a headache

Because when there is no agreement on what is true, or what is even real, it’s hard to know where to even start. 

Or end.

When I was in graduate school in Chicago once upon a time in the seventies there was a big hoopla around the Nazis marching in the nearby suburb of Skokie, a primarily Jewish enclave. 

It was a provocative move to cause an encounter, we were all sure, so eventually it was decided that as heinous as Nazis were, it would be against freedom and even worse for democracy to not allow this monstrous group who supported the extermination of a race/my people, to be free to express themselves in a place where my people/that race most particularly presided.

Of course, this was in an era where almost everyone believed Nazis were heinous. 

A time very unlike today.

This could be the reason…

As I watched former President Obama campaigning this weekend in support of democracy and Democratic candidates in swing states like Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin he was incredibly inspiring.  But his words felt almost…

QUAINT.

Oh, he made the case and then some for the imperative to vote Blue in the 2022 election and beyond.

He proved without a doubt that to not elect these representatives could signal the end of democracy, not to mention extinguishing popular social programs like Social Security.  Not to mention more tax cuts for the rich and less affordable health insurance for the rest of us mere mortals.

Please don’t let this be you this November

But he was speaking to thousands of Democratic supporters who wanted to be inspired and be given numerous exciting, rational reasons to get off their phones and up off their asses to make a difference.

Still, it made me wonder if this was the only way to stop the MAGA movement for now.  Get every conceivable, rational, believer in facts and democracy that we all know to move up and out to the polls, even if we need to take them there ourselves.

And to worry about how free our free speech should be AFTER this election cycle.

To forget about the lies, and hate, and crazy right wing fan fiction on social media for right now.

Unless they try to stop us from voting.  And then we’ll…

Welp, see you later.

Well, we’ll cross that bridge in 10 days or less.  I guess.

A friend of mine sincerely asked me how I can be even slightly positive about the future of the country in light of where we are now. 

I immediately responded it’s because I spend a lot of my working life around young people in college, the vast majority of whom loathe the MAGA agenda.

Deniers aside, it is a fact that 65% of Gen Zers voted for Joe Biden in 2020 and that in 2024 they will be the most powerful block of voters.

Zoomers unite

So now is the time to TALK, not lecture to them, about their fears, their truths and the truth of what is going on in the country vs. what is passing for truth these days.

And ask them to vote for themselves, or as a favor to you, if you know them well enough.  (Note: Yes, guilt can work.  I’m living proof!).

And then get your butt and the butt of everyone else you know into a virtual/mail-in or literal voting booth.

Yes

We can then scream, rant, chat or even blog about the distorted views and/or rights of any crazy that comes to mind after that.

Because we will still have the freedom and luxury to do so.

George Michael – “Freedom! ’90”