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

Can we ignore this?

It wasn’t until I was 22 that I experienced words of anti-Semitism and even then they were overheard. 

I was sitting at an outdoor restaurant in Chicago.  Two middle-aged businessmen at the next booth were talking and one of them said, and then he tried to Jew me down.

I remember being more shocked than called to action.  Then I considered what to do.  I know what I’d do now but back then, in the late seventies, I weighed the options and chose the path of least resistance, which was to ignore it. 

I’m talking diva level ignoring

After all, it wasn’t my conversation and I’d be starting something in the middle of a public place that likely would escalate and certainly wouldn’t solve anything.  Clearly, those guys were idiots. 

These days, I’d give them a what for and say something like,

Can you clarify that for THIS Jew? 

…in other words

Or, well, perhaps something wittier, and hopefully something wiser.

Decades have come and gone and over the years I’ve personally heard and experienced a lot more anti-gay stuff than Jew-hating comments.  Nevertheless, Nazism is on the rise and once again we Jews, whether practicing or not, have once again been thrust into the social forefront of populations of people to be hated.

My Hebrew school teachers tried to warn me back in the sixties but being a kid living in the boroughs of New York City you didn’t get a lot of swastikas, Jew me down invectives or public physical pummeling.

Only a twenty-something born and bred in New York City could be surprised to hear something anti-Semitic said out loud in the late seventies.  It just wouldn’t happen in MY neighborhood. 

More likely I might have heard some invective about the Blacks.

Um yikes

Not from any of my friends (Note:  I can swear to that) but from the mouths of some of their parents, grandparents or random group of that groups’ friends.

Of course, this was a problem but at the time I was sure the world was changing.  I used to get into knock down, drag out fights with elders whenever I heard them say something I considered even vaguely, and certainly outwardly, racist.  I didn’t hear it often but enough to be enraged, enough to call them out on what I considered their ignorance, stupidity and offensiveness.

Yeah, wouldn’t you have liked to have known me as a 12, 15 or 18 year old?  I’m speaking to every adult reading this who has a relative that…well, you know.

This shirt feels right

Anyway, here we are well into the 2000s and the shit talk ignorance once spoken quietly or privately in most major cities, though a lot more vocally in rural areas, especially in the south and Midwest, has gone viral.

Check that.

Instead it’s become part of the public discourse.

We actually have global music stars, billionaires and former presidents openly and proudly spouting stuff teenage me would have gone apoplectic on. 

So naïve and dangerous are the ways in which the teenage mind operates.  And yet, how well-served would society be if it occasionally spent a little more time (Note: Or any time) occasionally listening to the outbursts of kids who haven’t yet learned how to lie or remain silent about what they really think as craftily as their elders.

I know a feel people who could benefit from this..

This is not a problem as 2022 sputters to its much awaited conclusion (Note:  For this Chair, anyway.  It was a terrible year as 12-month periods go).    Social media and global interconnectivity (Note: Whether we like it or not) has made it impossible to hide the rot and emboldened the rotten.

That being the case, we all get to be unruly teenagers daily, if we so chose.  Though like young people learn, constant angry verbiage gets tiring and after a while all you want to do is tune out (Note:  Take your choice of vices), rock ‘n roll (Note: See previous note) or have sex and do drugs (Note: See previous note once again).

Or, when you get to a certain point in life…ahem,..simply go to sleep.

Real 2020 and 2021 vibes

Though one of the few things Hebrew school taught me is that when you see Jewish stars and swastikas being merged together, it’s no time for sleep.

Rather, it’s time to speak.  And fight.  A lot.

I like coming-of-age movies about young Jewish boys as much as the next Jewish person.  Heck, I even wrote one back in the day.  (Note:  Google Family Prayers).

However, the way new films like Armageddon Time and The Fabelmans show us what it’s like to experience Jew hating (Note: And they do it far better than I did in my movie, since I don’t recall any Jewish trash talking as a boy), now comes across as positively quaint.

More on this scene in a later post… I’m sure

Time for, as Woody Allen once stated in Annie Hall, bricks and baseball bats because a satirical piece in the Times doesn’t cut it with Nazis.

Right, I know, we’re not supposed to quote him anymore, but, well, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Or am I jumping the…gun…I mean, shark…before it’s bad enough for what he proposed way back in 1977?

I mean, how bad does it have to get and how does a lifelong pacifist like me, who thus far has only fought back with words, weaponize for this?

Justin Timberlake – “What Goes Around… Comes Around”