“Is the jailing, un-jailing, and re-jailing of Paris Hilton a harbinger of anything? Has America’s Love/Hate-o-meter for wealthy celebrities swung in the negative direction? And does that swing portend something more ominous for our society at large? I’ve been saying for a while that the time would come when the moiling masses of the un-rich would turn on their pantheon of media-conjured demigods, and that this would be a symptom of mechanical trouble in the giant gas-sucking Hummer limousine that the US economy has become. Are the wheels about to come off?”
“You wonder who the new gods will be. In France, after the bloodbath of the 1790s, the new gods were abstract virtues rather than personalities: justice, brotherhood, equality, et cetera. The mob soon tired of abstractions, though, and turned to the appealing figure of General Bonaparte. Why? because he displayed the prime signature of charisma — the aura that he actually knew what he was doing. In a nation that has lost its head, this is a striking attribute.”
Loose Wheels, JHN, June 11, 2007
Oh man, look: I’m agreeing with Barbara Ehrenreich:
“But it no longer takes a Marxist, real or alleged, to see that America is being polarized between the super-rich and the sub-rich everyone else. In Sunday’s New York Times magazine we learn that Larry Summers, the centrist Democratic economist and former Harvard president, is now obsessed with the statistic that, since 1979, the share of pretax income going to the top 1 percent of American households has risen by 7 percentage points, to 16 percent. At the same time, the share of income going to the bottom 80 percent has fallen by 7 percentage points.
“As the Times puts it: ‘It’s as if every household in that bottom 80 percent is writing a check for $7,000 every year and sending it to the top 1 percent.’ Summers now admits that his former cheerleading for the corporate-dominated global economy feels like ‘pretty thin gruel.'”
Banish the Bloated Overclass, Barbara’s Blog, June 12, 2007