The other elephant in the room…

Inspired by the courageous stand of Robert Scoble:

First, let’s get the elephant out of the way, so we can talk about more important things — like how you can find all the news and information that you could ever want or need on my Twitter feed. What is the elephant? No, it’s not that picture of billionaires giving you the figurative finger.

So, what is the elephant? The relentless upward redistribution of wealth and power from the poor and the middle class to the richest 1% of society. In good times, and especially in bad times, the rich get richer. For some reason, this pisses people off.

I’m not super-rich, and no matter how often I announce on this blog that I am ready and willing to sell out, nobody seems to be buying. At this point, I am starting to think the super-rich might not take care of me after all.

Freaking elitists!

That’s what I used to think, anyway. What a buzzkill I must’ve been! As he always does, Scoble sets me straight:

…let’s take the elephant head on: rich people can afford things you and I can’t. I can’t afford a Ferrari either. Even though I definitely appreciate them. I can’t afford a private plane, even though when I’ve gotten a ride in one I’ve always appreciated them and can see why I’d want one. I can’t afford an original Ansel Adams’ print, either, even though I am a huge fan and would love to have one.

Since Scoble opened my eyes, like him “I’ve changed my stance from the one I had… What is the one now? Jealous people should just keep their mouths shut. And I’ll include me in that stance.”

But here’s the rub: I (along with everyone else) will probably be screwed by the super-rich if I am alive. And the year after that. And the year after that. But I will pay for it and deal with it somehow.

And besides, rich people pay for lots of beautiful things, and sometimes they even show those things off in public where people like me can look at them. And the rich and famous are always getting into funny mishaps that make for entertaining reading in the society pages.

What makes capitalism what it is? Elitism and expense IS part of why capitalism is magical and if you ever get to get super-rich, either because you have the money already, or because somehow you won the lottery you’ll see that it is magical, in the same way that the James Cameron movie Avatar in stunning 3-D is magical.

I could go on and on.

Capitalism should be PROUD of the elephant in the room. The rich should embrace it far more than they do. The billionaires should celebrate income inequality and run with it. Many do. I mean, what would you rather do? Guzzle a tsunami of Belvedere vodka pouring off of a giant ice sculpture while supermodels stroke your back, or sit around a dingy coffeehouse listening to some dirty hippie play Pete Seeger songs?

So, to wrap this up, don’t be jealous, let’s figure out how to get more of you into worshiping the rich.

For more discussion, I suggest you head over to the blog of Mr. Grumpy-Pants.

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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13 Responses to The other elephant in the room…

  1. Jim Groom says:

    I love you, and think I love Scoble even more. Thanks for opening my eyes, and thank you rich people for every crumb you throw me, it’s delicious even if less than nutritious. Abjection is not a state of mind, it’s way of life, and if we don;t realize that and shut the fuck up, how the hell are we gonna hear all the rich people? So simple, so sweet, and so true.

  2. Brian says:

    Excellent point Mr. Groom. Don’t we realise how rude and unkempt we must seem, dominating the conversation with our incessant whining?

  3. Shannon says:

    I am going to have to share Scoble’s amazing words with all the kids I know. It is important for all children to understand how awesome rich people are and that if they are to be happy and successful in life they need to aspire to such heights. And that if they don’t succeed they should keep their mouths shut because no one likes a sore loser in the game of capitalism.

  4. Brian says:

    “…no one likes a sore loser in the game of capitalism.”

    Or in that crazy game we call LIFE!

    I am no longer jealous of the rich, but I am jealous of those kids you know. Imagine if I could have been so enlightened at a younger age?

  5. Brian says:

    Me too, especially when it has been flavoured in palm civet droppings:

  6. I have never been jealous of the rich (though there was a pretty long period of time in my youth when I was angry about not being able to afford food and housing).

    I’m not about to start being jealous. Being rich isn’t some kind of natural ability; it’s a symptom of a psychosis. Rich people – especially those who continue to amass more and more wealth – are anti-social, and often criminals.

    What I object to is the representation of TED attendees as an elite. They are no elite. TED attendees are like “Nina Khosla, design student at Stanford. Does that name sound familiar? It should, her dad is famous VC Vinod Khosla.” Having a famous (rich) dad makes her elite? Not in my book.

    Same with the presenters. It isn’t like you lined up everyone and picked the top 100 to present. Quite the contrary – the top 100 people in the world would probably be found nowhere near TED. They are very likely people who are trying to fight world hunger (not world obesity). They would be actual nuclear physicists (not Bill Gates talking off the cuff on the subject).

    TED is political. Let me repeat that. TED is political. It is not an elite – it is money trying to dictate what counts as intelligent, what counts as important. Anything is fair game, so long as it doesn’t jeopardize their (the audience’s) comfort level and position in society.

    In a way, the $6K admission price is pure genius. It completely distracts attention from the real price of admission: conformity with an outrageous and pernicious political platform. *That* is what they screen for when they screen for admission.

  7. Brian says:

    Here I was sucking up to the rich and powerful when, as you rightly point out, I need to be thinking bigger… I should also be sucking up to those whose ideologies favor the perpetuation of power in general.

    Who do I think I’m kidding? If I’m serious about selling out — and I assure any rich, powerful people who happen to read this that indeed I am — I need to elevate my game. As Tom Friedman would say if he was here, “it’s gut check time.”

  8. Jon says:

    Brian, this is why, although you are the world’s worst blogger, it’s worth waiting for you to blog. I saw the Scoble thing, and couldn’t believe it. So glad you wrote this.

    The real elephant in the room? That the TED talks aren’t actually that great. At least I’ve yet to see one that got me excited in the slightest.

  9. Brian says:

    Hmmm. One of my very favorite bloggers is telling me that I am “the world’s worst blogger”…

    Yet I feel happy to read it. Truly, I’ve left my dark past behind. I think it must have been shed along with my disgruntled thin skin… discarded alongside my jealousy of the elite.

  10. Mike says:

    Brian, if you want more stuff you should be smarter and work harder. Money correlates to IQ, which is why George W. Bush was one of our best presidents ever. It’s also why the world’s smartest people in the health industry are designing America’s world-class health system as we speak. It’s also why we have top people from Wall Street working on our economic problems right now.

    In other words, while you are sucking down Slurpees in Van Rock City talking shit about hegemony and boohoo-ism, rich people are working tirelessly around the clock to save your sorry ass.

    I know what you are going to say. Well, actually I don’t know what you are going to say, but I don’t really care. I mean, if you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich? If your brain is so big you would have applied it by now to the world’s most important thing, money. Ipso facto, right? Per se, etc.

    In conclusion, this blog would be a lot better if I had to pay $6,000 to read it. I’d pay attention better and take a lot of cool notes. Plus, you’d have more money, which would make what you have to say more important and smart.

  11. also, this blog would be better with a Slurpee™ in hand. charge $6,000 – but give a coupon for one free Slurpee™. That would be world-changing.

  12. Brian says:

    $6,000 does seem like something of a sweet spot – whether for access to my musings, or for a Slurpee™. That oughta buy some real excellence.

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