Posts tagged poverty.
Real Equality At the end of the discussion, after the moderator has announced that the evening has concluded, Godard takes the microphone again and makes one final statement. He talks about a scene that he wanted to put in Film Socialisme, but eventually left out. He wanted the little boy to say, “Why do ‘equality’ and ‘shit’ rhyme?” But this would have gone too far, he thought. Too bad. Godard goes on to explain, “Whether you are Nicolas Sarkozy or Madame Bettencourt, rich or poor, there is one unique moment in people’s lives that serves as a great equalizer. It’s not when we talk or hear or eat or love. It’s when we have a bowel movement. It’s the moment when we are all sitting on a throne. Equality is right then and there. And we find something that is tragedy and democracy. Real equality. But if that’s the only place where it happens, it’s quite tragic.” (via In the Presence of Jean-Luc Godard (part 2) | Woman with a Movie Camera)
We have moved from a country of relative economic equality to a place where the gap between rich and poor is exceeded by only Singapore and Hong Kong. The rich have gone from being grateful for what they have to pushing for everything they can get. They have mastered the arts of whining and predation, without regard to logic or shame. In the end, this is the lesson of the NBA lockout. A man buys a basketball team as insurance on a real estate project, flips the franchise to a Russian billionaire when he wins the deal, and then — as both parties happily count their winnings — what lesson are we asked to draw? The players are greedy.
This needs to be read.
King weeps from his grave. He never confused substance with symbolism. He never conflated a flesh and blood sacrifice with a stone and mortar edifice. We rightly celebrate his substance and sacrifice because he loved us all so deeply. Let us not remain satisfied with symbolism because we too often fear the challenge he embraced. Our greatest writer, Herman Melville, who spent his life in love with America even as he was our most fierce critic of the myth of American exceptionalism, noted, “Truth uncompromisingly told will always have its ragged edges; hence the conclusion of such a narration is apt to be less finished than an architectural finial.”