Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Nurture

Yesterday I put up a post about the Whacking of The Nancy that included this comment about the woman who was (depending on who you believe) either the éminence blonde behind the entire plot or an innocent wee slip of a girl betrayed by bad company:
"These were people who were just brutally...marginal; sad, hardscrabble fuckups who were often just one mishap away from being human trainwrecks, deadly combinations of barely-bright, poorly-educated, undisciplined-to-the-point-of-undisciplinable. In the Army we called these sorts of people "shit magnets". “Bad stuff” just “happened” to them; car wrecks, arrests...lost time, lost jobs, lost husbands and wives, lost lives. Tonya was a kind of patron saint for those people..."
This is and was a sad fact rather than an opinion; the world is full of such people, and the wreckage that their shit-magnetry leaves behind.

But I should add this:

It's important to distinguish between the effects of behavior and environment, between the hard work of fucking your life up and the good luck of having a life that's fundamentally hard to fuck up.

Unbolt the tits off Tonya and put the resulting body in an Andover and Yale sweatshirt and you pretty much get George W. Bush; an intellectually stunted, emotionally impaired, ethically flat-lined, greedy, egotistical peckerhead.

Tonya is a convicted petty crook. A substantive case can be made, based on the grounds upon which an international tribunal indicted, tried, convicted, and hanged Hideki Tōjō, that Dubya should be a convicted Class A war criminal.

Not just that little pecadillo binds the two together. Look at the pattern of their lives. One fuckup after another, one stupid decision followed by a period of complete nonreflection followed by another stupid decision. These two people made careers out of putting themselves in positions of public confidence only to do something incredibly boneheaded that made it clear that said confidence was utterly and disastrously misplaced.

So why is it that Tonya is living in an anonymous trailer somewhere east of Terrebone while Dubya is still booking speaking tours and lounging about the in-ground pool at one of the family mansions?


You know why as damn well as I do.

So, while it's popular and entertaining to sneer at the Tonyas of the world - hell, there's a whole business of trumping up television and movies and books - and even a gawdawful checkstand magazine sneering and leering at these poor mooks - the only real difference I see between them and the Dubyas and the William Kennedy Smiths and the Alice Waltons and the Kenny-Boy Lays of the world is what Ernest Hemingway supposedly said when Scott Fitzgerald told him that the Rich are Different:

They just have more fucking money.

So I don't want you think that I'm slagging off on Tonya. Yes, she fucked up.

But when she did she had nothing there to protect her from the consequences of her fuckedupitude. She got one shot and when she screwed it up she fell, like Lucifer, never to rise again.

Whilst here in the Land of the Free one of the great privileges of great personal or family wealth is the "right" to fuck up - over and over again - and never pay so much as a moment's regret or a day's liberty for it.

6 comments:

Ael said...

If that anonymous trailer is warm and dry, then there is a better than even chance that Tonya is doing better than GWB.

I've had some minor dealings with rich folk and their lampreys. The more you get to know them, the less you like them.

FDChief said...

Not trying to argue that you can't be happy in a hovel or miserable in a mansion, Ael, just that it IS harder to be poor, or almost-poor, than to be wealthy - and that if you begin poor, or almost-poor, that your shot at getting to be not-poor is pretty damn chancy.

By all rights Dubya should be living in that tarpaper shack and scrounging for change to pick up a pack of smokes as Tonya probably is now. Having to choose between going short on food to pay the electric bill. Walking rather than driving because there's not enough cash to fill up the gas tank until the end of the month.

Why does Dubya get the economic happy-ending and not Tonya?

We both know why.

I know the conventional story is that happy poverty is better than wealthy misery, but having been poor I can tell you it's damn hard to be "happy". Poverty is an endless daily grind of small miseries, and it wears you down pretty damn quickly.

Syrbal/Labrys said...

I hope they choke on their more money, once they get done looting the world and nothing is left for them to steal.

Ael said...

I have never been really poor, or really rich. I recognize that it is harder and harder to stay happily in the middle.

If you look at things like suicide risk (as a quantitative proxy for misery) it turns out that poor folk don't kill themselves more often than rich people. Relative wealth may matter more than absolute wealth (i.e. there is always a richer asshole than you up the street and in wealth neighborhoods, there are lots of richer assholes, and poor neighborhoods don't have any rich assholes in them)

In any case, there are things we should be doing (and are not) to help lift people out of grinding poverty.

Barry said...

Syrbal/Labrys said...
"I hope they choke on their more money,..."

If that happened more than a tiny fraction of the time, then the world would be a different place.

basilbeast said...

IMVHO the No. 1 thing this country does not need is a Flock of Billionaires waltzing about dispensing their favors and influence as they see fit, unelected and unaccountable.

From Bill Gates and Warren Buffet down to Charles and David K.

In the 50s, the top tax rate was around 90% and look what we did with that. A superior transportation system, education for all and trips to the Moon and back.

What have we done lately with low or zero tax rates for these wealthy Job Creators? Decay and corruption, financial chaos, and a national political attitude as perverse as any previous rotting empire from history.

What happened to the Trooper who had the audacity to inconvenience Walton is a damning example of the situation we find ourselves in.

http://tinyurl.com/lv7knkq

bb