Thursday, April 11, 2013

Where are the George Bernard Shaw voices in the current chasm between have's and have-not's?

College students over the last few years have made the phrase, "hook-up," part of our vernacular.
Two students of opposite gender( perhaps even of same gender?) spend the night together, without any thought or promise of an extended relationship.
Sexual experimentation, affiliation, this "arrangement" what you will.
There is a different kind of hook-up that is becoming far more insidious, even to those who decry the sexual mores of the young adult crowd, armed as they are with all the protection they could ever want or need.
The second form of hook-up could, by some, by considered real, albeit political, incest, between the political class and the corporate class...or can we even separate these two any more, at least in North America.
Money and power, power and money, the two aphrodisiacs, the siamese twins, the two-headed monster of contemporary culture...Never mind how these seductresses are measured, branded, pursued, achieved, or even written about...they are still strutting their stylish and evocative magnetism on every prominent street in every prominent city in every country in the world...and they are also strutting their "stuff" on movies, magazines, advertisements, television shows and in every athletic arena, stadium, and all military bases.
They can be recognized by initials on their shirts, or diamond cuff links, or alligator shoes, or gowns by the most revered designer in the most coveted salons, especially if those gowns are worn by the rich and the famous.
They can also be recognized by the insignia on the front of their car hoods, or the executive jets parked in the private air clubs, or the yachts moored in the best "yacht clubs" wherever the sun shines brightest and longest, both by day and by season.
Box seats, in theatres, sports arenas, operas, and the top restaurants are reserved for their "preferred clients" whose presence will inevitably spark both rumour and adulation from both the staff and the adoring public, eager for a picture with the famous "name" or even just to be able to tweet that they were in the same "place" as X!
Their houses, and most have multiple, are among the gated communities in "chic" cities, or regions, and their money literally flies, electronically from one corner of the globe to another, in nano-seconds, should their "financial advisor" recommend some project, stock, mine, or innovation for their privileged participation.
And of course, this cadre of moguls, some of them created, as in Russia, by their mere "patronage" under the political regime, or perhaps through their foresight in having invested wisely in one or more niches in the emerging global markets, and then attracted both neophytes and sycophants to their burgeoning empires.
Their branding includes the names of reputable graduate schools, stints, whether an interns or an employees in the "best branded" corporations, including legal firms, financial services firms, investment banks, and even in private health care and private educational ventures, not to mention the digital tsunami that has swept over the planet in the last two or three decades.
And of course, hangers on from the political arena, always eager to be seen courting their fiscal and financial masters, whose names and companies comprise the list of donors to the "right" political campaigns, depending on the perception of "good breeding" of the political candidate,  being a member of the establishment in the town or village of their birth, or a member of the most treasured and honoured graduates of the best and most revered universities, form their instant 'chattering' class of platinum actors, in the drawing rooms of the most pursued hosts, or in the ballroom of the most frequented hotels, or ships.
And so, the money from one or two generations back is transferred, along with the many inseparable and intrinsic perks that come with the name, the membership in the right clubs and the right boards of directors or the most revered of universities, corporations, libraries, museums, orchestras, and foundations, of which there are a plethora in both Canada and the U.S.
Breeding of these "thoroughbred" human beings comprises proper manners at table, proper manners in social company including the de riguere "afternoon teas" and croquettes and film festivals, as well as school grades and honourable mentions in academic and cultural pursuits as both participant and as organizer. Breeding can, and often does, also include a stint in the appropriate religious organization, in such roles as altar boy or girl, choir member,  camp counsellor, and traveller as part of both school opportunities and family offerings.
Usually at least mastery of one additional language, and a stint living among people indigenous to that language is expected, as well as some honorary and possibly hands-on philanthropic endeavors.
The people who dwell in this "class" (let's not be afraid to call a spade a shovel) and their offspring expect to be achievers, to be steeped and seasoned in the best traditions of both the family and the economic sector to which one's family is attached.
And, of course, there are also millions of others swimming like sharks in the moats of the dwellings and offices and clubs of these "established" plutocracy members, concentrating their every thought and move on the right of passage into these hallowed halls. Secondary, and tertiary wannabee's are everywhere and always, and can be spotted wherever there might be an unexpected appearance of the "real thing" hopes of catching a glimpse of the mystical dust with which the anointed are sprinkled.
The children of the establishment frequent the private schools in North America, as they would the "public schools" in Great Britain. And then, through legitimate grades and/or the extra influence of their family's tradition and support of the best schools from which their grandparents also graduated, they also graduate from university and possibly even graduate school.
They know little to nothing about the people who live "on the other side of the tracks" in the ghetto, and what is worse, they really do not care to learn.
And their resistance, as a class, to actually experiencing the plight of the poor, the disadvantaged, the hungry and the often ill children of the same age, and school grade, and harbouring similar hopes and dreams for their own futures as these "privileged" children is palpable, just as is their parents' patronizing participation in "causes" that might bring "reading or literacy" or special music classes to the ghetto.
No matter how much governments attempt to bridge the gap between those families who live a privileged life and those living in basement apartments without enough food, the gap is so wide and so enduring, and what is worse, so GROWING, as we all sit and watch, and we sit and wait for what? .....
For the inevitable breakdown of a society whose rich have so much more than they need, and whose poor have so much less than their dignity deserves.
One does not have to be a Fabian, like George Bernard Shaw, also the co-founder of the London School of Economics to recognize the increasing exploitation and demeaning of the poor among us, through blocked access to the best education, through blocked access to the best jobs, through blocked access to the best apprenticeships and athletic camps, through blocked access even to appropriate health care including proper nutrition and clean water and a comfortable bed to sleep on, and a lighted desk on which to read and write and complete homework assignments.
One does not have to be a socialist, or a communist, or a radical political activist to want to shout from the hilltops, and the skyscrapers, from the televisions and the radios, from the blogs and the print media that the "hook-up between the have's and the state"  or the political incest among the elites in our societies, to the obvious, documented and growing disintegration of the least advantaged, and potentially most resourceful and most long will it take before the have-not's will join their hands, march into our government buildings and offices and demand what is their birthright in a wealthy society?
And when that happens, who among us will cry foul the loudest?  Of course, those whose privileges have lured them into a false echo chamber of their own narcissistic voices, wardrobes, dining rooms, ballrooms and boardrooms, walled off from the rest of us and willingly preserving their fiefdoms as long as their pride holds them to it. And then, perhaps, for it is no certainty, ordinary people will once again be able to offer their names for public office, because access will not be blocked by the pretentious millions "needed" to wage a decent campaign, and ordinary people will, once again, recover the voice and the power and the opportunities that were denied them by the willful exclusion of the political-corporate elites of the last century....and then, perhaps, human beings, even the least among us, will regain their appropriate voice of leaven in the national and international breads of our great-grandchildren....for it will take at least that long!

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