Nappy Headed Ho's

I'm afraid I have to agree with Bill Maher when he posits: "When was the last time this country accomplished something really great?"

  • Atom split: 1942

  • Victory over Axis powers (WWII): 1948

  • Polio vaccine: 1957

  • Internet: 1961

  • Lunar landing: 1969

  • Personal computer: 1973

  • Linux: Oh wait, Torvalds is from Finland...

Frankly, the only major human accomplishment more recent than the first 10 years of my childhood (I'm 45), that I can remember, is mapping the human genome.

And I'm not really sure that mapping the genome is even a positive because, in the end, it seems like basically a giant technological, scientific leap for Insurance Companies. In other words, very soon your premium will be determined by your DNA, but I doubt very much if your treatment will - unless of course you are very, very rich!

So in the end, I am forced to conclude that RICH represents the most significant human achievement of the last 40 years: the absurdly, ridiculously, insanely, ingloriously rich. Yes, the Party of More, the Hedge Fund Party, the One-In-One-Thousand (at best) Party hasn't been this powerful, this much in-charge, since the signing of the Magna Carta. And if you doubt me, then ask yourself: How else could George Walker Bush get elected President of the United States twice?

But meanwhile...

  • Humankind has consumed more natural resources since 1948 than all of prior human history.

  • The average working American has less than $25K saved for retirement. But current estimates place the required amount at twelve times current annual income. So if you're earning $2000/year, then you're ready.

  • For those of us with money we must invest (see above), obsession with the trade has become so insidious that I recently saw a serious discussion on CNBC linking market activity to sun spots.

  • Corporate advertising dollars have become so powerful that Don Imus, an old, rich, white male with a long-running talk radio gig, was fired for using the phrase "nappy-headed 'ho" in a joke (albeit one in very poor taste).

  • Two other old, rich, white men, the U.S. President and Vice-President, literally lied (WMD, Mushroom Cloud, Al Queda, Liberators, Democracy, Stay the Course...) the U.S. into a war of choice in Iraq that has killed as many as half a million, jailed a hundred thousand, tortured thousands more, broken U.S. defensive capability, and contributed to bankrupting government. Yet they continue to preside, with complete impunity, apparently by simply denying culpability.

So I ask: Rutgers University Women's Basketball Team? WTF? We all deserve an apology in my opinion - from ourselves!

Unfortunately, this is how it would read: "Uh, we're very sorry, but we just can't pull ourselves away from the Praise Channel long enough to fix anything, anymore. Sure 5% of the planet's population produces 45% of its waste, but that's just the way it is. Sure we're Old, Fat, Stupid and Jesus-loving, but we're not in charge any more. The Hedge Funds are. So this is as good as it's ever going to get. And, if we can just somehow manage another 20-40 sort-of OK years - without our streets becoming Baghdad - or New Orleans after Katrina - until the retirement funds are empty and the arteries hopelessly clogged. Well, that's our highest human aspiration. Streaming porno and fraternity pranks on YouTube - our answer to Martin Luther King's dream. Priceless!"

But, God Damn It! I'm an American and I have a very short attention span. The Sky may be on Fire, but it's a slow burn. Why wait for Armageddon? Why not just send Iran a couple of warheads? We did it for Israel, India, Pakistan... Look how well that's turned out. We're sending our stated enemies $1 Trillion each year in oil payments. Why not just speed up the inevitable? Yes, the sooner Iran gets The Bomb, the better, in my opinion. Because watching the sky burn, rust grow and arteries choke is like watching Ronald Reagan lecture on economics;  Like watching Dick Cheney rattle his saber with his stomach hanging over the podium and his pacemaker on overdrive;  Like watching George W. Bush holding his autographed copy of "The Pet Goat" - it's just not my idea of a future!

So face it: black, white, yellow or brown;  kinky, straight or bald;  we're all a bunch of Nappy Headed Ho's!  And I really think it's time that we admit it.  Imus, himself, once recovered from major, downward addictions.  Finally admitting that this is our bottom might just be our first step up.


Anonymous said…
Well said. What about the Space Shuttle (1981)? Now we can pollute space too...

The Artificial Heart isn't bad (1983).
Todd Ryder said…
Thanks, Jay.

I’ll give you the Space Shuttle – though not much good has come from it – except space junk as you state. The artificial heart doesn’t work does it? Kills people after a matter of hours/days. I’d rate a plasma television above those…

Did you know Ron Sugar made $21.7M last year and Jim O’Neill made $3.8M? Even the BOD (meet like once/month for a couple of hours) make $200K.
It’s all there in the annual report (have small NOC holding in 401K so I get an annual report).
I guess it’s nice work if you can get it, but IMO something should be done nationally, legislatively about the 400x ratios (corp officer to corp worker pay) IMO. Seems just out of hand when the average working American has <$25K saved for retirement and there are 2.5M people losing health insurance every year. If American companies can afford these incredible executive salaries and still be profitable it seems obvious to me that corp. taxes and worker salaries are unfairly low.

The system’s broken. Everyone is starting to admit it. But the only thing that changes is the advertising – green, green, green – suddenly every TV commercial is about green this and green that (translation: they see the unrest and will, as usual, attempt to assuage it with advertising). Even Cramer (Mad Money - CNBC) devoted an entire show to “Green Day” (not what Green Day means BTW) companies last night. Cramer stated that the plug-in (commuter – first 125 miles on batteries – virtually zero carbon) hybrid I want won’t be available (Toyota) until at least 2010/11. That sucks.
Anonymous said…
Internet came out of ARPA so they could have a network resilient to nuclear war.

Free software came from Richard Stallman. Of course, free software is mostly a reaction to our insanely greedy business culture gutting MIT AI Labs and locking everything up.

Linus may be from Finland but most of the serious Linux hackers are either english or american. Nobody's running Linux v0.01.

Todd, you might like this scifi novel I read recently: blindsight by peter watts. It's helped convince me that self-awareness is actually detrimental to the survival of our species.

Plus the sky is on fire.

-Steve J.

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