Monthly Archives: May 2012

Austerity Measures

“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” – John Steinbeck

America is where the word swagger was culturally too long to pronounce, and Americans marketed themselves with the word swag in self offense. Where the idea of a billion dollars, more than the net worth of a life by all insurance standards, is feasible because the billionaires of the world earned their money, like our parents cleaning houses, raising children, delivering packages, selling clothes, typing documents, nursing the sick; except smarter, with better connections, or simple birth rights of pompous extravagance that we can relate to through mass media – they eat food just like me! The concept of a single person amassing more material wealth than families earn over lifetimes, solely due to the contributed proliferation of our personal information, seems to resonate well.

For some perspective, let’s use a fictional class of forty students, each student’s parents miraculously make $250,000 EACH for some 50 years; I apologize in advance for having you think about this. 40 Students * 2 Parents * $250,000 Annual Income * 50 Years equals $1,000,000,000 combined earnings over the working lifetime of forty families; then consider Mark Zuckerberg sold $1,100,000,000 of Facebook stock … to pay taxes.

More of our money is spent on protecting wealthy interests than education, and the gap widens by all accounts through effective policies of rhetoric. Ask any person about austerity measures, then compare their response to policies of deficit-cutting by lowering spending via a reduction in the amount of benefits and public services provided; people may not be aware that schools, hospitals, and assistance besides food stamps and welfare constitute benefits and public services. The austerity with which wealthy public officials, otherwise known as all public officials, trample upon the majority is not the problem, the problem is the majority’s austere response, like this is supposed to happen, because it is.

To simultaneously amuse myself with outgoing statistics, and draw the passive paranoid with search keywords, here are some conspiracy theories to dumb down the discussion … Zeitgiest! Government Weather Control! Illuminati!

The Cleveland Show

Cleveland Brown was originally a frequently recurring character on Family Guy before being inexplicably spun-off onto his own show, The Cleveland Show. Metacritic’s aggregated scores lists The Cleveland Show as Seth McFarlane’s worst creation, the humor is terribly ambiguous, and its attempts to stray from racial conflict veers in the opposite direction, easily crossing into a campaign of token stereotypes. To be frank, Cleveland Brown does not actually have any brown friends, celebrities withstanding, because animated celebrities will befriend anyone for a paycheck; therein lies the whole premise, if you show and tell Reagan Gomez and Kevin Michael Richardson, can you then credit primetime with diversity? It’s when you factor in the minds, from the Executive Producers Seth McFarlane, Richard Appel, and Mike Henry, the voice of Cleveland Brown himself, to Producer Kara Vallow, that these cultural discrepancies appear appropriately scripted. So far as I can Google, writers included, The Cleveland Show chronicles the lives of an African American family from the comedic perspective of anyone but an African American, which is entertaining in its own right, so long as you know that’s exactly what it is.