WESTWORLD MEETS WALL STREET AT THE NOT OK CORRAL

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First: You say you want the country run like a business? Do you mean like the one that laid you off, poisoned a town or raises prices ten-fold simply for greed or just because it can?

Imagine a country where everyone must obey the mayor, who must obey the governor who, in turn, must obey the president; where none of these official were elected, where they all cheated, lied and licked there way up the chain of command. Imagine a country not beholden to its citizens but to a small group of aliens, a country where the citizens are treated like resources to be exploited then discarded; and a country where the citizens have no “certain unalienable rights” and can be exiled, or worse by any of the above authorities on a whim, with no appeal allowed.

I bet you’d call this country an authoritarian dictatorship, but doesn’t it also describe the way a typical corporation works? Are you really sure you want “your” country run this way?

Now this: In the 1969 western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, a hole-in-the-wall gangster seeking a regime change via knife fight states “Rules? In a knife fight? No rules!” and is immediately kicked in the nuts by his adversary. A parable for the “normal” politics-as-a-knife-fight metaphor, yes?

The film suggested that entertainment value can trump [I wish there was another word I could use] truth value: a selfish thief is redeemed—in some camps—because he is fun to watch. But a selfish thief he remains, and in the movie he pays up. However, in our corporate/political kleptocracy a thief can get away with such crimes—become a President, even—as long as he remains entertaining.

A meta-analysis: Imagine the film as a fantasy of such a thief, not thinking through the denouement, instead he concentrates on the growing ever more glorious opportunities to binge feed his ego. But in the real world, his pleadings attract “admirers” who are really pragmatic opportunistic predators who see him as fool useful in making their, not his, fantasies real.

But it does remains possible that the loss and lies he leaves will not all be brushed away and the novelty of his act will wear thin, allowing us to eventually figure out that this spectacle is not just a media event, and that those aren’t rain drops falling on our heads. But the damage will have been done. And unless we the [fractured] people heal—not heel—it’ll probably be too late to fix it. Sad. For us.

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