Our Country's Financial Crisis: A Rant :)

Today I happened to hear two radio hosts discussing a recent film about the financial crisis in America (and, really, the world). I think (but am not positive) that they were discussing the new Wall Street movie. I have seen it and, though it moves a bit slowly at times, it is a good film.

These hosts, however, were discussing the topic of the financial crisis and saying that the movie (whatever it was) just proved that it was the corrupt people on Wall Street that did this to America. Now, yes, there are corrupt people on Wall Street. But, if they were discussing the recent movie (as I suspect) or even if they weren't, we cannot, as Americans, simply blame the people on Wall Street. The new movie clearly indicates that, at core, the problem has to do with all of us--with our approach to life and wealth and status and material goods. The same thing comes up in Eat, Pray, Love--even though I have big issues with that film (see earlier blog post).

This crisis has been building for years. We have all been too greedy, too expectant of instant success and fulfillment, too eager to find an easy way out. None of this is going away any time soon. As a country and as individuals, we have to reset our brains and our expectations. However, I don't see this happening...and, because of that, things are only getting worse. I mean, in a society where the Jersey Shore cast makes more than enough money in one season to pay off my student loans and set me up in a nice apartment...well, something is very wrong.

We value "nothingness" more than any country in the world. Celebrity is based on "nothingness" now. It isn't based on skill or talent...and, the fact that "celebrity" itself is a goal...ugh. Don't get me started. Where is the art? The thought? The beauty? It is out there, but it is like Hardy's "Darkling Thrush" (see poem: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15506). In this poem, the bird is singing his last song as the nineteenth century dies out and the twentieth century rolls in. Basically, he is the last bastion of art and beauty and the old world dying out as the dying new world takes over. He is losing his feathers but sings as strongly as he can, even as he is dying in a world that he doesn't belong in--a world that is "The Century's corpse outleant" (10).

I love that poem. I also despise it, because I know that Hardy is exactly right. There are good artists and good people out there--people who seek to create for the long term. But they are few and far between, and they seem to be dying out in favor of blaming others or looking for the easy way out.


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