Alito, Wal-Mart, Greed and Lust
Eros Day is over, and we’re back to everyday living in a land that is sinking deeper and deeper into a Constitutional crisis, repression, regression and Perma-War. The Republican majority team is paralyzed by its commitment to support our rogue president no matter what his crimes, and the Democrats are, for the most part, no help at all.
And yet, this is our country too, and if we give a god-or-goddess-damn, we better step up to our various plates and do our parts to save our freedoms, if not our *way of life.* So in addition to my usually ranting bloggamies herein, this afternoon, I called Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office and told her to do whatever it took to try to stop Judge Samuel Wipe-My-Christian-Elitist-Ass-with-the-Constitution Alito from becoming the new Uber-Law of the Land. A sweet girly voice took my zip code and (I think) registered my viewpoint. I then tried to call Barbara Boxer, but her line was busy for hours; I’m hoping it was tied up with people like me exhorting her to get with the resistance and do the F-word: Filibuster.
I hope it wasn’t really Babs leaving her phones off the hook, quivering in the rest room with one thumb in her mouths and the other up her tuchass, trying not to deal with the fact that she needs to put on her Boxing Gloves and her Boxer Shorts (I bet she’d look cute in boxers), and fight hard right now for the future of America’s freedoms. I do sincerely hope and believe her line is perpetually busy because she is getting inundated with calls of support, and I have faith that Boxing Barb will join the filibuster.
If she doesn’t, and if these dawdling Dems can’t get it together to stand up for something against the Bushites, then maybe I will move back to Cannes.
Meanwhile, we at the Speakeasy are trying to do our bit to call attention to the Goliaths of corporate greed and injustice (who also happen to be big supporters of the Bushites), and tonight we are hosting a private screening of Robert Greenwald’s critically acclaimed muckraker grassroots blockbuster movie “Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices.” Not only will we watch the movie (in the bar, of course), but Robert Greenwald himself will be here for a Q&A after the movie (then, after the movie, we’ll party down for Kim’s b-day!)
I’ve known Robert for over 20 years, since we met at the house of then-publisher of the LA Weekly, Jay Levin. At the time, Robert was making TV movies with a social conscience, and had just directed the legendary Farrah Fawcett telefilm “The Burning Bed” (1984) about real-life battered housewife Francine Hughes, who was prosecuted in 1977 for dousing her abusive husband with gasoline and setting him on fire as he slept. Since then, he’s directed many Hollywood movies with stars like Russell Crowe and Salma Hayeck. But in the past few years, he’s stepped beyond the Hollywood mold and mixed Internet-oriented documentary filmmaking with leftist political issues, becoming what Variety calls “The Upton Sinclair of Cyber-Age Cinema.” Before “Wal-Mart,” he produced and directed “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism” (2004),” “Uncovered: The Iraq War” (2003), and produced “Unconstitutional: The War on Civil Liberties,” (2004) and “Unprecedented: The 2000 Presidential Election” (2002).
In “Wal-Mart,” Greenwald takes on America’s largest retailer and biggest employer, exposing their nefarious business practices, from how they mistreat their employees to how they mis-run their parking lots, all in the name of greed.
Ah, greed, also known as avarice, the desire to accumulate, well, stuff. Medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas said of Greed: “it is a sin directly against one’s neighbor, since one man cannot over-abound in external riches, without another man lacking them…
The surviving Walton Family – Helen (late Wal-Mart Founder Sam Walton’s widow), Rob, Luke, Jim and Alice Walton (children of Sam and Helen) – are worth a total of over $100 billion. That mind-reeling sum, coupled with their astoundingly chintzy business practices, certainly make the Walton Family the epitome of all-American GREED (that’s Family Values for you. Walton Family Values for the Walton Family). But are the Waltons (big donors to the Bushites) not an exaggerated versions of the rest of us? After all, we Americans love those low low prices (don’t we?), no matter what their “cost” in injustice. We live, therefore we consume. A sexier way to say it is: Born to Shop.
I don’t shop at Wal-Mart, but I have to admit it’s mostly because there isn’t one near the Speakeasy. I love shopping at the wholesale stores in Downtown LA where I can get Melrose Avenue styles for Wal-Mart level prices. They’re all small businesses here, and I feel politically correct about shopping here for that reason. But about 90% of this marvelously cheap stuff is made in China, the rest in India, Thailand, etc., by workers who make $3 a day and live in conditions similar to Wal-Mart’s Chinese factories (though I’ve heard from one of my Downtown sources who gets all his goods from China that Wal-Mart is the worst).
Will I pay more because it’s the right thing to do? Yes, but only if the opportunity to do so is obvious and convenient, and not too-too much more dough. For the most part, I love bargains!
Greed and the desire to save a nickel is only human and especially American. But the Walton Family and the Wal-Mart Monster Corp. have really gone over the top with the Greed. I don’t begrudge them their success or their money, but maybe not soooo much. Obviously, they need to be taken down some pegs, forced to cough up a few of their billions to take care of their employees, and the communities they squash. And the Wal-Mart movie is doing just that, proven by the hysterical reaction to it from Wal-Mart itself.
Hey, it’s not so bad. In Dante’s Inferno, the punishment for greed is to be boiled in oil.
That’s why I say, if you’re going to be sinful, be lustful Down with Greed! Up with Lust! We lustful types, we enjoy our bodily pleasures, and sometimes we overdo it. But as deadly sins go, at least one family’s lust doesn’t tend to harm millions of fellow humans.
Lust also gets you orgasms, if you know what you’re doing. Speaking of which, it’s time for me to get H out of the kitchen and into the shower and the BED for my favorite part of the day: Orgasm Time (as you might imagine, we’ve had quite a lot this week, just enjoying our memories of Eros Day)!
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