In a comment on my last post, in answer to my question asking where all the people had gone who could actually fix real problems, Mark Hobson (The Landscapist) quoted one of my favorite old musical groups – Dire Straits. More specifically, he referenced one of their songs (Money for Nothing). What Mark said was this –
“Making money-for-nothing is way easier and way more profitable than making it by putting men on the moon, or being a doctor, or developing alternative energy solutions, or running a business that actually makes something tangible, or ….
and, did I mention that you also get your chicks for free?”
To which I can add………absolutely nothing. He’s dead right. Well, I don’t know about the “chicks for free” part, but everything else he’s pretty much nailed. We can’t fix things – like leaking oil wells in the middle of the Gulf – because we don’t do those kinds of things anymore. We seem to have learned how to screw things up royally, but once screwed up, we can’t “unscrew” them. According to the latest news, a major part of BP’s disaster contingency plan involved “handling” the media. They didn’t have a clue about what to actually do to fix it. To make it stop leaking. Yeah, good luck with that plan.
And we certainly don’t “make” a whole lot of stuff in this country anymore. We do banking stuff and healthcare stuff and fast-food stuff. Oh, and we do off-shore drilling, too. All of which is making a few people very rich and killing the rest of us.
Clearly, Dire Straits was on to something. In 1985, no less. That’s when that song appeared on their Brothers In Arms album. Not to be outdone, another favorite artist of mine – John Mellencamp – put out an album called Scarecrow that same year. With the same kind of message. In “Rain on the Scarecrow, Blood on the Plow” Mellencamp bemoans the plight of the American farmer, perhaps the first victim of our “new” culture.
So if these guys could see what was happening, why couldn’t we? We loved the music, I guess, but failed to get the message. As a country, we’re still not getting it. A recent poll revealed that most people thought that the oil leak story was important, but over 50% of those polled didn’t think that they could do anything about it. Most will soon forget about it all together. They don’t know – or don’t want to know – that the effects will last for years. Some of the damage may never be undone.
Oh hell, gas up the Hummer. We’re going to the mall to buy some new clothes (made in Laos) and maybe a new flat panel TV (made in Taiwan). Then we’ll go to McDonald’s and buy some Big Macs and fries – made right here in the good old U. S. A.!