Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Life Without Cable

The TV set is dormant and I miss it only slightly. I realize that its presence in the home is insidious. If you grew up with it, you miss it, even if you never see it.
As you know, darlings, I decided to forgo cable TV in favor of Hulu, where I can see TV shows, just not on the date they aired. Fine by me. I will be saving more than $90 a month. What took me so long?
So far, I've enjoyed episodes of The Office, The Daily Show, 30 Rock, Arrested Development, etc.
I also saw the Frontline report on Bernard Madoff and how he came up with the biggest Ponzi scheme in history.
My conclusion is not that people are greedy (foregone). It's that this guy fooled everyone with his status (and those made up statements, of course). It's that the secrecy he imposed, instead of smelling fishy as it should have, seemed to confer a whiff of exclusivity (of "making it") which led everyone to their doom.
The people who worked at the SEC and did absolutely nothing when more than one whistleblower came in waving humongous red flags, those people should be in the same cell with Madoff. They absolved him. As if they could not believe such a rich and important man capable of such a thing, even in the face of damning evidence.
These people simply were star struck by his money making abilities.
It is also true that the SEC is an understaffed and overwhelmed bureaucratic mess and, according to someone I met who used to work there, people there have no incentive to do their jobs. They are like bureaucrats at the DMV. They go home at 5 o'clock. An investigation into Madoff's practices would have required a kind of effort nobody was willing to make. It's revolting. Even more revolting is that yenta that, looking to cash in on everybody's misfortune, or to exact revenge for the losses she and her organization sustained, came out with a book detailing her affair with Madoff.  Nobody has any dignity anymore.
Listen, I like money as much as the next guy. As I've said before, I like it so much, I'd love to adopt it, but there is something disgusting about this mindless adoration of wealth and status.
This week's Vanity Fair (how I hate this longwinded, vulgar magazine) lists the 100 most powerful people in the media today. With great fanfare, it dubs them The New Establishment. To give you an idea, at number one, sits none other than Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs. At number two, Steve Jobs (as evil as they are with their planned obsolence, I have to say Apple deserves to be on this list. I love all my iGadgets.) However, most of the list seems to be made up of greedy bastards, amoral Hollywood peddlers of schlock and Graydon Carter's friends. Brangelina? Michael Bay? Why are these morally debased people considered powerful? There is an amazing lack of fresh blood in this list. It's utterly irrelevant. Oprah? Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks? Old hat, I say, who cares about their millions?
There are other people and forces out there changing the way people live. But America really only worships one God and that is the Almighty Dollar. Quel dommage. 

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