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September 18, 2005


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I've been thinking about this problem liberals have, Joe. There's a market niche to be exploited. It's a given that the dominant males have already made up their minds before they consult. What they're doing is running a coercive focus group. It's not done to see how things will fly with certain demographcis as much as it is to shape them into alpha consumers. Ordinarily, I'd say that's a good thing. But there's room here for people who may choose to display some conviction. They might need to show a little integrity, or whatever, as a career move.

It's a given that any criticism they make, no matter how mealy mouthed, and any suggestions they make, no matter how carefully couched, are either going to be spun to their disadvantage or taken as approbation for whatever the dominant males plan to do regardless. In these circumstances, it might be wise to sacrifice a little access. The one thing bull goose types can't stand is to be exposed as cretins. And the way to do that is with carefully couched satire.

When ethnic cleansing is what the bull goose has in mind, why not pander to that in increasingly outrageous ways? Offer him justifications just this side of the pale, until he bites, and then let rip with a dramatic plea to cleanse. Maybe someone could set up a web-based training program. . .

Well all is well that ends will, Tigg. The Independent Sector should court government and funders both on behalf of the poor. Someone has to pick up the slack as social services are cut. As the slums are cleared in New Orleans, a few bucks will have to be found to buy one way bus tickets for the displaced citizens and to cover the cost of a few meals. After that the primary sector, business, will work its magic.

When I speak with liberals about poverty, I'll sometimes hear them ascribe great moral qualities to the poor. They might take the opportunity to remind me that the poor give a larger percentage of their income to charity than rich people, or that low-income people tend to align with social justice causes. I wonder if this strange stereotyping has held back efforts on behalf of the poor -- after all, it's only a matter of time before people discover that poor and rich alike are generally not very nice. Does this discovery then dampen their zeal to fight poverty? We need to teach this truth more broadly: that you don't have to like the poor to believe they deserve just treatment. I worry especially about attempts to counter negative TV images of the poor with equally unrepresentative images of discalced inner-city saints. Perhaps the myth is necessary, I don't know.

Phil A, good point. Justice and human rights are not a reward for good behavior.

I was accused of that tendency once as a young man in my sexual prime. The best I could come up with between wanks was that the poor, out of necessity, were more resourceful. Making the most from the least, that's intriguing. Making a small fortune from a large one -- not so much.Perhaps their resourcefulness is just more earthy. Have you ever tried fucking something with absolutely no scent? Positively numbs the nuts. The rich aim for this condition. The poor cannot help but stink.

Hey, you, dudes with the gold vests, what is the most *interesting* rich-to-richer story you have known/heard? Bill Gates went from rich to richer, I guess, but the story is so fucking dull. Regale me.

Riches to riches stories.

Phil A,

How do we counter bleeding hearts? I like your phrase, inner city saints. People of all walks of life simply do what needs to be done. Just like people who attempt to put me up on a pedestal because I have a handicapped daughter. What's problematic is when they discover their idol has clay feet. I'd rather be considered a human being, thank you very much, and I suspect that folks who are being kind and decent and compassionate to their fellow human beings and also kicking butt and taking numbers probably feel about the same. Some of us are fiercer in our convictions is all. We're the same as everyone else.

What bothers me about bleeding hearts most of all is a) they feel they need to solve every problem, whether asked to or not and b) they tend to do what immediately feels good. So much is simply cosmetic. It's about image. Look at me. I'm philanthropic. I fear this kind of giving is done out of pity than real, true compassion. And who wants to be on the receiving end of pity? I certainly don't.

There are many people who give from impure motives. In general, I still think it's better to give for the reasons they do than for the reasons many people don't. The master fundraisers understand the psychological aspects of giving. They're completely mercenary about profiling would-be donors so they can make the most effective "ask." They know, for example, that a certain donor is motivated by adulation while another gives in order to belong to an elite circle. These fundraisers will go to great lengths to mine newspaper articles, the reports of donor family members and friends, and other sources to prepare their psychological profiles, and they'll use this information to flatter or entice. Sounds creepy, but don't the ends justify the means? I don't honestly know.

Assuming the purpose of the fundraising is to get some kind of care for the most vulnerable people, and the care is delivered, then I think it's a lesser evil. It's buying time. If the fundraisers find a better way, but don't use it, then it's straight out immoral.

A good example of an immoral style comes from our own Jason Leary. His techniques and deliberate obtuseness give morality and philosophy a bad name. There's not even the saving grace of materially aiding someone in what he does. Would the fundraisers wish to help this most contemptible of beings, should he need it? Then I would applaud them, though every second clap of my hands would be somewhat flaccid.

A commenter, Indigo Ocean, at Wealth Bondage made a good point about giving in an interesting way. She said "There is virtue in the giver and in the gift." Even a giver who is not virtuous may give a virtuous gift - that helps others, whatever the donor's motives. Her remark sticks in my mind as wisdom and "interpretive charity" combined.

Interesting questions, Harry. Elsewhere we've been discussing the rescue boat scenario. Would you agree to rescue W or some gangbanger or some crack whore or would you let them drown? I think you have to save them, even as you might despise them. Even if they might let you drown, if given half a chance. Beyond being the moral thing to do, it's the ethical thing to do.

I can tell, Phil, without even visiting your blog, that you are in Tutor's real life line of work. So things like compassion, etc. really don't work? Thanks for showing the underbelly of the philanthropy biz. Better you than me, pal. How really distressing. I guess image really is everything.

Exactly, Debbie. There's also a chance one may have been wrong or incomplete in the initial evaluation. Plenty of time to drown them later, after all, and possibly more rewarding.

Lull them into a false sense of security and then...whammo... hit them over the head with the oar. Then toss their senseless body overboard. That'll teach them to trust their fellow man or woman. And then as you motor away you can laugh manically, "So long, sucker!"

How Kind You All Are To Poor Dumb Flipper. What A Gift Your Silence Is. Left To Reflect, He Becomes Less Dimwitted. In The Circle Of Silence, He Learns.

Thank you, Trepan, I like the new meds better, and the intra-cranial applicator is quite handy.

Rich to richer, story, flipper - well, G.W.?

I will reflect on that, sir. He does affect the earthiness, and I expect that (exercised adequately) he may even exude a proper scent. I wonder what he chooses to smell like, which after shave or fabric softener he prefers, for example. I wonder if Laura ever jumps him fresh off his morning run. Some comic said he could imagine Clinton working as a clerk in a 7-11, happily sampling the skank. Which job would George have risen to, I wonder, had he started from rags, in a town called Hope.

He would have made a great salesperson, that is for sure.

Huh. Which part in this film would you cast him in?

I would have cast him as the doughnut.

What? Not as a pretzel?

In the film version there's "Man in Donut Shop" character--sorry, I meant to say, fuck, there's a fucking "Man in Donut Shop" character. I would have cast him as that, but I think the role requires sentience. So pretzel or donut, I don't know. What reads more like a blithering idiot pampered from birth?

Hmmmm. If you don't have enough liquid to wash down a donut, I suppose you could choke on that just as readily as a pretzel And W has been doing a lot of choking these days, dontcha think? I don't think that being born to privilege is gonna help him. Then again, Turdblossom seems to be able to turn anything into a lovely, fragrant rose. Oops, I meant fucking fragrant rose.

Gosh, I hate to be a petty pedant, but shouldn't it be "fragant fucking rose" or, for more brio, "fragrant motherfuckin' rose?

"Fucking fragrant rose" is so laconic and accepting, but the other two affirm the entrepreneurial quality of boosting the bodaciousness of fungible commodities.

Why, you're right, Harry. I simply wasn't thinking.

Been thinking about this vastly under-rated Barry Levinson film lately. Not as brutal as Mamet.

Another fucking good one. &nbspOi! &nbspOi! &nbspOi!

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