“[It] may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS... Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now?… The money’s rolling in and this is fun…. I’ve never seen anything like this, and this is going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going. Donald’s place in this election is a good thing.”
How angry does that make you? My reaction, when I first saw this, in an article by Michael Tomasky in The New York Review of Books (the quote has gone viral, of course), was a grumpily amused so what else is new?
Then, in today’s New York Times, there was an article about Atlantic City’s impending bankruptcy, which now seems inevitable thanks to Governor Chris Christie’s promise to veto an Atlantic City relief bill. “The city’s government is on the verge of running out of money, even after persuading its employees to defer their paychecks for four weeks,” according to The Times.
Imagine Al Infree, the owner of Big Al’s Easy Loan, telling ACPLAC (the Atlantic City Payday Loan Association Convention):
“Bankruptcy may not be good for Atlantic City, but it’s damn good for Big Al’s Easy Loan... Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now?… The money’s rolling in and this is fun…. I’ve never seen anything like this, and this is going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Chris. Keep going. The city’s bankruptcy is a good thing.”
Another story, reported on The Nation’s website and elsewhere, revealed that the cluster bombs being used by the Saudis against Yemeni civilians, were made in the United States.
Imagine Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the one-ton GBU-31 satellite-guided bombs used in Yemen, telling a dinner party of BOMBU (Bomb Ordnance Manufacturers Brotherhood United) members:
“The civil war may not be good for Yemen, but it’s damn good for Lockheed Martin... Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now?… The money’s rolling in and this is fun…. I’ve never seen anything like this, and this is going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, King Salman. Keep going. The Saudi bombing in Yemen is a good thing.”
If remarks like these were to get out, Big Al would be drummed out of the Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce and Marillyn Hewson would lose her job. Why does Les Moonves get a pass? Why do we think it’s some sort of joke?
Arguably, Moonves is more evil than our imaginary Big Al and the all too real Marillyn Hewson. After all, Big Al and Ms. Hewson are not responsible for Atlantic City’s and Yemen’s troubles – they only are taking advantage of them. Moonves and other media moguls are responsible for the Trump electoral phenomenon. And – here’s the thing – they know, or at least Moonves knows, that pumping up the Trump hysteria is “not good for the country.”
The fact that “it’s not good for the country” means nothing to Moonves, it’s collateral damage. What counts is the amount of money that CBS is raking in.
There is a letter from a reader, Glen Handler, in today’s New York Times, which is the Drapers Guild’s quotation of the day, but which I’ll copy here:
The founder of the Vanguard Group, John C. Bogle, told the following story in a 2007 commencement speech: “At a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island, the late Kurt Vonnegut informs his pal, the author Joseph Heller, that their host, a hedge fund manager, had made more money in a single day than Heller had earned from his wildly popular novel ‘Catch-22’ over its whole history. Heller responds, ‘Yes, but I have something he will never have . . . Enough.’ ”
The sooner our society recognizes sociopathic greed as the economically violent, destabilizing disorder it truly is, the better off and more stable the world will be.
“Sociopathic greed.” Thank you, Mr. Handler, for a great diagnosis.
The Drapers Guild has set up a crowdfunding site for Les Moonves, who is a victim of this terrible malady. Please be compassionate.