Wealth Does Breed Nastiness

Originally at Pandagon

Thanks to Roy for paying attention to Lileks' continuing mental degradation. Roy wisely realizes that Lileks really is the true representation of the asshole who leans conservative, kind of hates himself for it because even he can tells he's something of an asshole, and then doubles up the grumping in an effort to drown out the voices inside telling him that it doesn't have to be this way. Or that's what I'm telling myself is his disfunction this week.

Anyway, there are few things worse than when Lileks thinks he's being clever, except of course that it's also slightly awesome because it gives you a glimpse into the mind of someone who devotes 75% of his waking hours to rationalization. This review of "There Will Be Blood" tells us much about the mindset of a conservative who has replaced grumping with actual thought.
It kept my attention, and I enjoyed watching it, even though I felt myself disengaging from it by degrees in the last hour. Let's just not tell ourselves that it's a mark of great artistic insight to have the character get more insular and nasty as he gets richer, shall we?
Oooooh, insightful. Next he'll be complaining that lovers in movies look starry-eyed, or that death causes the characters grief. Perhaps the rich in movies are portrayed as nasty and insular for a good reason? Hell, Lileks isn't even rich, but being comfortably middle class has turned him into a person that hunkers down in his home, fearful that post-modernists and hippies are going to kick in his door for an interracial love-in. There are a few rich people who are good and kind, of course, but movies talk either in characters or symbols, and since "There Will Be Blood" was a film heavy with symbolism, it would have been, what's the word?---moronic for the character that symbolized wealthy capitalists to be anything but power-hungry and crazy.

Look, mega-wealth is irrational, and yet it's the source of 95% of the political problems we have nowadays. It doesn't make sense that people who have enough money to live in the lap of luxury should want more all the time, and should do everything to cut taxes and cut corners and tweak the market to get rich quick and cut corners to the tune of something like the Enron scandal. And that's what they do. The logic of mega-wealth is the sort of thing that only springs from nastiness and insularity, a total lack of perspective.

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