Saturday, February 19, 2011

Athletes of Evil

I'm tempted to say that most people do the best they can by their own lights, but I think closer to the truth is that most people are no better than they have to be. At the very least, certainly many people are no better than they have to be. But the crucial question, the question with which I started this blog, is this: are some people evil? Corollary questions include things like when do they become evil? Are we evil in the moment or to the degree we ascribe evil to others?

The fine novelist Richard Price presents a well-researched practical viewpoint on the matter when in Lush Life he has a New York homicide cop reflect upon how most perpetrators are really just sad sacks, morons or fuck-ups bumbling through life in an incidentally lethal way, although even this hardened character allows for the rare existence of what he calls "athletes of evil," those, I suppose, who go the extra mile in brutalizing, bullying and betrayal because it delights them to cause anguish. I'm sure there is this impulse in all of us, perhaps waiting to express itself in the right dovetailing of opportunity and impunity. Most of us never get that opportunity, except in small ways, and even then we're sickened, in retrospect, when we see it lashing at out some especially helpless subordinate -- because we can.

Still, I read of people like Rupert Murdock and the Kock brothers, already richer than anyone should be, the new kings of our age, and I wonder why they feel the need to inflict more pain, to roll back the real moral gains of Western culture, by seeking again to concentrate all the power with the plutocrats. It just seems cartoonishly evil. I suppose this sort of evil arises (like the Inquisition and Nazism) when people become convinced of a higher good that necessitates tormenting the enemies of that good.

This is of course what it's all about in Wisconsin (a Koch brothers subsidiary), as this editorial makes clear. The "budget crisis" is what their Koch-Puppet governor has ginned up to break the unions, a Republican/Free-Marketeer/Know-Nothing wet dream since unions came into being, and what really makes Ronnie Raygun a saint to these people (See under PATCO.) Collective bargaining gives many people countervailing force against the plutocrats, and so naturally the royals want to disband the unions (not just public-employee unions, all unions), divide and conquer.

Anyway, In honor of recent events, and VD's recent passing I composed this little ditty:

Valentine for Washington

Gone the girls of Fourteenth Street
where once the Jills and johns would meet.
Sidewalks crammed back then with whores,
now host bistros, condos, bars.
The girls of then have left The Life,
in fact, or else they’ve gone to wife.
Not to say the trade has died,
but nowadays it has gone inside.
Now it’s on the internet,
where what you see is what get
(– plus a viral lagniappe,
if you fail to safety-wrap):
Latin Lover, Siamese Twins,
Chocolate Maxi, Nordic Sin,
naughty nanny/dirty diaper –
here it’s called the “David Vitter.”
Others who once walked the streets
gave it up; they can’t compete.
Now the black-robed ruling class
will cheaply sell its pimpled ass;
Antonin and Clarence T
give it up but not for free,
put Justice’s fine scale in hock
to the wealthy brothers Koch.
The Democrats say who has time
to prosecute such petty crimes?
Barrak O and Eric Holder
don’t see any need to bother.
They “look forward,” never back,
and those crimes happened in the past.
Surely none will steal or torture
any time in the near future.
The blow-up doll has just three holes
but modern pols will pimp their souls,
with oaths that are a waste of breath
like the hooker’s “Yes, love. Yes!”
They sell the future for loose change
called on K Street “making rain,”
don the kneepads for the rich
and play the role of prison bitch.


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