"WHO KILLED THE DISNEYLAND DREAM"
There follows a home movie that made it into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, which means it is deemed to be of national historical significance. I had seen it before and was mesmerized by it. First of all it is a very well done "home movie" considering it was done with a Super 8 film camera like my Dad used back then. Second, it is truly revealing of the economic faith and idealism that motivated almost all Americans: the good old "American Dream." I remember it very well because I am a young baby boomer and lived through much of the ensuing period.
For too many reasons, that faith and idealism has settled into a suspended state of collective unrealism. We are caught in a drunken national stupor. We are unable to collectively admit the direness of our economic situation and what is necessary to turn it around.
Moreover, our corrupt leadership is unwilling to put the finger on the culprits that have packed us off to global Palookaville.
Frank Rich reminded me of the film and wrote a superb editorial on this theme in today's NYT. I recommend you all read it and watch the film. He really hits it on the nail with this quote:
"How many middle-class Americans now believe that the sky is the limit if they work hard enough? How many trust capitalism to give them a fair shake? Middle-class income started to flatten in the 1970s and has stagnated ever since. While 3M has continued to prosper, many other companies that actually make things (and at times innovative things) have been devalued, looted or destroyed by a financial industry whose biggest innovation in 20 years, in the verdict of the former Fed chairman Paul Volcker, has been the cash machine.
It’s a measure of how rapidly our economic order has shifted that nearly a quarter of the 400 wealthiest people in America on this year’s Forbes list make their fortunes from financial services, more than three times as many as in the first Forbes 400 in 1982. Many of America’s best young minds now invent derivatives, not Disneylands, because that’s where the action has been, and still is, two years after the crash. In 2010, our system incentivizes high-stakes gambling — “this business of securitizing things that didn’t even exist in the first place,” as Calvin Trillin memorably wrote last year — rather than the rebooting and rebuilding of America.
In last week’s exultant preholiday press conference, Obama called for a “thriving, booming middle class, where everybody’s got a shot at the American dream.” But it will take much more than rhetorical Scotch tape to bring that back."
At this point I am really feeling ripped off...and as each day passes, I am feeling more and more pissed off that all of the scumbags that made and are still making this sad state of affairs possible, are allowed to run freely and laugh at all of us in the comfortable confines of their publicly subsidized mini-homelands.
I can't help but wonder if the kids in the film are felling the same way I do right now.
As for those other swindling scumbags, they have my sincerest holiday wish:
Happy "Fuck You" to You in 2011!
[Link to: Frank Rich Editorial ]
Here is another interesting film clip from the NY World's Fair in 1964. The same mood of boundless potential is evoked. A mood that was clearly evident in this year's Shanghai Expo as well as on Wall Street.