The Racket #30: GREED
Poster by Cody Pate
May 23 - adobe books - 7pm
Greed's a funny thing these days. At top of the pyramid we've got the common perception of avarice: the ultra-rich, the mustache twirling swindlers who've raised themselves to the top of the universe on the blood, sweat and hopes of pure, unfettered human currency. It's a green ceiling that swings and sways so far above all of us on the ground level and below it doesn't look like we're staring at anything but the bright, blue sky until we run head first into it like a freshly cleaned window.
On the other hand, as the gap between the haves and have nots has stretched into the grandest of canyons, us here in the profoundly warped realm of "normal living" have pushed back on systemic greed with a greed all our own. As if the not-too-recent realization that our world is a steamship plowing along on a river of greenbacks has suddenly sharpened and in response we've all made a decision to foster our own little manageable nuggets of greed.
As the edges of the economic gap pull wide like a leering smile, so many of us have decided that the only solution is to turn inward, eschew the seemingly outdated notion of community and charity in favor of us doing us, of treating ourselves, of living for the moment if the moment only features us as the star of the show. It is, frankly, a byproduct of technological dependence and the ability to disconnect at any given time, any given moment at even the slightest hint of uncomfortable. It is certainly that we are awash in content - professional, amateur, original, remade - and the path towards connection so often leads through the societal obligation to watch it all and the watch it again and then watch the highlight show so we can talk about in the morning.
Or could it be that our telephones and our internet masters have given us not just the ability to share every moment with every single person, but to absorb ourselves in this form of vanity without judgement. We can turn the camera on the smallest moment of every single day (hell, the smallest moment of our cat's day) and blast out these micro-recordings to an audience that we used to call our friends and family. We are living brands not because we have to be, not because we need to be, but because we want to be and in wanting to be we have convinced ourselves that we need to be.
This unruly mass of 8 billion human beings is quickly turning into an archipelago of flesh and bones decked out in a thin sheet of ones and zeros.
We don't want to sound entirely like nattering old people shaking their fingers at the youth and their fancy telephones, but it can feel like the world is pulling apart at seams that weren't terribly strong to begin with. That the greed up top has weakened the bonds down below and we are letting them grow more and more brittle until they snap and all of us are just out here on our own getting sucked through the holes, our eyes wide-eyed and glued on our second cousin's newest update.
We want to say, "take some time for yourself" or "find your special place" as a teeth-gritted smile of a solution, a peach colored bow on this bleak scree of an essay, but it feels like everyone's already pretty adept at doing that. So maybe, find some time for someone else, or find a special place and then go there with a group of your friends and talk and talk and talk and have a drink and smoke a pack of cigarettes and fight or fuck and smell bad and cringe at an awkward statement and just enjoy the tiny cosmic spin of a reality that exists outside of your own head.