I read reviews for restaurants I will never eat in, ballets I will never attend, movies I will never see. You could wonder about the meaning of that. So could I – being a shrink and all. But that’s not the subject of this post.
I was reading this movie review. For a movie I’m sure I’ll never see. Well, ok, “never say never” and all that, but trust me, I see very few. I might go and see that new one by Julie Taymore with Helen Mirren. Because I admire both women. But I digress.
I love the freedom of digressing in a blog…
Ok, back to the review. Something tells me this movie has hit upon a huge fissure in our society. Generational. Ethical. Here’s the quote from the review that piques my interest:
Many older people will watch the movie, which was No. 1 at the box office last weekend, and see a cautionary tale about a callous young man who betrays friends, partners and principles as he hacks his way to lucre and fame. But many in the generation who grew up in a world that Mr. Zuckerberg helped invent will applaud someone who saw his chance and seized it with both hands, mostly by placing them on the keyboard and coding something that no one else had.Yup. I’ll never see the movie but I am an “older people” and I totally identify with the description. Made me wonder about Josh Marshall (closing the Cafe, ejecting the populace, to enhance his brand?)… I hate to say that, but it did. Especially this part:
“When you talk to people afterward, it was as if they were seeing two different films,” said Scott Rudin, one of the producers. “The older audiences see Zuckerberg as a tragic figure who comes out of the film with less of himself than when he went in, while young people see him as completely enhanced, a rock star, who did what he needed to do to protect the thing that he had created.”I know there’s not a huge overlap here. But I think this speaks to a huge ethical gap in how some of us view integrity as a very high principle versus others (yes, I can see myself distancing from “them”) view success and fame and money as the objective and betraying people or principles as simply an unfortunate byproduct or worse, simply inconsequential.
I have no solution. It’s painful to be older and look at young people and see this happening. I wonder if the financial downturn will change things at all or maybe make them worse (worse by my definition of course).
It’s amazing sometimes how you can stay at home and just read the reviews. And there it all is – whether you experienced it personally or not. But even so, you’re affected by it. Well, at least I am: Someone concerned about principles and people. Someone never motivated much by fame or money or status or power. Yes, I’m in the group that’s deeply bothered here. And I’m guessing maybe Josh Marshall, perhaps even unbeknownst to himself, is in this other group.
Update: Here's Paul Krugman a day later. Different topic but same problem:
Arguably, this shouldn’t be surprising. Modern American conservatism is, in large part, a movement shaped by billionaires and their bank accounts, and assured paychecks for the ideologically loyal are an important part of the system. Scientists willing to deny the existence of man-made climate change, economists willing to declare that tax cuts for the rich are essential to growth, strategic thinkers willing to provide rationales for wars of choice, lawyers willing to provide defenses of torture, all can count on support from a network of organizations that may seem independent on the surface but are largely financed by a handful of ultrawealthy families.Money talks. And we've shifted the money to those willing to buy people! People for sale. Public offices for sale. You name it. Sold to to the highest bidder!
Only if enough people are willing to do what's right - for low pay - can we dig ourselves out of this hole! Doctors. Lawyers. Professors. IT people. Electricians. You name it!
Further Update: Ok, just this morning I learn that in China teachers are taking bribes for front seats in classrooms. Apparently failure to pay a bribe puts you in the back seats...
Critique: So part of it is generational. But mostly it's human nature. Greed is the key! (And whether your ethics gets in the way of your greed.)
Updated critique: Right now I'm reading Homer's Iliad and I'm struck by the "lust" for war and women that drives the action, the resentment and rage that fuels feuds, irrational behavior. I wish I had an answer... But all I've got are questions.