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Monday, November 11, 2019

Words For The Ages, Line Twelve

"With, without - and who'll deny that's what the fighting's all about?"

With the gap in the U.S. between richest and poorest being wider today than it's been since our first Gilded Age, the words above - from Us and Them - clearly qualify as words for the ages. Notably, Roger Waters wrote that prescient lyric back in 1973. It would be years before Michael Milken - the reprobate Oliver Stone used as his model for "Greed is good" Gordon Gekko in Wall Street - went to jail for his role in robbing people of their life's savings via the worthless junk bonds he was peddling at the time. And Occupy Wall Street came long after that; Dark Side of the Moon had already been on the "classic" rock stations for decades by then. Waters was clearly ahead of the curve.

But, the more things change … I recently read a NY Times article about the now rising fortunes of Milken - back in the financial field, of all places - and wondered: Did that turd ever apologize to a single person whose financial future he ruthlessly sullied in the 1980s? I doubt it. My soon-to-be-released re-write of Dante's Inferno will place people like Milken and Bernie Madoff in the ring of hell Dante reserved for flatterers. Recall the way Dante envisioned those folks suffering for eternity? Clue: It involved excrement.   

"Somehow, big banks lose billions and wreck people's savings and retirement accounts, yet their plutocrat executives still take home obscene bonuses. You don't have to be an economics major to recognize that something here does not compute."

Because those two sentences are not a terse lyric, they don't mesh with the eleven earlier iterations in my words-for-the-ages series. But reading those words in Michael Dirda's essay Rocky Mountain Low (2015) made me yearn for an opportunity to introduce him to Rogers Waters. I'm sure the two of them would find other common ground. How I'd love to be part of their conversation and tell them about my Dante re-write. I suspect they'd both approve.

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