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The International Writers Magazine:
The King of Good Taste

Simian Bonds
Dean Borok
Excuse me for stating the obvious, but marriage is for idiots, OK? They fought so hard for gay marriage and now, thank goodness, it’s no longer an intrusive issue for the public. Good. Now gay people can go forward and make the same stupid blunders as straight people, who have a 50% failure rate.

Borok

Most effective marriages are based not on romantic love, but strategic alliances. Hell, in India people get married who don’t even know each other, their marriages arranged by parents who are aiming to achieve long-term interlocking goals. Sure, it creates unhappiness, not to mention homely, dull-witted progeny, but they are not aiming for brilliance, just stable, incremental progress. In the instances where the gods have seen fit to create brilliant, beautiful children to disrupt the process, those children create chaos for a mediocre family unit.

Romantic love is proscribed throughout world culture, from misdirected Hindu love arrows that result in world-wide chaos and destruction to the Trojan Wars. Modern romantic love was created as a showbusiness gimmick by French poets and troubadours who were inspired by cultural currents in Moorish Spain as a way to create wealth and fame for themselves by elevating the status of women from beasts of burden (“mujeres”, which sounds like a donkey of other base barnyard livestock), to “damas”, revered, idyllic goddesses. This has made some artists rich, but it has had riotous consequences (as Cervantes tried to convey in his allegorical parable “Don Quixote”). Men are not so clever, and they are clearly confused by the dichotomy between what they see and what they think they are supposed to be seeing.

Sure, family alliances create grief and tragedy in the hearts of the condemned spouses who, like rhesus monkeys, engage in peripheral dalliances with others than their intended, but romance invariably leads to disaster.

I used to hang out at Cha Cha’s bar on the Coney Island boardwalk after a day at the beach. This bar is analogous to hanging out with the gorillas at the Kongo exhibit in the Bronx Zoo, minus the steel bars. The place, which is now extinct, should have been designated as a freakin wildlife preserve, and I got the photographs to back up this assertion. One of my favorite drinking partners was a semi-moron named Tony, from Borough Park, Brooklyn. Tony was an automobile mechanic and I sort of acted as his confessor, hungry as I was for background color in terms of stealing and grafting. I was working on Wall Street at the time, and considered myself a kind of social anthropologist whose thesis was to connect the dots between the sharply-creased Paul Stuart suits of Broad Street and the grease-infused work shirts of Macdonald Avenue.

Tony didn’t disappoint. He regaled me with fantastic tales of thieving and petty avarice. Like how a customer would leave his car for repair, and the staff would steal the new tires and replace them with blown-out, life-threatening patch-ups. Take it from me, if you go to Brooklyn, stand well back from the curb, because mentally unhinged drivers conducting intentionally sabotaged vehicles can create an injury hazard even for persons walking along the sidewalk.

Tony had life reduced to the basic elements of simplicity, as advocated by the American philosopher Thoreau. He had his job; and apartment in Borough Park within walking distance of his parents, which worked out perfect for laundry purposes among other things; his girlfriend and a good connection for New York Rangers hockey tickets.

Tony also had access to good drugs, since Brooklyn has the best drugs in the world, particularly heroin. He had given up mainlining, he told me, preferring to “skin-pop”, as he referred to it, which gave him a warm feeling without disabling him. Tony told me that in the mornings he would inject a small amount into a fleshy part of his body to fortify himself for a day’s work in the automotive garage.

Tony had an idyllic life near the bottom of the American caste system, a working-class zero. Why anybody would want to louse up a perfectly calibrated arrangement that allowed him to continue leading the life of a jungle beast, I can’t imagine. But people have a way of engineering their own undoing, out of stupidity. That is why I was blindsided when Tony announced to me that he had proposed marriage to Marie and she had accepted. I immediately reflected on my own past experiences with women and those of my friends and advised him not to go through with the union.
“It’s none of my business, Tony, but why would you want to louse up a perfectly good arrangement by getting married?”
“Marie is always at my house anyway. This way I won’t have to drive her home. Anyway, I’m not like you. I’m still young. This way, if I get horny, I’ll just have to roll over and I’ll have her around all the time.” That’s the bottom line, of course. Tony wanted EZ Pass access to Marie’s sexual favors.

It’s an alluring concept, but it comes with a steep cost. Tony married Marie. She immediately became pregnant and she needed expensive dental work. Pretty soon Tony, instead of driving around in a supercharged Chevy with a thick wad of cash on him, was driving a Toyota sedan and no money, like a working stiff.
“I should have listened to you”, he lamented.

Naturally, no more heroin in the mornings before work. Instead, he ate breakfast with the TV morning show blaring in one ear and Marie blaring in the other.

Finally, they decided to move into the basement of Tony’s parents’ house to save money, and so that his mother would help out with the baby. As a result of an ill-advised desire to establish dominion over Marie’s indisputable physical charms, Tony experienced financial ruin and an irreversible contraction of his lifestyle.

Human motivations being more or less universal, it’s possible to draw large conclusions from small events, or what reason would there be for anthropology? Tony married Marie for reasons of sexual convenience without considering the larger aspects of the situation and ended up dragging down everybody concerned. One reason that arranged marriages, including the intervention of astrologers, are still prevalent in India is because marriages are considered to be too important to be left to the principals, like the old saw about war being too important to be left to the generals. Marriage between idiots produces more idiots and, in a twist on Malthus, there are never going to be enough jobs created to support an ever-expanding pool of indolent, lout-mouth incontinent half-wits.

Similarly, companies merge for reasons of economy of scale, only to discover that the coupling was ill-conceived. Nations too. One time this kid showed me a book detailing how the USSR was doomed to shatter and I laughed it off. Less than twenty years later, it happened.
What constitutes a successful marriage between countries? If you take the practical view, the answer would be a convergence of interests and outlook. France and Germany have each entertained the ambition of consolidating and leading a united Europe, but have long stymied each other’s attempts, like an epic version of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”, minus the laffs, until they finally were able to put in place a system that would enable them to work together to dominate the rest of Europe. Basically, that’s what the European Union is, French diplomacy combined with German industrial power, uniting the world’s largest economic unit, the EU, encompassing a geographical region extending from Spain to the Balkans and governed from Brussels, which is midway between – France and Germany.

For a country to become expansionist it first needs to be unified, which the French achieved in the seventeenth century under Louis XIV, giving that country a two century advantage over Germany. The rise of the industrial age rendered world imperialism redundant because impoverished colonial economies were too poor to provide markets for expensive industrial products, which is why the focus for expansion fell onto Europe. French expansionism in Europe under Napoleon was an inadvertent consequence of his need to safeguard the French Revolution from the continued attacks of the European monarchies, but it was the continuation of a historical evolution that had manifested itself much earlier. German unity adhered to a similar design.

Both France and Germany, having repeatedly failed to achieve European hegemony by force of arms, decided to unite after World War II, to avoid further mutual annihilation, but mainly because French President Charles de Gaulle, who conceived the concept, was able to convince German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer of its utility. A United States of Europe, with a common currency, no tariff barriers and free movement of peoples to facilitate industrial expansion was the goal.

Up to the current economic difficulties, Germany was very happy with this arrangement. Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Greece, etc. provided excellent customers for German manufactured products, including the infrastructure equalization grants that were provided to those countries, which they tended to spend for German products anyway, so the German contributions to these funds came back to them.

Surely, the Germans were totally aware of all the stealing that was going on in those countries, but they turned a blind eye to all of it because all of that stolen money was finding its way back to Germany as payment for German cars, machinery and everything else. In addition, German banks became very comfortable laying off a lot of these profits back to the same countries at very high rates of interest. If the economy had continued to expand, this happy arrangement would still be going on but, as they say, when the tide recedes you find out who has been swimming without a bathing suit.

This whole European experience has been a wet dream for theoretical economists, a never-ending Monopoly game of fancy –colored money. But it can’t mask the fact that a lot of the countries that are being rushed into the EU simply do not have the wherewithal to participate in a modern economic unit. When you marry Greece into the system, you are inhabiting all its historical and cultural difficulties, like “Tony inheriting Marie’s dental expenses", which are a real economic drain. Even after billions of euros allotted to Portugal, many Portuguese are functionally illiterate and not able to fill modern industrial jobs (the same is increasingly being said about Americans but that’s another story).

Nobody wants to confront reality. That’s why everybody is on Prozac. The only solution is for the European Central Bank to print more euros and throw open the monetary sluice gates to increase liquidity and prop up the bond market. The Germans are against that. They want to keep the euro high so they can keep all the wealth they gained when times were good. It’s not possible. Even a couple of pineapple-heads like Tony and Marie figured that out.

The euro is way overvalued, considering the state of a lot of the weak sisters they admitted into the European Union in their drive to create a large market. It’s now trading at around $1.30 USD, down from its high at almost $1.50 USD. Maybe it would be more stable at parity with the dollar, or even less.

Whatever happens, Germany is stuck with the euro. Germany is so integrated into Europe that no other alternative is even imaginable. They own trillions in hedges, complicated structured finance products and bonds denominated in euros. Germany’s addiction to the euro is much more enduring than Tony’s youthful attachment to heroin, which he cut out. The economist hasn’t been born who can conceive a German exit from the euro, even if that currency were to sink to half its present value.

The system is moving too fast for our simian brains to keep up with it. People are applying ancient formulas to digital, space-age problems, and falling short. The Mayan calendar holds that the end of the world is predicted for next year (Dec 21st) . Maybe we are about to find out why all those huge Mayan cities in the jungle became extinct.

© Dean Borok Dec 14th 2011
deanyorkave@yahoo.com

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