We live in a bizarro society where down is up and up is down, integrity and truth are scorned while scams and corruption are lauded.
One of the more idiotic things I've read on a lit-blog was an argument several weeks back that Dave Eggers is helping poor people and thereby redistributing his wealth-- maybe all of it. The person who said this is clearly unable to distinguish a semblance of reality from the cultural fog. (He's never heard of tax shelters.)
All this wealth redistribution going on! Yet nothing changes. The people Eggers helps remain poor while he continues circulating through palaces. One would think with his money gone, he'd not be able to publish The Believer anymore. Yet there it is on bookstore shelves, ad-free. The funding is coming from somewhere! (His many book deals?)
Everything is a pose or a scam. Most egregious of all is Time magazine's celebration of Bill Gates and his wife (with Bono) as Persons of the Year.
A few years ago Gates was engaged in a tremendous contentious fight with the federal government over his monopolistic practices-- was known for his single-minded ruthlessness, typified by his humiliation of fellow billionaire Steven Jobs. Suddenly all is forgotten. Gates truly has some great p.r. people. (They could give Eggers flunkies like Tao Lin lessons.) Even the great magazine Time is a toy in their hands.
Until a few years ago Bill Gates showed no interest in charity-- until he began receiving bad press. What's the price of his philanthropy-- the cost of a few dollars dealt out from his storehouse of abundance? Not paying taxes on $29 billion he's socked away in a foundation? This is called "cashing in"-- has been done in the past by plutocrats named Rockefeller and Ford as a way to hang on to their wealth, lead a lavish lifestyle-- at foundation expense-- and influence society and culture.
Has anything in the world changed one speck from the efforts of Gates and Bono?
Computer printout numbers representing billions of dollars the Third World wasn't able to pay anyway have been written off. Impoverished countries remain in a dependent relationship to world bankers. Standards of living continue to decline. The present world system stands untouched. Bono and Bill Gates are as wealthy as before. They do look preciously noble on the Time magazine cover.