I am of the belief that there are no ethical billionaires. As it stands in our current time and economy, there simply is no way for someone to accumulate that much money without having participated in unjust labor practices and underpaying employees. This also means that no existing billionaires made it to that mark ethically.
Now, I could go on for a very long time about wealth redistribution and why we should be taxing the life out of the 1%, but I’m tired. I’ve seen enough terrible things happening in the news this week that I don’t want to write a downer article, so instead, today I’ll be taking up one of my other bones to pick with the rich.
Why are they so boring?
The Roman poet Juvenal said, “Give them bread and circuses and they will never revolt,” referring to common people such as you and I. This has its problems, but once again, that’s not my issue today. Rather, I’m mad that we don’t have bread or circuses.
We are entering a huge economic recession, and the prices of basic groceries are skyrocketing as pay remains stagnant. I can only afford eggs right now because my parents’ neighbors keep chickens. So there goes bread.
And as for circuses, absolutely zero billionaires are doing anything fun with their ill-gotten gains. Elon Musk is busily disassembling Twitter, which is now basically unusable, and Jeff Bezos just finished his $500 million yacht – which is ugly, by the way. These things are presumably fun for them, but if they’re going to hoard wealth then they might as well treat their lives like the spectator sport they are. I think it’s a reasonable trade – at least interest me if you’re going to swim in money like Scrooge McDuck while the economy crumbles.
There are a lot of things that I would like to do but can’t because of the cost. I think it would be really fun to open super niche museums, put on insane experimental theater, or even indulge in more selfish delights – like shell out a couple million to revive my favorite Broadway shows, or film a perfect shot-by-shot remake of The Matrix with the addition of me as a character, who gets to kiss Keanu Reeves. Or – and I can only pray that one day God allows me to have this – finally get a Trader Joe’s up here in Fargo. I should not have to drive to Minneapolis for those delectable, delectable dark chocolate-covered caramels.
Not all of these aspirations are as lofty and altruistic as I’d like to pretend I am by nature. But my God, they would be funny. Billionaires aren’t dedicating their time to a charity or making the world a better place – which they should be. But what makes it just a little worse – a twisting of the metaphorical knife – is that they are the most boring tyrants in the history of the Earth.
I don’t think we should bring back gladiator combat or anything like that. I just think billionaires should be a little more eccentric and a little more fun to watch as they burn through money like kindling. I genuinely believe that if supervillains existed in real life, at least 30% of us would give Magneto a pass for wearing a funny little outfit every time he leaves the house. Yeah, he kills people, but he wears a silly helmet and cape every time he does. His peripheral vision is probably awful; imagine how funny it would be if I stepped on the edge of his cape every time he walked past and then ran away before he could turn around. I would be in mortal peril, but it would be fun.
Jeff Bezos’s yacht is ugly, and bland, and looks like it was designed by one of those HGTV remodelers who rips out perfect, beautiful Victorian-era wallpaper to paint everything beige. It’s travesty enough that he’s building a yacht – or superyacht, that is, according to the NY Post – when people are starving and Amazon employees are striking for basic rights. But for Pete’s sake, couldn’t it at least be a cool yacht? You’re telling me $500 million wasn’t enough to make it look like a period-accurate pirate ship or a floating Millennium Falcon?
If we aren’t going to go out with guillotines and demand justice – which I’m not taking off the table, by the way – we need to stop settling for whatever this is. Come on, guys. Jeff, even. At least be funny as you grind down on my neck with the boot of capitalism, huh?