8th August 2003

The Debilitating Effects of Nep-Autism

posted in `Roids |

The Debilitating Effects of Nep-Autism [1.]

by Daniel Berger and Lloyd Kaufman

A few weeks ago I read an article about “In Praise of Nepotism: A Natural History,” a book by Adam Bellow, in The New York Times. The gist of this piece of literary waste is that nepotism is a good thing for American society, and the supposed “paper of record” had for some reason decided that this was an important viewpoint to be offering to the American public. Nepotism, perhaps, was ironically the cause of the Times’s choice of Bellow’s book, since Bellow’s only credential as a writer is his connection to his father, famed author Saul Bellow. Soon thereafter, the Times ran a story on the front page of the Arts section about Rory Kennedy’s documentary about AIDS in Africa. This well-worn topic is the subject of hundreds of other documentaries, but those surely aren’t nearly as good or important as this one, because they’re not directed by a Kennedy! And since none of Troma’s movies were directed by a Kennedy, and my recent book Make Your Own Damn Movie was written by a Kaufman and not a Bellow, who the fuck cares about them? Certainly not The New York Times. It’s really not surprising that the Times would legitimize and promote nepotism, since the paper itself runs on the principle of nepotism, with the Sulzbergers handing down the reins of the company from generation to generation, allowing the paper to become the staid and turgid rag it currently is. The recent Jayson Blair scandal is just the tip of the iceberg of corruption at the Times, but don’t even get me started on that.

The point is that nepotism is rearing its ugly head in America, replacing democracy and meritocracy, and The New York Times is part of a larger problem. If you’ve ever seen a Troma movie (which you probably have if you’re bothering to read this), you know that America, like Tromaville, has been taken over by the three elites- the bureaucratic elite (the government elite), the corporate elite, and the labor elite. But now we’re seeing an even more disturbing trend, for while at least some of the older generations of elites obtained their positions through merit, the current crop of elites has merely been given control of this country on a silver platter. The American political, corporate, and labor landscapes are reminiscent of pre-Revolution France, with the old guard of American elites, like the aristocratic First Estate in the days of King Louis XIV, keeping all of the money and power “in the family.”

In our supposedly democratic government, there is no such thing as “the people’s candidate,” there are only the offspring of the previous generation of elites. We see George Bush I handing down the Presidency to George Bush II, and former President Bill Clinton paving the way for current Senator Hillary Clinton [2]. And Secretary of State Colin Powell, who had to combat poverty and racial discrimination to gain the power he now commands, has given his son Michael the cushy position of FCC Chairman. Michael Powell, of course, helped push through the recent FCC ruling which allows huge media conglomerates to gobble up more independent newspapers and TV stations, to further keep power “in the family” of elites and brainwash the public into accepting nepotism. (see The FCC – Brought to you by Disney®)

Similarly, the Bushes are concerned not only with keeping power in the bloodline, but also with aiding the extended family of rich white cronies. Look at the War in Iraq, that “necessary conflict” to “root out evil” and “protect America.” The President started the war so that Vice President Dick Cheney, or Uncle Dick as George calls him, could get oil contracts for his former company Halliburton, and Reagan’s Secretary of State George Schulz could get contracts for his Bechtel Industries to rebuild Iraq.

If we turn our gaze toward Hollywood, a locus of elites that is even more prominent in the public eye than Washington, we see the same nepotism going on. Actor Kirk Douglas gives birth to actor Michael Douglas, who in turn marries actress Catherine Zeta-Jones so they can churn out another little actor or actress. And the woefully untalented Colin Hanks gets starring roles because of his woefully untalented father Tom Hanks [3]. Furthermore, most of the major studios are organized like families, with financing, production and distribution all occurring within the studio so that no independent companies get a share of any of the profits.

Yet America is supposed to be the “Land of the Free,” where anyone can climb their way up to the top of society, right? Not anymore. George II and Congress did recently give tax cuts of about $100 to most Americans, but the wealthiest Americans, like Bush, Hillary Clinton [4]. (whose awful book is making her millions of dollars), and the other senators (who are making upwards of $200,000 a year and all they can steal), got tax cuts of over $100,000. This in a country where the wealthiest 400 people already make 1% of the total annual income. And the poor working class Joes now have to shoulder higher sales taxes and property taxes to boot. Of course we’re encouraged to “invest in America” with U.S. Bonds, but we only get 1% interest on them, the worst rate in history. The real reason for the low interest rates is so that billionaires like Donald Trump can build more casinos, condominiums, and parking lots where low-income and elderly housing used to be. And with the lowering of the inheritance tax, I’m sure Donald Jr. and other beneficiaries of nepotism will have no trouble continuing the family tradition. Just to add insult to injury, many colleges, including the City University of New York, have been raising tuition and cutting financial aid, meaning only the sons and daughters of the upper middle class and above can afford to go to college without accruing enormous student loan debts. The end result of these measures to keep money and power “in the family” is that it’s becoming nearly impossible for a working-class kid to gain entry into the elite[5].

Instead of continuing with this unacknowledged system of institutionalized nepotism, America might as well officially declare itself a monarchy and establish a system of royalty and dynasties. We can have King George II, Queen Hillary, Prince Colin and even Duke Tom Hanks of the fiefdom of Los Angeles!

[1]… This title might be offensive to people with autism, but good puns are more important than good taste.

[2]… Notice how if you rearrange some of the letters in “SenATor hillAry clintoN” you get “Satan”- coincidence? I think not.

[3]… Have you ever seen Hanks in Bosom Buddies? Isn’t that show hilarious? I mean they’re really men, but they dress up like women! How clever!

[4]… Notice how if you rearrange some of the letters in “Hillary Clinton” you get “Stupid Cunt”. No wait, it’s missing S, U, P, and D. Well, it should work.

[5]… This may not be true. According to every Hollywood movie ever made, it is actually really easy for working-class kids to gain entry into the elite. Watch The Skulls for further evidence. Or better yet, don’t.

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