As Above, So Below: Part 1Posted: October 14, 2008 | |
I do love the surreal. I love the surreal in literature and in poetry, and there is nothing that catches me more than surreality in cinema. Yet there is nothing more surreal than American culture. If there is a God, he is on vacation and he has left Salvador Dali in charge. What can be more surreal than what is happening in the United States today? Homeowners in Oakland who refinanced their homes for hundreds of thousands of dollars now find themselves with mortgages for more than their homes are worth today. Were they to sell their homes, they would have to do so at a loss. Congress has just given 700 billion in taxpayer money to a bunch of goniffs who are meeting at luxury spas. Meanwhile the homeless population swells beyond our pathetic social safety net’s ability to care for them.
Amidst all this, I get an email from my brother about college students having to resort to food pantries in order to survive. Tuitions have skyrocketed to the point where your average student cannot afford tuition, housing, gasoline, and food. Along with this article from my brother comes a link to a Time Magazine pictorial on College Dorms. Students are going to the food pantry to eat, and their colleges are paying millions of dollars for luxury dorms. I ask you, is that surreal or what? Rutgers University, my alma mater, spent 55 million dollars for a dorm with a state of the art gym, a Cold Stone Creamery, and a 7-11, and grocery delivery. Grocery delivery? Oy vey ist mir! In my day I had to get up and go all the way to the student center to get my munchies. Sometimes I was too stoned to go, and so I would have to go without. Today’s kids can have their munchies delivered straight to the door. There is something wrong about that. I always believed that the munchies were there to teach kids moderation. That’s not going to happen if they can have their munchies delivered straight to their rooms. I wonder if pot growers have a financial interest in college dorm building?
But stop and think about that dichotomy. On one hand college students can’t afford to eat. They have to get their food out of the pantries. On the other hand, there are students who are getting their food delivered to their rooms. The pictorial mentions a student who wanted the school to house his butler. What an image that brings to mind. It could be a new Hugh Laurie (House) vehicle. He can get back together with his partner, Stephen Frye, and make a Jeeves and Wooster Go to Rutgers, movie. I can see it now.
Wooster (Played by Hugh Laurie): I say, Jeeves, I’m feeling a bit peckish. Could I impose on you for one of your famous roast beef sandwiches?
Jeeves (Played by Stephen Frye): I am sorry sir, but the larder is a little bare at the moment.
Wooster: The larder is bare, you say? Haven’t you been going to the grocery store, Jeeves?
Jeeves: I’m afraid not, sir. I meant to mention this at a better time, but I’m afraid that your bank account has been overdrawn by roughly a hundred dollars.
Wooster: Overdrawn Jeeves?
Jeeves: By a hundred dollars, sir.
Wooster: Jeeves, how could you let that happen?
Jeeves: I’m afraid that tuition has gone up and your Aunt Agatha has refused to raise your allowance.
Wooster(Looking alarmed): Jeeves, what are we to do?
Jeeves: May I suggest the food pantry, sir? The University operates a very nice one in the health center. I’m sure they will provide whatever sustenance you require.
Wooster (Looking relieved): Very good, Jeeves. I knew you would find a solution. Do you think that you might pop down to the food pantry and pick up some viands?
Jeeves: Gladly sir, as soon as we take care of the little matter of my back wages…
I can just see that scene playing out in my mind, and only Frye and Laurie could pull it off. Who else could really show America to it’s best advantage? America is a country that gives 700 billion dollars to criminals while honest people go homeless. Students are eating out of food pantries while the universities build multi million dollar dorms. I tell you, this country is just nuts.