Friday, April 4, 2008

Mondo Manga

So the word is out. The Bear Stearns fixed income managers—the ones that really cooked the books--- are now at J.P. Morgan. I hope old J.P. has plenty of legroom in his coffin because he’ll be spinning like a top. But I suppose the sunken BS ship is in such a mess that only the 3-card-Monty masters can re-construct their burned bridges. Creative arson is the only way to cover your tracks sometimes.

And if you want to find true love in this century, you must have a reality show. My neighbor’s 15-year old daughter-- honor roll, debating champion— is a fan of the Bret Michaels girl-circus. It is hard to imagine how far one must travel to find such a variety of female specimen missing an essential part of their brain. Also, in a show on which the ever-sincere and oh-so-talentless Poison singer claims to be looking for love, the biggest bunch of reality-show rejects and brainless boob-heads should have at least gone through that MTV liar show screening. Not a single one would have made the first cut. But does Bret care that they misrepresent their age, possible marital status, even sexual preference? One of them was recently having sex with the other most repulsive member of his band and an obvious rival. But she definitely has the biggest boobs, so all is forgiven. Even if they are as fake as her collagen-enhanced lips. Apparently rock of love can be a fake painted pet-rock. And there’s always season 3. Apparently America likes liars and fakes.

Which brings me to the art market and our big spring Brooklyn Museum Murikami extravaganza, complete with factory-produced paintings called ‘a la Warhol’. Poor old Andy. Not only has the art world missed the point, but there IS no point. At least Andy’s subject matter was satire—the symbols of our culture—the pop icons, the advertisements, the deification of the mundane. Now it is the cartooning of the cartoon. A store of hideous hijacked designer accessories. Marc Jacobs, you certainly have sold out from the rockin' boy-designer I met way back. And there is a whole Sistine-Chapel-style staff of artisans to blow up the already blown. Balloon creatures and dolls. What next? The new World Trade Center made of lego? Edible Tiffany? Blow-up dolls standing in for Starbucks girls, giving out your money at bank windows? Naked-geisha holograms giving you a lap dance at Teriyaki Boy? When will it end?

I’m having a sugar rush just browsing the Arts section of the NY Times. Is there anyone who is jonesing for good-old-reality? Is there any funk left in New York City? Any square block that hasn’t been face-lifted, whitewashed, commercialized, graffiti-proofed? Help! Andy!

And on the homefront, in my 21st-century version of a Manhattan home, the Bear Stearns bandits have pulled a Bush-style Florida election stunt and gained a majority of my co-op board. Which means they will bankrupt the building until it is ripe for a corporate takeover and conversion into a mini-mall. They have already engineered a forged lawsuit which will compel all honest tenants to pay these overpaid crooked managers’ maintenance for 10 years with 2/3 of our paycheck. Just in case they were going to have to live on last years’ bonus for a while, which is no longer likely. While they had a bit of a small scare, they needed to practice mergers and takeovers on their poor neighbors. They have grown bold, these mama's boys whose greatest challenge has been a college application, Lamaze class before epidurals, and keeping a tough face during Botox injections. Not even a rap on the palm with a stick for what used to warrant a jail sentence. Are you listening, Martha and Sam? And for those of us who can’t afford to move from their home-castle, life is miserable, services are withheld, democracy is miscarried while the corrupt little junta sings and dances and smokes cigars. For those of us who yearn to move, they will reject every buyer until they can take over our cherished homes for half value, just the way they bilked all those American suckers into over-ambitious home-buying. Bigger mortgages, bigger commissions. Isn’t corporate crime fun? They haven’t even missed a paycheck. And they've sued their neighbors for a huge payoff. Clever little emperors.

Where is Eliot Spitzer when we need him? He’s had his vital parts tied…another huge trap he fell into, which stinks to me like corporate behind-the-scenes hocus-pocus in a big way. The biggest stinkers are always the best finger-pointers. Eliot had a big finger, but tiny hands compared to these money managers.

Is there justice? Is there a hell? A real prison? Is there no master of ceremonies to ask ‘Will the real criminals stand up, please, so the rest of us can go back to our homes and go on with the business of rebuilding America, purging the stench of corporate greed, and creating something with our hands and brains?’ Unfortunately the parade-route of the fat naked emperors is lined with worthless flat copies of cartoon characters and devoid of mirrors.

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