Sunday, October 22, 2006

Jamming class radar

The corner grocery store in my neighborhood is a pleasant place, with a cheerful staff, pleasantly cluttered layout, and most items weighing in at about a dollar more than they would anywhere else. It is an attractive time-warp where the staff and customers make an effort to know each other by name, the butcher counter has an agreeable policy of almost never selling meat that was ground more than three hours earlier, and they stock an evershifting panoply of European treats (for a while, they were one of ten venues in the city that would sell you a Ritter Sport that combines hazelnuts, white chocolate, and crisped rice, but they have moved on to other, equally tempting delicacies).

Their decision not to sell lottery tickets contributes to the old-fashioned charm of the store. Like a lot of people, I viscerally hate the lottery, and it offends me every time I see a person buying a ticket. The lottery is an extra tax on the poor, the uneducated and the unintelligent that disrupts "class interests" by encouraging a fantasy life in which the underprivileged imagine they are absurdly wealthy, and then cast real votes in real elections to protect their imaginary wealth.

It would be in the Republican Party's interest to give away lottery tickets for free, and it is sheer genius to get people to pay for their own poison. One explanation for Republican political hegemony is that their policies have disintegrated the base-line morality of large segments of the population. Call me anachronistic, but those seven deadly sins are not considered "deadly" because they are life-enhancing, and while it may not be a secular government's job to suppress sin, it is hardly a government's job to encourage it.

As it turns out, the Illinois State Lottery will be shooting a commercial in the grocery store next week. The lottery has corrupted the essence of other grocery stores to the degree that those stores are an advertisement for the moral terpitude and decay that the lottery brings, while the lottery itself, in order to make its own corruption appealing, fictionally situates itself in uncorrupted sites.

That barefoot philosopher says that the desire for money is the root of all evil, and he is more than half right, since Greed finances four other sins -- Sloth, Vanity, Gluttony and Lust. Contemporary culture accepts that Anger and Jealousy are character flaws, but the greed-based family comprise ninety percent our culture, and ninety five percent of our problems. Republicans win elections because, when faced with the choice between hypocrisy and sin, many people prefer hypocrisy: but who would win if the Democrats became the party of morality?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

GB, Though I can't presume to speak for every lottery buyer's motivation, I suspect it has less to do with greed and the hope of becoming wealthy than enacting a vicarious ritual of hope. As far as it being a tax, yes--it does perform that function. But booze and smokes and all sorts of far more objectional vices are taxed as well, why not vicarious hope?
More glaring is your apparent equating of a poor person's Trump like fantasy to a Republican choice at the polls. Am I
missing something? Sheep vote as they herded to vote. Greed is not quite the same as deluded self interest and idealogical confusion.
And lastly, maybe you should ask your corner grocery store how much they are getting paid for the Lotto Commercial. Well, got to go down to my ghetto grocer for
a cold one. Maybe I'll try a pull on the slots whilst there. ta ta.

7:46 PM  
Blogger georgeborrow said...

Good point: since the statistical studies show that winning the lottery decreases personal happiness, maybe the losers are the people getting their money's worth.

But, your other point is also excellent, Mr Mous, but what I am really saying is that when people's hope for the future is represented as an individual escape from their circumstances, rather than the achievement of a general transformation of social reality (cue the "Internationale"), it drains the fuel that should propel social change. But you are right. The hope that people buy with a lottery ticket comes at the cost of a subconscious desire to see contemporarily inequalities perpetuated, which leads more to political apathy and withdrawal rather than active Republicanism.

12:03 AM  

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