unixronin: Galen the technomage, from Babylon 5: Crusade (Default)

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January 14th, 2011

unixronin: Galen the technomage, from Babylon 5: Crusade (Default)
Friday, January 14th, 2011 09:07 am

I, for some reason, woke up with an earworm of White Mountain from Genesis' Trespass album (of which I do not currently own a copy, a fact I should remedy).

White Mountain tells a fable involving a pack of rather anthropomorphized wolves, whose pack leader is actually anointed king, his authority symbolized by "a truth that only one wolf may know", a scepter and crown purportedly granted by the gods.  Only the King of the pack is permitted to know of their existence; any other wolf that learns of them must die (a detail which must make succession rather difficult).

It also makes life rather difficult for one wolf, "Fang, son of Great Fang", who has learned of the existence of the crown and scepter, and therefore must die.  To which end, he is being pursued by the entire pack, with One-Eye the King at their head.  Wearing the crown and bearing the Scepter.

So ... at the denouement we have Fang trapped and cornered by the pack, confronted by King One-Eye, wearing the crown and bearing the scepter that no wolf but the King may see and live.


Let me know how that works out for you.  It was a pretty nice pack, while it lasted.  Still, I suppose you can always find another pack to rule.  Just prove your authority by appearing before them wearing the ... oh, wait... gosh, darn.  There goes another pack...

unixronin: Galen the technomage, from Babylon 5: Crusade (Default)
Friday, January 14th, 2011 10:49 am

The Atlantic magazine has an article on The Rise of the New Global Elite.

It's long, but a worthwhile read, with some eye-opening perspectives and a few staggering details, such as the fact that in 2009 the top 25 hedge fund managers were paid more than $1 billion each.  It really brings home the manner in which many of today's hyper-rich have increasingly become completely disconnected from anything but each other.  Imagine the hardship of a society wife who has to solemnly explain over the dinner table, with a completely straight face, that after taxes there's only $10 million a year left of the $20 million her husband brings home.  My heart positively bleeds for her.  Why, if I had to live under such desperate financial straits...

Oh, wait.  That after-tax net is somewhere over two hundred times my entire pre-tax household income last year.  Explain to me again how this is hardship?

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not arguing for large-scale income redistribution, like, say, our current President does, though I do tend to think our executive compensation model (particularly in the financial sector) is rapidly progressing from the merely absurd into the drug-induced surreal.  But when you're making anywhere from two to four orders of magnitude more money after tax than the average American household's total gross income, you've got to have a lot of damned gall — not to mention utter detachment from the realities of everyday life outside your little upper-crust social club — to whine about how hard it is to make ends meet.