[News] T.S. Eliot's Catastrophic Bear Market

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jun 9 10:21:07 EDT 2010


T.S. Eliot's Catastrophic Bear Market

Although a financial regulation bill is in the 
works, our economy continues to tank, and nobody 
can figure out what to do. Except me, of course. 
I have discovered that Western literature is a 
major cause of our economic crisis.

You see, most people, as victims of various 
“liberal” arts programs, fail to notice how 
centuries of depressingly sensitive poems, 
novels, and plays have struck at the heart of 
venture capitalism. In order for America to 
triumph over socialism and regain its place in 
the world, we need to revamp the literary 
“classics.” I shall, therefore, using my newly 
patented Free-Market Literary Criticism, attempt 
to unpack some “Love Song” by a dude named “J. Alfred Prufrock”:

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table

Whoa. Let me stop you here, J. Al. So far, your 
poem indicates only moderate returns. Your first 
line is your best, as it shows a take-charge, 
can-do attitude, thanks to the action-packed verb 
“go” – as in, “You GO, then, Prufrock!” Kudos, 
too, for the dare-devil strategy of leveraging 
the word “you” before “I.” It’s not often that 
positioning yourself in a subordinate tier 
accrues to your benefit, but this time the risk 
pays off, as it allows you to rhyme “I” with “sky.” Awesome!

Unfortunately, at line three, the net worth of 
your poem plummets. For without warning, our eyes 
are unpleasantly gob-smacked by the whacked-out 
imagery of a huge sick person, plastered across 
heaven’s firmament. People just don’t like to see 
giant, comatose hospital patients, unless these 
patients are being expertly sliced open by 
incredibly good-looking actors who are highly 
paid to simulate sex with one another on Grey’s Anatomy.

It is also unclear, given President Obama’s new 
health care plan, just what kind of medical 
insurance this patient has been forced to buy. Is 
it Aetna? Blue Cross? Alas, the reader will never 
know. Alas also, that Grey’s Anatomy isn’t on TV 
right now, forcing us to return to your poem:

Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
[Skipping some lines here, yadda yadda
]
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for a MacArthur 
Genius Grant if I were you, honey. Your choice of 
an adjustable, not fixed, poetic meter is 
high-risk and indicates an overall subprime 
quality to your work. If you want to write a 
“Love Song,” J. Al, you need to deal in mergers 
and acquisitions. So, incentivize – make the 
reader a tender offer – attempt a hostile 
takeover – anything but sit there, looking 
derivative. Above all, man up. Going forward, 
what say we drop that gloomy, underdog persona 
and wax poetic like a WINNER? Perhaps you meant:

Let us go then, you and I,
When the bailouts are spread out against the sky
Like a CEO on Wall Street’s profits table

Oh, do not rue the shame or onus,
Let’s just go and grab our bonus!

You see how proactive that sounds? Somebody 
reading this stanza on a crowded subway would be 
empowered to open up their Wall Street Journal 
extra-wide, spread out onto two seats, then push 
and bite their way out of the car, to arrive, in 
a timely fashion, at the free-market workplace of 
their choice. This is how democracy will be 
saved! So let’s turn the page and see if your poem improves:

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

Here, we pause to ask the poignant question, “So 
what?” Shoulda, woulda, coulda – nobody gives a 
rat’s ass for your suffering, pal. The real 
tragedy here is that your parents didn’t force 
you to go to Harvard Business School.

Please stop writing like some seedy, downsized 
loser, staggering around an anonymous Iowa 
landscape because your crystal meth lab just 
exploded. Come to think of it – that may be the 
reason you’re hallucinating overhead invalids and 
oceanic mutants. Next thing you know, you’ll be 
whining about oil spills in the Gulf. To continue

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo. [Yadda 
]
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?

I think I have discerned your big problem: You 
assume that you are some kind of “artist.”

Chances are, when you were in school, you were 
programmed into believing that you were “unique” 
– that human pain and perception can be 
transformed through “Art.” But that was before 
the economy nose-dived, proving once and for all 
that the ideal of self-expression is anathema to 
the profit motive. The minute you start wondering 
whether you should eat that peach, Al, you stray 
into communistic psychological realms that must 
be vaporized if society is to advance.

Millions of people get this. They have gone cold 
turkey off writing, painting, dancing, etc., and 
are busy turning their inner children into 
full-metal-jacket killing machines. Unlike you, 
Al, they know that, in order to survive in 
today’s market, you have to murder the part of 
yourself that most wants to live. Because:

“Money is truth, truth money,” – that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Actually, that’s kind of poetic. And so very, very true.

© Susie Day, 2010






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