Thursday, August 12, 2021

Recounting my war years.

There's a death-camp story I know that probably made-up but it rings as true as the ocean's waves.

One gloomy day in Auschwitz--a typical holding company imperium--a kapo, a guard, a brute sees an old, near-death Jew praying.

"What are you doing, Jew?" The guard says, poking the bedraggled man harshly with a bludgeon.

"I'm thanking god," is the reply.

The kapo laughs. "Thanking god. What could you be thanking god for?"

"I'm thanking god that he didn't make me like you."


The holocaust and the metaphor of the holocaust, huge, heartless, evil forces designed to crush and annihilate humanity is alive in my soul. It always has been.

This isn't a game with me.

It may be received memory, it may be from reading too many books on World War II and the death camps, it may be my leftist feelings regarding the concentration of capital and its effect on the masses. Regardless it's as there and as every day as life itself.

Yes, I kibbitz about it. If the local supermarket is out of bologna, I'm likely to mutter something about the "evil cabal of big deli suppressing humanity's innate need to nitrate." But, in a sense, I'm really not kidding.

I grew up during the greatest "compression," in human history. Thanks to the Depression and the "Thirty years' war" (WWI and WWII) my youth was spent believing that there were rich and poor--but the distance between the two could be bridged and life was not all that unfair. That's when CEOs made on average 17 times the median salary of an average worker.

Today--that CEO makes of the order of 300 times as much.

That compression in terms of world history, was an anomaly. The Reagan-inspired unequalization has only gained steam since the 1980s. And today income disparity in the US is beyond what it was prelude to the Great Depression. Our nation is more unequal and more unfair (that means you're subject to more cosmological schtupping) than Latin American military cabals or even Middle-Eastern sheikdoms.

When one of the sheikdoms that controls the modern ad industry (WPP is one of four companies that control roughly 70-percent of ad jobs worldwide) decided to go whole hog into wage peonage and fire me because of my age and my salary, I did not go gentle into that good night.

No, my friends, we rage rage against the dying of the light.


In military parlance, they call it asymmetrical warfare. Remember Vietnam? When homemade rifles and hand-rolled bullets and heroin killed 58-thousand American boys. Remember Bushistan? When a $1.29 improvised explosive device could take out a $2 million "HumVee" and its occupants.

That's the battle we are fighting, if you're awake.

A lot of people tell me not to dwell in my anger at being ass-schtupped for so long so do-nothing to-the-manor-born potentates could collect $100 million annual paychecks.

Why shouldn't we be angry?

More important, why shouldn't we fight back?

Why shouldn't we use our superior skills to win accounts away from them? To embarrass and show-up our mighty once-masters? Why shouldn't we publicly mock the PR-bullshit-onslaught that diarrheas from their silver-plated uvulas?

You tossed me out. You misused me. There's a price.

Why shouldn't we call out their Orwellian destruction of truth? Where bad is called good. Firings are called meeting client exigencies. And diversity is an all white, all male c-suite. More: Data is called omnipotent. And people--fittingly--are deemed targets. Bang.

When I was back at Ogilvy, I worked with two ECDs, younger than I (who wasn't) but guys you could have lunch with. They went through some of the same shit I did. When they could stand it no longer, they would sneak to my desk and unload their pain on me.

Finally, I had enough.

You keep absolutely quiet. You say nothing. Then you whisper to me. Complaining.

That's feckless.

Standup. Speak up. Or shut up.

I can't solve your problems.

You can.

In my high school library where I spent many an hour reading great books and not going to class, there was an inscription high-above the checkout desk. The words of Abraham Lincoln.

They're gendered now. Maybe I'll be lambasted for citing them

But, WTF.

'To sin by silence when they should protest, makes cowards of men.'

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