Letters to the Bouncy Banker...

Letters to the Bouncy Banker...
...from a struggling artiste.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What do Big Banks and the leader of Senegal have in common?

They both have massive egos and get bail outs from the US government! In the case of Senegal this is to shore them up as allies but surely we (the American taxpayer does after all hold the debt-just like they own the banks) could insist on better taste? A huge Korean built statue is nearing completion that expresses, in no uncertain terms, the arrogance, power drunkness, and insensitivity of President Abdoulaye Wade who has spent, according to the Guardian, around 17 million quid (roughly 35 million dollars-remember I am a fuzzy mathematician). There is a huge ego at play here if nothing else. He insists the statue represents progress, a climbing in to the light out of the dark ages and so forth but it shows a massive disregard for a huge part of the population that is Muslim (94%) and who finds the statue in every way offensive. I might usually try to defend any artwork if the argument against it were merely fear of causing offense but in this case the US government is giving money to a government that is an ally in the so called War against Terrorism that is offending its mostly Muslim population and using American tax dollars to do so. None of this seems very helpful AND the art is retrograde. Hard to come up with any argument in its favor. Lets at least cut their next year's budget by the cost of the statue or insist on more oversight so that such monies go to help educate and feed the poor-then they can go out and make better art to counter the official art of the day.

Of course a similar power assumption afflicts the Big Banks who simply cannot understand why everyone is so upset by their enormous bonuses. They need the money. They have mouths to feed, and houses galore to fix. Apparently curtailing their financial needs is not a job the current government is up to. See "What's a Banker Really Worth?" in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine.

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