Monday, December 05, 2005

Prostitution Nation

For the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
I Timothy 6:10

Often misquoted as “money is the root of all evil,” the first simple phrase in this passage, when accurately presented, conveys immeasurable wisdom. Money itself is not the root of evil; money is simply a means of exchange.

“The love of money is the root of all evil.

And what is more evident in our society than the consequences of the love of money? One need only look around.

A love of money runs rampant; It has become ingrained in our culture. “Bigger, better, faster, more” is the credo. Money is the totem which transcends all other devices. A rich man can be forgiven his vices, and nothing is too horrible if it makes a healthy profit.

Sex sells, and thus is sold, without shame, wherever people are buying. And it matters not if the buyer is a dirty old trucker handing a wad of cash to a truckstop whore, a 14 year old boy gaping at the cover of Maxim magazine, or your 10 year old daughter in one of those classy “Who needs brains when you’ve got these?” (boobs) t-shirts from Abercrombie and Fitch.

We have become a nation of professional prostitutes.
Though the real deal is still illegal – you still can’t sell your body for literal sex – you CAN sell your body or anything else in any other way you can imagine.

Nothing is sacred.
Legitimized prostitution is everywhere.
And it is certainly not confined to the easily scapegoated examples cited above.

A recent proposal has been floated to sell commercial advertising in our national parks. Wonderful. Goodbye to the old standby slogan from Smokey the Bear, “Only you can prevent forest fires.”
Get ready for “Only heavy timber-harvesting by Halliburton subsidiaries can prevent forest fires. Shop at Wal-Mart!”

Thankfully they haven’t yet proposed selling the Names of the national parks, as both sports and entertainment venues have done. I’m not quite ready for “U.S. Cellular Yellowstone Park” or “The Grand Canyon, brought to you by Time Warner.”

Frankly, I hope the Wells Fargo Arena goes bankrupt. For the pure sake of irony, if nothing else.

I pray Carver-Hawkeye Arena doesn’t become the Papa John’s Pizza Emporium.

But college sports and entertainment venues don’t run the game on prostitution either.
If that were the case, a whole youth market would be overlooked!

That’s why Pepsi and Coca-Cola buy scoreboards for junior and high school athletic teams. They’ll buy basketball scoreboards, football scoreboards (the suckers can range in cost from $20,000-50,000 at least). They’ll buy whatever, so long as they get to put a big company logo in the center.

Often, the Pepsi and Coke bandits work exclusive distribution deals into the contract, and even offer incentives for schools to celebrate a yearly “Coke Day” or “Pepsi Day.”

Coke Addiction

They had a Coke Day (or was it Pepsi?) when I was in high school. I hated it.

Where the hell do they get off?
Talk about indoctrination.

Did you ever hear the stories of students getting suspended for wearing a Pepsi T-shirt on Coke Day, or vice versa?

Well, whether you heard it or not, it happened.

Think about that for a minute – a school suspension, on your permanent record (if such a thing really exists), for supporting the wrong soda product. (The wrong one being whichever company failed to pay your school thousands of dollars)

But it extends even further. Prostitution has become a common cultural mindset, and an accepted one. It is not questioned. It is simply the way of the world.

An illustrative real-life example is this: I was at a school board meeting over the summer. Two state legislators were there. They were discussing a possible change in how the state handles the “local option sales tax,” a one-cent tax many schools districts have approved through a popular vote.

The proposed change would cut out the “local option” part of the tax, institute a statewide one-cent sales tax, and distribute the money on a per-student basis to all school districts in the state. This would even out the playing field for small and rural school districts, where less shopping takes place.

The local school board loved this proposal because it meant more money, and they were encouraging the legislators to approve it. They spoke valiantly of fairness, equal opportunity, and a sincere desire to see all of Iowa’s children receive a quality education.

Then the business manager chimed in: “Actually, I’ve run the latest numbers, and we’d lose money if they approved it now.”

“Oh, well nevermind then. Forget everything I just said,” the school board president backtracked.

What was that thing about the love of money, again?

And hell, I know she was just being practical, looking out for No. 1 and all that – but that simply shows how principles have been tossed aside in the name of the almighty dollar.

And we’ve got people selling space on their foreheads for permanent advertising; we’ve got people sleeping with poisonous snakes and eating horse penis to get rich on Fear Factor; we’ve got bastards stabbing each other in the back on every reality TV show there is in order to win fame and riches.

Everyone has their price, they say, and there have never been more buyers.

We’ve got the lottery, The Apprentice, and Dukes of Hazard the movie.

We were even told the best way to fight terrorism was to maintain our spending habits.

Politicians still sell themselves to the highest bidder.
Lobbyists remain professional prostitutes.

But worse, the average American seems ready to put on the red light and screw all comers in the World’s Biggest Gang Bang 7, so long as he ends up with pretty figures in the bank ledger.

I wouldn’t even be exaggerating or dramatizing if I said people were selling their souls. They are.

A buddy of mine bought one from this kid named Matt a few years ago. Matt sold his soul for a cigarette. He eventually got it back, through no fault of my own. Not to sound coarse, but Matt didn’t yet deserve his soul back. He needed to earn it, like Bart Simpson did in my favorite Simpsons episode ever.

You should have heard Matt beg for that cigarette. He bugged me for an hour beforehand and I wouldn’t give him one. He begged and bugged everyone in the building for a cig, until Brad took him up on the offer.

“I’ll do anything for a smoke. Anything! Please! I’ll even sell you my soul.”

Brad made Matt sign a contract transferring all rights to his soul to the bearer of the contract.

As I noted previously, Matt eventually got his soul back. It was several weeks later, and he was demanding it desperately, with tortured eyes. The soul was just laying around under a candle, where we had finished playing with it.

Personally, I wanted to hear him beg for his soul the way he begged for that cigarette. The way Bart repented after he sold his soul to Milhouse. I know it sounds bad.
Sometimes I’m hardcore.

Daryl (the only one there at the time) turned it over to the previously soulless creature without question.

But not all items sold are so easy to regain.

We once had “Give me liberty or give me death.” We now have “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

The saddest thing is, millions of people glaze their eyes and brains watching Millionaire, then upon seeing a man in the street with a sign proclaiming “Liberty!” they are quick to presume HE’S the one who’s off-balance.

Everybody’s gotta pay the bills. But I, for one, am working diligently to repair my broken parts, recycle the unused material, and to barter for anything else I can use. I’m not about to sell what little freedom, dignity and self-respect I have left just to replace iron shackles with golden handcuffs. Not if I can help it.


“Money can’t buy you love, but love can’t buy you shit”
--An extreme capitalist I heard somewhere


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