Wednesday, October 8, 2014

LOSING OUR WAY by Bob Herbert

Bob Herbert is a former New York Times columnist and think tank fellow with a new book praised by Bill Moyers titled LOSING OUR WAY, An Intimate Portrait of a Troubled America. It’s all here, both fact and opinion on fact: the disparity of income between the wildly rich (who, if white, hide their wealth or, if black, flaunt it,) and kids of all races who want to go to school mainly because there’s something to eat there. Except school programs are being cut while infrastructure in America collapses, (even as the NFL builds stadiums and we divert more money to the military than the next twenty top countries combined.) Herbert interviews ordinary people who are struggling to find jobs while the middle class is facing extinction, thanks to policies that favor the so-called “winners:” those who were born into the right families, on the right side of the tracks. Sure, the opportunities in America are still present in today’s society, but Herbert seems to be saying that our culture has ironically embraced luck as the means to success, since working hard no longer guarantees one can feed their family, while the rich (instead of helping by hiring) make it more difficult to do so daily, many hiding their wealth in offshore accounts. (Ask the super rich the best way to get richer, and they will say “through legislation”…by buying the right politicians.) So the game is now rigged from top to bottom, while we are spied on to maintain control, and to steer opinion with subtle indoctrination, (with Coca-Cola telling us to “open happiness,” the truth being that soda aids cancer, and the cost of cancer drugs is now the #1 cause of nest egg bankruptcy.) No happy pill can save us from ourselves, Herbert reminds us, if we don’t do an about-face and reject the flag-waving ignorance that has us fighting endless wars which only result in more dead and disabled young men, who may return as “heroes,” but may also commit suicide due to the madness of our delusions. This is an audiobook, read by the author, which will make listeners see America’s Got Talent in a whole new way: do you “succeed” in America by winning a talent competition, spinning plates made in China, and judged by people who make twenty times what the ultimate (and single) winner does? The flags waved on game show stages (and in Congress, as politicians play Solitaire while waiting to raise the debt ceiling,) hide a bitter truth that doesn’t make Yahoo Trends: we have largely become pawns or knights of kingpins who see the world as a stage to boost their profits and egos via gamesmanship, and are unwilling to let us have back the reins until we have all sacrificed ourselves in their service. AUDIOBOOK OF THE MONTH.

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