I had the pleasure (really!) of seeing The Great Gatsby last weekend. I enjoyed it. And I find myself reflecting on the corruption it portrays, corruption in its original meaning -- broken. And on the sense of déjà vu, a sense of looking back in time and seeing today. I don't find myself thinking so much about the classic themes people say we find in the novel, themes of opulence or decadence of the period, of excess and social upheaval of the times ...
Corrupt. Middle English, from Latin corruptus, past participle of corrumpere, from com- + rumpere to breakFor those of you who studied the book and remember it well, forgive me where I discuss a film which may likely diverge from the original text, add to it, leave things out, etc. It's been over 40 years since I read it in high school English class, and I have thought about it more the past week than in the 40+ years since then. But the corruption shown in this film is the corruption we face today. And, unlike every single character in The Great Gatsby, we not only don't have to stand for it, we can do something about it.
We see then, and now, corruption of "old money". Those with it assume that they are better. That they are not required to obey the written laws of this nation, nor honor the unwritten compact between its people. When they transgress, it is as if it never happened. When they err, it is forgiven. Tom feels no remorse at all in telling George (whose wife Tom has had a long affair with) that Gatsby had the affair with his wife, that Gatsby was driving the car the killed her, and that George should do something about it. And, as old money, Tom has no sense of what he actually owns. "There's a light at the end of my dock?" he asks at one point.
There is the corruption of new money. Not just in its flagrant display (the parties, the Gatsby mansion, the cars), but in its flagrant exploitation to gain special privilege (with the police for example, or the privilege of drinking - not just in speakeasies but almost everywhere), including the special privilege to make even more "new money" through special connections and by exploiting others.
There's the corruption of police. Of bankers. And senators. Indeed, of all those we've elected, or been self-elected, to lead government and business. We see the corruption they bring (the Black Sox scandal is mentioned, organized crime is present, financial schemes are rampant). And we see moral corruption in almost all of them ... Nick and Jordan for example. Nick and Jordan are enablers for Gatsby and Tom ... enabling their sordid activities.
There's the corruption of relationship power. Gatsby thinks he can tell Daisy who she loves, who she wants to be with. Tom has an affair with another man's wife. Gatsby uses Nick and his relationship with Daisy to corrupt her.
And there's the corruption of the physical world. The valley of ashes seen in the movie can be seen today in any part of this world which has been strip mined, which has been clear cut, in which fracking is taking place, in which a pipeline has broken, or regulations ignored or circumvented.
Deception. Lies. Money. Power.
Unlike Nick or Jordan, we don't have to be enablers. We don't have to tolerate or accept this. We can act. We can keep a public focus on their corruption. We can insist that the laws of this country apply to all. We can support and vote for and elect progressive leaders and empower them to act on our behalf (you go, Elizabeth Warren!). We can contribute to organizations fighting on our behalf, we can volunteer and work for them, we can write, we can protest.
Let's make this a country we can be proud of. Let's eliminate all of this corruption!
Before we jump to the games, please offer a word of prayer or blessings to our Mojo Friday host, TexDem, who as we kick off today's events is recovering from having a kidney stone removed. He might join us near the end of the day to say hello! Let him know you missed him!
On with the games!!
Mojo Friday Guidelines
1) If you comment you have to recommend all comments. (in order to receive mojo you have to give mojo. It's only good mojo manners.)Mojo Friday Goals
2) Everything you say may be taken as a joke (so if you ask a question, expect a silly answer)
3) You must recommend the diary (and pimp it unapologetically)
4) You don't have to comment to recommend.
5) You can't steal my idea (right, like that ain't goin' to happen)
6) Please, no pictures or YouTubes until after 300 comments. Now, after 300, use a little common courtesy and be responsible in the number.
7) Mojo mojo mojo mojo, mojo mojo mojo.
8) TexDem (our missing host!) is not bound by the guidelines. Heh
A. At least 300 different commenters and 1000 comments by 1:30 PM EST and 1500 by 5:00 PM EST Friday Night that it's posted.
B. 100 recommends for each comment, at least.
C. Stay on Recommend List at least five hours (this requires some strategic planning by you guys, refer to guideline #3)
D. At least 200 diary recommends. 300 would be better, spread the word.
E. And always, fun fun fun.
G. (New) Have at least 30 kossacks over 90% participation (see here for some tips).
H. Overload the servers with recommends, not to mention dominate Top Comments Mojo list. (we do tend to mess with the site with all of our recommends at one time)(also, to dominate the Top Comments Top Mojo we need at least 50 comments with over 200 recommends, see guideline B)
I. That's enough for now. (Have a suggestion? Post it.)
MKinTN posted a diary to help everyone achieve greater success called How to Succeed at Mojo Friday Without Really Trying.
For those of you new to MF (Mojo Friday) we have our own lingo about a few things. Thank's to MF'er Jez (the link will explain) go to this diary for a little more fun and explanation - Official Mojo Friday Snecktionary.