Truly breathtaking to listen to entitled folk talk.
They can carry on with such a jaw-dropping lack of self
awareness, casting breezy insults on all the `little people’ who don’t
share either their inherited wealth or position, or who don't --
shockingly -- worship at the altar of their self-ratifying notions of
The entitled can so easily luxuriate in a sense of “doesn’t
everybody?” that one could think they were kidding, putting the rest of
us on, until their next utterances do the functional equivalent of
doubling down, revealing a revulsion for the poor or less powerful that
bespeaks a paranoia reserved for those who imagine they have so much
more at stake than the rest of us, and therefore so much more to lose.
We couldn't understand if we tried.
But peel back the outer layers of their easy condescension, and
one will quickly uncover a ruthless, competitive pride propelling these
folks forward -- which in turn guards over a desperate need to not only
impress, but, even more fundamentally, to constantly reaffirm they are
one of the chosen, the special, deserving of any of every advantage,
while being blithely, if not willfully, ignorant to the systemic
advantages that have delivered them to their unsullied worlds.
As a wise fellow once observed, these are the kind of folks that were born on third base, but think they hit a home run.
And while that attitude might almost -- almost -- lend them a
certain sympathetic dimension, given the shear terror one might assume
they feel late at night, worrying they could lose their privileged
positions, never fear, for their overarching assumption of greater
worthiness will quickly allay whatever transient fears they may have
momentarily entertained, melting their anxieties away into the
unquestioned certainty of cream rising confidently to the top.
Not only did I find these familiar tendencies of human character
informing "Cowboy and Indian" as I wrote it, but also "Shadow Game", where
the results of such a sense of entitlement inevitably leads to the
pervasive poverty and squalor Jarret discovers in his travels,
everywhere sustained by the quiet, pernicious belief that the poor and
powerless are living the lives they deserve, as determined by Nature,
genes, trust funds and/or God. Take your pick.
When, in Shadow Game, Jarret starts to see for himself the
suffering of the world around him in the faces of the indigent who come
to him as a last resort, it changes him in ways that nothing else could.
When Billy, in Cowboy and Indian, sees the masses of people India
making do with so little, it changes his heart and sapping his youthful
inclinations for self-pity.
And when Eddy in Eddy Falls sees how easily one can be so quickly
shunned from the privileged classes, any delusions he may have fancied
about his own invincibility are summarily shattered.
We all as human beings face trials in life, but if we are spared
many of life’s trials through inherited and systemic advantage, we still
nevertheless share our ultimate demise with all sentient beings.
So while the pursuit of wealth and power has always been for many
a way to feel as if they are staving off, or at least medicating the
inevitable end of our mortal reality, it is my view that the growing
sense for entitlement we see everywhere on ready display rivals nothing
less than methamphetamine in its raw, narcotic power to rob a generation
of what life can mean and be – especially when we learn to take our
eyes off ourselves, and take a good look around.
Until next time,
With My Best,