Frankly, I’m finding all this rage and death threats directed at the AIG honchos to be a little baffling. When I heard what the insurance giant was doing with taxpayer money, sure, I had my moment of seeing red, but I almost immediately sighed “oh well”. That’s because I adopted a way of thinking that I recommend to anyone out there who wishes to cling to the last of their stomach lining.
First off, all of you have to rent, buy or download The Corporation, a documentary made in 2004 about, well, the nature of American corporations. No matter what your ideological bent, I’d love to hear what you think – I know it has saved me years of rending my garments and cursing at the sky, because I finally GET IT.
Put simply, American corporations have almost all the same rights as an American citizen. This is thanks to two things: an 1886 Supreme Court ruling on railroads, and a warped take on our 14th Amendment. Thus we get the concept of “corporate personhood”.
Except that large corporations, if they were to be judged as humans, are by their very nature sociopaths. It’s a fascinating argument, one the documentary does an excellent job illuminating, but what it has done for me is invaluable: it has eradicated any sense of personal wrath I might feel about a giant company. In other words, there is nothing they can do that will ever surprise me again.
And thus it is so with AIG… do you feel anger when you hear what they did with the money? Pardon me for asking, but… why? Everyone knew full well it was going to be a carnie’s shell game. Same goes for all the banks paying outrageous bonuses, the golden commodes and the private jets. Do you hold sociopaths to the same standard of accountability?
In AIG’s case, you just gave $170 billion to a giant ape, and then you were surprised he threw his feces at your face. Sure, we could take the money away, but here’s the catch: that giant ape is riding a unicycle that is powering the nation’s economy. If he falls off the unicycle, then America’s economy basically shuts down, and the Dow goes into the 3000s.
So you know what you’re going to do? Let the giant ape keep the $170 billion, get hit with his feces, and play nice-nice until we get out of this mess. Sure, we can show outrage, and politicans can make grand, impotent gestures, but why bother? IT’S AN APE.
Whether it be a primate or a sociopath, the real question is this: how did we let one company become so crucially unexpendable that our economy teeters on its very existence? I don’t know, I write scripts for a living. But I sure as hell don’t let it drag me into despair anymore. I also don’t ask my mini Australian Shepherd to drive.