Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Rich Make Sacrifices Too

Although it seems as though America has just in the last few years gone into a structural collapse, sending its manufacturing to an enemy who has vowed to destroy us, impoverishing vast numbers of Americans, it is not only the lower and middle classes which have suffered.   Not only do the rich care deeply about the poor and middle classes as has been shown by their creation of the right wing of the Republican party and their economic policies, but the rich themselves have suffered, terribly suffered, more than most people know.

I am here to testify to you that I have personally witnessed some of the ways that the rich have suffered. These sacrifices have been made behind the scenes and hidden out of shame.  Yes, the cold wind of poverty has blown on the faces of the rich as well as the poor, and yes even the owners of the biggest corporations who laugh at the misery of the poor, even they have had to cut back on essential services.

I got to witness this firsthand when my brother was by accident elevated to the upper classes on a trip to NY.   

Many years ago, my brother, the famous film editor, came to NY to show the movie he was working on at a preview screening. The way this works is that the film editor flies out with a print of the film, works with the projectionist and makes sure that everything is done right, and then returns home with the film. These days of course, there is no film, and the film editor just loads the work print up on his thumb drive and flies to NY.   But back then, the editor flew with the film and kept it under his or her control.   In this case, I think the screening was for World War II submariners as part of a documentary being made for the History Channel, sometimes called the Hitler Channel, and the film was U571 (2000).

Although my brother is certainly not rich, his hotel reservations were made on the director's credit card, and when there was some sort of confusion, they did a complementary upgrade to a suite. And I visited him in this suite and got to see how far down the ladder the rich have been forced to descend.

The suite was a pretty good size, it seemed to be about one quarter of a floor of the 4 Seasons Hotel with a nice view of the Chrysler Building. There were several large bedrooms, and the main living room was of modest but acceptable size, you could have a party for perhaps 200 people in it.   Off on the side, there was a nice room which served as a library / study with built in bookcases. There was a goofy but expensive and large tube television (yes, must have been just before flat panels took over) that sank into a concealed space and then would automatically raise itself on command and other televisions, less ostentatious perhaps, in various rooms.  There was a kitchen for entertaining and a bar or two of course.   There were windows on three sides of the 4 Seasons and at least two entrances.   A sensible hotel room, with the basic amenities.

But you could see, you could tell, that already people were counting pennies and cutting back on essential services.

The suite only had four bathrooms, that I recall. The first three, the master bath and two others had all the normal features, with shower, bath, sauna, a telephone and a television. But the fourth bathroom, although it did have a telephone, did not have its own television.

Its shocking, isn't it, how far down we have come so quickly? One of the bathrooms does not have its own television, so its come to this? When I finally asssured myself that this was indeed true, despite my disbelief, when I figured out what this meant, I had to sit down I was so shaken.

That our rich should have to suffer so cruelly was a shock to me. America was such a great country once.

U571 on IMDB

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