Friday, October 10, 2008

The End is Near Part 3

The end is near, again, and again, and again. 

Headlines and articles herald the end of nationalization of banks and incipient socialist reform under BUSH of all people, noting that Europe, Asia and the IMF are rethinking their emulation of, or participation in, US models of "laissez-faire capitalism." Reagan-Thatcherite Univesity of Chicago School loosening of regulation and "trickle down economics" are now being evaluated as we plunge into a global depression probably worse than 1929. In truth I cannot say that I understand this phenomenon other than to know that "laissez-faire capitalism" is unjust and that of course it was bound to fail, and now I probably won't be able to afford to retire until I am 95, if I live that long. 

Yet I know that am one of the privileged few that has a home, a job, health insurance, some savings that are worth less and less but they still exist. 

Since I am a student of visual culture and media representation, I am fascinated by the ways in which this crisis is most frequently depicted through images of desperate male traders. The "masters of the universe" as Jay McInerney baptized them in the 1980s, are now seemingly suffering from a collective meltdown. The financial industry's version of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? Akin to what New Yorkers suffered after 9/11? Similar to what the majority of vets coming back from Irak manifest? (even if that Stepford Wife Cindy McCain, in a Marie Claire interview, denies that PTSD exists and claims her psycho husband was "trained" to serve and thus unaffected emotionally, blaming the problems of other vets on their immaturity and lack of military education). 

I'm mesmerized by the ways in which this profession is gendered male, and how we expect a certain invulnerability, arrogance, confidence - their collective bluff, much like a poker game, sustained our belief in our own collective economic power and invulnerability. Rarely do you see shows of emotion in men in the US. This is why Biden's choking when discussing the death of his wife and child in an accident was so jarring and riveting. This is why people loved the dictatorial confidence of Giuliani, the platitude-driven reassuring down-homeiness of Reagan and now Bush the Second, and why I have drunk the Kook-Aid for Barack Obama's empathetic yet masterful in control poise. We all want a "daddy" to tell us everything is under control.


n. said...

PM, wonderful observation! Ah, how could one not concur: there is no less gendrified profession than Master of the Universe (gendrification being an influx of female professionals, of course). Firefighters? Fisher-"men"? All yesterday's males' bastions. Right now in danger of being de-gendrified: U.S. Supreme Court Judge. Anything else comes to mind?

Petite Maoiste said...