To me the movie was a very simplistic metaphor so obvious that if you didn't "get it" you must be brain dead. It could have been concocted by a couple
of ATS members with film skills who thought they were being insightful and were searching for flags and stars. Either that or they're trolling.
But it set me to thinking about how "stuck" individual members of society are in the culture in which they live and how fatalistic a lot of us are
about our position, status, wealth, etc. It's really a "woe is me, I hate the Bad Guys 1%" culture, but does it have a basis in truth?
For example, in Victorian England culture you were born into a place, and because of that place you had a title and, perhaps, wealth. If you were born
poor and grew up with a Cockney accent, there was very little chance you could do well unless you were good at a life of crime. The classes did not
mix. The same was true in Rome. You had essentially four classes: Patrician, Equestrian, Plebian, and slave. Now Equestrian and Patrician could
interact, even marry. Plebians could be promoted to Equestrian for good work. Slaves could be freed and turned into Plebians, and once in a great
while a slave could become Equestrian over time. There WAS movement between the classes.
Now what about us? Are you "stuck," bro? Really? Let's look. Now Bill Gates was born rich. His father was a well-known lawyer and he went to Lakeside
High School, the most pretigious there is. There is a story about a kid who was bragging he got a ride on his father's Lear Jet. Only it turns out it
was leased. The other kids said, "Anyone can lease a Lear Jet, so no big deal." Allen, on the other hand, was the son of two librarians, but his
advantage was that he got to go to Lakeside, too, then Harvard. Gates is a physical genius--really, so despite their lucky birth, they still had to
have an idea and carry it forward. Still, they've never known poverty, either one of them.
Now contrast that to Steve Jobs. Son of very middle class, even lower-middle class parents, Jobs was socially inept. He managed a few semesters of
college before dropping out. Then he met Wozniak, son of an aeronautical engineer, a little higher on the social scale if it weren't for the fact that
he was even more socially inept than Jobs, a total geeky, fat, nerdy fellow. But these two idiot savants, and that's what they effectively were,
changed the world and got themselves into the 1% in the process, something that is repeated time and time again.
Now statistically speaking you are only going to advance one class in a generation. I was raised in a very borderline poverty situation where people
picked beans in the summer to stay alive. My Dad was an alcoholic who couldn't hold a job and didn't live at home most of the time and had a
girlfriend on the side. But my parents had a vision that I would get an education, and that is what made the difference. And I maintain that education
is the key "leveller" as far as "class" is concerned. I don't mean a proscribed curriculum; I mean "education" in the broad sense of learning to do
something useful and valuable that other people will pay you well to do.
For my part I was lucky because it was just assumed I would get an education, by hook or by crook, by grants or scholatships, by working while going
to school, by learning frugality in expenses, and by not making babies as soon as possible. And also, importantly, by not succumbing to taking a job
at the plant at $4.00 an hour like my high school buddies, watching them buy hot cars and party, while I struggled with a $200 VW and $1.25 an hour.
That's the lure of quick riches. I just kept my head down and got my first degree before I even knew it.
So now my high school buddies who worked at the plant for those ridiculously high wages of $4.00 an hour can't retire from it because the plant is
closed and they can't find work. Meanwhile, at least by some measures, I'm in the 1%. Is that an accident? Well, yeah, it is because i didn't realize
how well I was positioning myself at the time. It wasn't really intentional. Does that mean I get invited to Donald Trump's parties or dinner at the
White House? Of course not. That's another social barrier, but Steve Jobs, who started a single rung above me, did. But then, he contributed something
useful to society. He had vision and talent and he was justly rewarded for it.
Now not everyone is a genius like Wozniak or Gates, or has the marketing expertise of Jobs, or gets lucky like all three. But I maintain if you have
the energy and desire to move from one rung to the next in this society, you can. And it's more possible right here than any other culture now or in
history. In many other cultures it's impossible. Here it isn't. If you are the least bit intelligence you can do it.
If you are lazy or stupid, sorry. I'm sure you can find someone else to blame.
edit on 12/3/2012 by schuyler because: (no reason