October 7, 2009

Viator's Review: OTSRCSU Prologue

This is Viator's take on the prologue of Ralph Nader's work, Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us. You can read the prologue synopsis here, and the Bitterly Indifferent review of the prologue here. Check back on Friday for a synopsis of Chapter 1!

We open with a view of the title page, visible in the first post. My first question was who in god's name was the African-American fellow with the mysterious smile behind Yoko Ono. Taking an informal poll I got three suggestions: O.J. Simpson, Tiger Woods, and Bill Cosby's Jewish half-brother. Nader provides the answer with a helpful list of "Dramatis Personae" in the prologue: Bill Cosby.

The dramatis personae is an interesting artifact by itself. First of all, there are seventeen, a refreshingly prime and possibly eschatological number. Second, it is limited to the captains of industry who are the heroes of this story. The villains, and there are many, simply do not matter. There will be no recap of the right wing's petty dualism and polarization here. There is only ignorance, the greatest evil, and Warren Buffett.

One thing is clear from the brief (pp. 11-13) but powerful prologue: the super-rich are gods. Literally. We know that Katrina is a big deal not because of the massive body count, or flooding, or any of the hype. The tipping point is simple: Warren Buffett misses a day of work because of it. And not only that, he hastens in his modern-day chariot to the scene, striding through one scene of misery after another feeding the hungry and feeding the sick (it should also be noted that Nader displays some classic liberal indecision here, unsure if New Orleans is "a scene from Goya or Hieronymus Bosch" {2}). It is a clever retelling of the parable of loaves and fishes, the harrowing of Hell and Paul's road to Damascus (as previously noted, Nader is a huge fan of rhetorical triads).

And to tie off this introduction, Buffett discovers "exactly what he had to do"...behind the "tall shrubbery" at his house.

Jesus, Paul and Moses. Old Testament meets New meets Warren Buffett. The gods walk among us, and they are super rich.

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