A few weeks back I brought up the Forbes Billionaires list and how utterly creepy it is, but in perusing that I confirmed a long time suspicion of mine. There are zero artists on it. Zero musicians. Zero writers. Zero psychedelic philosophers. Zero athletes. Zero animators. Zero comedians. Zero anybody who does anything cool really.
One of the most telling figures I ran into one day while I was pouring through a ton of economic data was that for every person who gets rich as a broadcaster, actor, musician, or athlete, there are two people who make exactly as much money being unemployed. They sit around and let their money “work for them”. Meaning that for every Maynard James Keenan, Steven Colbert, or LeBron James, there are two people just as rich who do absolutely nothing.
LeBron James is a pretty great example of that actually. I mean, the dude’s rich as fuck right? Well absolutely, he currently has an estimated net worth of 400 million dollars with all the endorsements and everything. Buuuut, what I didn’t realize until I started looking at this creep list, is that he technically works for a guy who’s worth more than 14 times what he is. No really, Cavs’s owner Dan Gilbert is worth like 5.8 billion, and he got a lot of that scratch by fucking people over in the subprime mortgage crisis, rather than being you know, the best at this super competitive thing he does like LeBron James. What’s even more unbelievable is that in relation to other billionaires, Gilbert’s not even that rich. He’s tied for #250 on the list. Not anywhere near the top. Here, take a look:
Anyway, while people like the Koch brothers and Fox News keep getting everyone riled up about the “Hollywood Elite” because they don’t like their politics, there’s actually only one artist of any variety that made it on this list as far as I can tell. That’d be Steven Spielberg who’s tied for #501 with a net worth of 3.7 billion. I’ve heard J. K. Rowling is technically a billionaire as well, but I tapped out when it started getting into the thousands. I suppose my point is, this is all just propaganda people. It’s billionaires turning poor and middle class people against millionaires. This is the goddamn world we live in. The millionaires on TV are pretty easy targets with their high visibility, but come on. There’s not that many of them, and comparatively, they’re not that powerful economically. Their bosses? Yeah, those people suck.
Look, as an artist I should be the one hating these people. I’d love to get paid to work on a film or make an album or go on tour but none of these folks would give me the time of day. Even on a local level as a musician, almost anybody who’s anybody as a local promoter wouldn’t give me the time of day and the people who wouldn’t give me the time of day on that level typically work day jobs. You think I have a publisher interested in my shit at this point? Right.
And yet, I don’t hate these supposed “Hollywood Elites”. Just because they’re the ones you want to fuck and hang out with, doesn’t mean they’re in control. Their job is to funnel money up to shitty billionaires, just like yours probably is. I have no idea how anyone can look at this kind of thing while not constantly suppressing the urge to kill, but if you can somehow stomach it, have a go.
“That kind of populism Ronald Reagan would have choked on,” the Forbes Media chairman and CEO said on “Squawk Box.” “What people want is a vibrant economy. They don’t care if Bill Gates gets richer. They want to know: ‘Is my paycheck going up? Are my prospects improving?”
What a dick. Look, if we continue to get excited about 100 extra bucks a week while we’re making some other dude 100 million, we’re fucked philosophically. Jesus wept. If the “Hollywood Elite” are guilty of anything, it’s pacifying the shit out of us while we all let this happen. Their job is to help funnel money up to the top and they’re damn good at it I might point out.
While they were doing that, Silicon Valley found a way to make artists essentially work in their servitude forever. This is going to keep getting worse until we finally turn our back on these greed mongers. We need to turn inwardly. Fucking is free and weed is as cheap as it’s ever been. Dreaming costs nothing and there’s amazing art of every variety anywhere you look these days. We don’t need the bullshit lifestyle these people are selling us. Until we can stop wishing that we were billionaires rather than outwardly rejecting their hollow lifestyles, we’re fucked.