Monday, March 9, 2015

For only $10 trillion per day... (On Obscenity, Part 2)

Recently on Facebook, a friend raised the prospect of scoring a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 23-year-old bourbon for me.

At a price of $900. For one bottle.

Even if I could, there's no way I would.

First, because the bottle retails for $250 before it goes on the black market. Second, because of a post about obscenity we put up here on WB seven years ago, and a story about a dog inheriting $6 billion.

You know that old TV commercial, where Sally Struthers told us we could save the life of a child for only a few cents a day?  It's been mocked, parodied, satirized, ridiculed, co-opted, and everything else.

But it's also been remembered. So, remember and review:

- The city of Inglewood, California, which will be in the middle of a waterless desert sooner than anyone wants to admit, plans to build a stadium.

Price: $2 billion.

- In Detroit, the Ilitch family, owners of the Red Wings hockey team and Little Caesar's pizza, also plan to build a new arena in the blighted slum they helped create by buying up properties for a decade or more and then letting the new acquisitions rot.

Price: $600 million, likely to reach $1 billion by time it's all done.

- In Saudi Arabia (speaking of waterless deserts), there was talk of a Kingdom Tower—a kilometer-high tribute to Saudi wealth—before the world oil glut suddenly threw Saudi wealth into a tailspin and threatened its AA credit rating.

Price: $1.2 billion.

- Not far away in Dubai, artificial Palm Islands and a World of islands stand (or sink) as testament to a crown prince who can light cigars and blow his nose with thousand-dollar bills.

Price: Billions and billions and billions.

- And in the same region, a certain world superpower has been waging war for the past quarter-century.

Price: $5 trillion and more.

So, back to the kids who've been ridiculed for starving to death for decades on our TV screens, having the incredibly rude manners to let flies crawl across their eyes while we're in the middle of eating popcorn.

It's still true that less than a buck a day can keep one of them alive in many parts of the world. But just for the sake of argument, let's adjust for inflation and make it two bucks, and expand our reach beyond just African kids and Central American kids, to include all-around-the-world kids. Sick ones, hungry ones, freezing ones, homeless ones. Everywhere.

And, again just for argument's sake, let's say that there's really some way to get rich men to quit devoting monuments and wars to their dicks and dollars and democracies.

Now to the calculator. A conservative estimate of roughly $10 trillion for everything mentioned here (including that bottle of Pappy) divided by two dollars, equals...

Enough to save the life of everyone of every age on earth right now, 700 times.

You know that scene in Schindler's List where Oskar Schindler finds out he's spared 1,200 Jews from execution, and then breaks down in sorrow because he didn't save more?

Yeah, South Park parodied that, too.


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