The Media “Madoff” with Sanity

13 08 2009

 

 The irony isn’t lost on me concerning the news coverage of the Bernie Madoff swindle. The disgraced former securities investor is accused of stealing over 50 billion dollars of the savings and investments of many privileged charities and private investors through an old fashioned “Ponzi” scheme. The peculiarity lay in the image of a recent news reporter standing outside of a courthouse awaiting word as to whether or not Mr. Madoff would have his bail revoked, thus barring him from returning to his upper west side penthouse. The criteria upon which to judge this revocation is determined by whether the accused is a flight risk or poses a threat to the community. Now this gentleman is accused of stealing incredible amounts of money from presumably hard working and honest people. I reiterate that the crime is that he stole the life savings and charitable funds from many trusting investors, most of whom had developed personal relationships with the accused. This act is apparently not threatening to communities. Moreover, since the alleged crime is one of theft, of money mind you, and apparently since Mr. Madoff is such a nice person, he would never think of using some of his ill gotten gains to disappear, preferably to a nice “third world country” with no extradition treaty. The question I posit is, how doesn’t this meet the criteria for bail revocation?

This man has stolen more money that any small time hoodlum ever could by robbing liquor stores and mugging unsuspecting old ladies on their way to church. Yet, most of these petty types of criminals are shuffled into the jail system quicker that you can say police brutality. Many times bail is denied, and these accused assailants must await their day in court while remanded to a detention facility. This disparity is absurd. The extent of Mr. Madoff’s actions will be felt for years if not generations, and will affect directly and indirectly millions of people in society. This is due in large part to Mr. Madoff’s need to entitle himself to a lifestyle that he couldn’t afford to support by working in the traditional manner. The same motivation that influenced him, lies within the petty thief or small time hood, and yet while Mr. Madoff pays for his lawyers and bail with the exact money which he is accused of pilfering, other crooks, without the access to the level of larceny he enjoyed, sit and await trial in jail. These thieves are usually represented by some jaded or fresh faced public defender, with an exorbitant amount of student loans who probably took the job because they barely made it out of law school and couldn’t get recruited on a fast track to a partnership with the firm of Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe. This poor sap’s attorney is probably half drunk from the previous night’s revels, and is gearing up for another night on the town. No doubt in search of more would be model/actresses to fool into a one night stand at the promise of a safe life in the suburbs and the prestige that goes along with being the wife of a Doctor/Lawyer/Cop/Entrepreneur, who really knows how to make money and invest it wisely. This is all done of course to support the lifestyle to which she aspires and will soon be the one to which she is accustomed, upon the filing of her divorce papers for abuse and irreconcilable differences, but I do digress.

The tragedy in the buffoonery of these two distinct treatments, which is perfectly symbolized by the Dartmouth graduate standing in the freezing New York city wintry weather to report the facts as she sees them, is that, not one time has there been mention made of the ridiculous system that encourages the behavior of all parties cited in this article, including my facetious references. The simple fact that I conclude is that people are of the mistaken belief that money equals intelligence. It is accepted in US/European culture, that if one has made money then that fact defines ones perspicacity. But, when one looks at that generally accepted belief through the prism of the wholly ridiculous behavior described within this article, we can attest that this calculation just ain’t so.

Mr. Madoff’s victims trusted a man with their money based on the emotional security that he provided, by portraying confidence through interpersonal communication, and yet street corner crack dealers and pimps don’t have access to the social circles that Mr. Madoff exploited. If they did, I am sure they would be more than adept at convincing people that they could hold their money and return even more than they gave, if these kind and very beautiful people would just wait a while.  Is there something to be understood about the nature of the American culture through the fact that even though, similar acts are committed by these two examples of criminality,  affirmative access is allowed to one to perform these crimes on a grand scale, and the other is relegated to relatively small scale street crimes? The prejudices that are overtly or passively accepted, that consciously or unconsciously pervade the thinking in the US, tacitly assert that; just as long as the criminal has access and, is a bit more sophisticated in his approach, he is able to avoid the harsh retribution that one would receive if they are barred from entry to this corporate class. Additionally, aspirants to this corporate class  haphazardly defend the small time crooks for the promise of access to the social ladder,  once their indentured servitude has expired in part, with reconciliation of their student debt.

It is even more indicative of the lunacy in the American culture when some of the corporate class victims of Mr. Madoff’s shenanigans, find the possibility of living in the strata from which they were previously protected by their wealth so harsh, that choosing death is better. So much for the idea that making the right decisions being why one becomes successful.

Lastly, back to the television journalist braving the winter cold to report the failed processes of the justice system. Although she is educated, and representative of the corporate class herself, she sees no insightful ironies contained within her activity to add to her report. Therefore, I determine from this farce that the American people, seem to be under the delusion, that freedom and democracy means striving to win the lifestyle lottery, while finding acceptance for being smart because of being successful, comfortable, and having money. All performed with the least amount of introspection, critical analysis, and skepticism possible.

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