Money, I get it, is only a concept. Still, no money can be a real problem.
Being short the price of admission is an exclusionary reality. If you feel constrained by a lack of funds that’s because lack of funds is constraining. The best things in life indeed are free, but the number of those free best things is limited. Everything that is necessary to feed and shelter comes with a cover charge.
To look at me, you can see I’m not missing any meals. I wake up in a house where the views are clear and far-seeing and the mortgage is up to date. I don’t sell my blood for hot dog money. My big problem is I can’t afford to buy an infusion of fresh blood to invigorate my fledgling editorial empire. Or rent that blood, for instance, along with the brain and some of the heart and a tinge of the soul of the clever persons that vital fluid runs through.
Let’s say my primary desire is to hire three or four editors who can write, a lead graphics designer and extend a modest budget to cover freelancer fees and sundry operating expenses, all within reason? A payroll so modest it could almost be covered by faith alone, but not quite.
Staffing up a skeleton crew requires hope and belief, also actual bones. In olden days, framing costs might come from old parents or exploitative banking partnerships or royal decree.
“There is no profit in resistance. The billionaires have risen up, and the smart money is going with their flow.”
In the deep, prehistoric past, our ancestors stripped naked, peed in the dirt, rubbed mud on their faces and beat one another’s genitals with reeds in hope water would fall from the sky. Things are different today. We the species have entered a next stage of evolution.
The process of petitioning our overlords to toss down tokens for destiny’s tollbooth has taken a virtual jump from the atavistic past. The new ritual requires the chanting of preordained value propositions off an Excel spreadsheet while wearing pristine sneakers and jeans.
The fathomless powers above, the unearthly potentates through whose fingers resources flutter to the ground, have changed uniform too. The pantheon portioning out prosperity to the lesser mortals is no longer a squabbling assemblage of Olympian divinities. Our old gods have taken a step back. Human billionaires have butted into the celestial seating plan.
If you want a place at the table, place your fate in the hands of the new deities. There is no profit in resistance. The billionaires have risen up, and the smart money is going with their flow.
Believe what you are being told. Your consolidated corporate media outlets cannot all be mis-informers. The billionaires are the avatars of the age. They are not playing. Billionaires have set themselves the task to disrupt the rest of us, the pawns, to innovate the best among us, the pawns, to save the great mass of we the pawns. I for one feel this initiative has come not one moment too soon.
In April 2018, a gang of billionaires including Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson and Laurene Powell Jobs annexed the stages of TED Conferences LLC. With fitting fanfare, this money mob unveiled its modestly named Audacious Project. The Audacious Project, insisted a TED tout, is “in some ways the most ambitious thing TED has been involved with.”
TED (a string of futurist lectures initially tethered to Technology, Entertainment and Design) has always placed ambition as a lodestar. The Audacious Project is in the game of funding audacious ambition. TED’s Audacious and mindful billionaires envision a queue of money-deficient visionaries lining up to bid on grants to fund schemes of “massive, global change.” The prerequisite for these schemes is that each proposal must be capable of impacting at least one million humans currently residing on this planet.
The Audacious billionaires will pay us to save ourselves, if we save at least one million of our fellows along the way. One unspoken motivation here is that any altruist who receives an Audacious handout has the tacit opportunity to create a cache of personal wealth. At the very least, the Audacious-approved altruist will be loosened from financial bondage for as long as it takes to effect massive global change in key performance indicator (KPI) markers of one million. I am game. Let’s shoot for smartening up one million pawns.
Where will my billionaire come from? That’s all I’m asking.
Billionaires are scattered all over the Internet. Every morning, I’m surprised one hasn’t tripped over me during the night. Then I remember; a billionaire always has something better to do.
We all see the billionaires keeping busy in the click bait universe. One billionaire is giving us electric cars. Another billionaire is supplying us a guaranteed means of subsistence existence by driving other people around in electric cars. A rival billionaire gifts our paying passengers with cars that drive themselves.
With all these transportation options, why is my particular billionaire taking so long to show up? Maybe the problem is not in the billionaire delivery system. Maybe the good ones are already taken.
- Billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar is previously engaged pumping fiscal life into the Intercept, an online news platform pursuing themes of uncover, discover, disrupt.
- Audacious billionaire Laurene Powell Jobs is also previously engaged, providing life support for Ozy, a sort of online refuge for Stanford graduates and Ivy-indoctrinated compatriots.
- The deep pockets of eBay billionaire Jeff Skoll are deeply into shoring up his Skoll Foundation, his Participant Media film company, and his “feel good while doing good” online lifestyle destination TakePart.
- Ex-Vanity Fairbig-shot Graydon Carter has claimed cultured billionaire investment manager James Coulter as a backer of Graydon’s subscription newsletter, Airmail, and basketball billionaire Mark Cuban posted up funding for Gawker alumnus A. J. Daulerio’s scrappy, short-lived startup Ratter.
Am I forgetting someone? A billionaire champion of journalistic heroism? A billionaire booster of underdog wise guys typing truth to power? A billionaire advocate of an independent fourth estate wielding impartial scrutiny like a scalpel sharpened in stainless steely truth? Oh right!That billionaire, it should go without saying, is Jeff Bezos, the billionaire who bought out the venerable and storied Washington Post.
“What kind of country are we living in, I asked, where a billionaire is permitted to walkabout unmolested?”
Jeff Bezos made his first billion of $112 billion as founder of the Amazon delivery service. His net worth jumped almost $60 billion in 2018. Aside from owning what was arguably the most trusted outlet in American news, in the Washington Post, Bezos is bound by a $600 million information-packaging contract to the CIA. Clearly, if Jeff Bezos is taking the time to keep all the conflicting interests of his complex, interconnected information-industry dealings operating independent and separate from one another, surely he can put aside a moment to be my billionaire too.
To be honest (think of this honesty as an Audacious ambition), earlier in this century I worked for a billionaire. As a social-justice editor for the do-gooder feel-good site TakePart, my evaporating pay packets were drawn from the ten-digit reserves of Jeff Skoll. While a young Canadian lad, Skoll had risked the perilous passage to America, attended Stanford University and inserted himself as an integral piece of the eBay startup.
Long after Skoll had cashed out of eBay, one day in 2012, I was strolling from lunch break toward the LEED-certified building that housed my TakePart cubicle. I spotted Skoll on the sidewalk twenty yards ahead of me, head down, trudging in the same direction. I followed my billionaire for two city blocks. Admittedly, these were two Beverly Hills city blocks, but it was an area of parking structures, with few retail or residential units. For one hundred yards at a time, Skoll and I were the only people on the sidewalk.
I doubted that two semi-incorporated blocks existed in all of Moscow or Mumbai’s swankiest neighborhood where a local oligarch could trundle along without a bodyguard and not be kidnapped, remanded into custody or assassinated. What kind of country are we living in, I asked, where a billionaire is permitted to walkabout unmolested?
The United States is, let’s face it, gay for billionaires. I’m crushing on them myself, at the moment, and I am by policy very guarded against any form of romantic resonance. Also the whole class war and the unfathomable economic divide thing keep my heart guarded and hardened.
Not everyone shares my aversion to eroticizing ambulatory repositories of intractable wealth. A woman I know tired of the way her dating narratives with entrepreneurs valuated in mere millions had been playing out. “From now on,” she declared, being sent home once again on a commercial flight, “I fuck only billionaires.”
She is a crypto thought leader working in tech; her billionaire proximity is easily arranged. By the count of Forbes, 585 billionaires populated the United States in 2018, more than in any other country. Worldwide, 259 new billionaires were minted that year. My friend is happily skipping along her treasure trail, working through the billionaire roster, secure that more will always be more and that more is always on the way, numb to any feeling that billionaires have been screwing her all along, well before she determined to start screwing them.
“Let Howard ‘Starbucks’ Schultz shoot his shot at the Presidency. What could go wrong, other than a host of unforeseen and enduring tangential catastrophes?”
Face it. Given enough money, the basic human narcissist, especially one with a tinge of sociopathic functioning, does whatever that narcissist wants to do. Other than when the billionaire narcissist shuts down a public beach right-of-way, no one objects too strenuously, until that billionaire files to run for public office. The argument against self-purported billionaires running for President is won by taking one glance at the current Oval Office occupant. But if a different billionaire, perhaps a better billionaire, files to run for President, why not? No matter who wins, the billionaires stay in the driver’s seat anyway.
Running billionaires for office cuts out the middlemen. There was no need for investment-banking intermediary Hillary Clinton failing to drum up public support sufficient to take office in 2016. eBay billionaire Meg Whitman’s second-place 2010 run for California governor had already proven that billionaires can buy failure directly. The nay-saying public might as well back off: Let Howard “Starbucks” Schultz shoot his shot at the Presidency. What could go wrong, other than a host of unforeseen and enduring tangential catastrophes?
Reported billionaire Arianna Huffington’s ex-husband, billionaire Michael Huffington, the man Arianna is named after, spent $28 million campaigning as a billionaire in a lost race to join the U.S. Senate from California in 1998. In the aftermath of a misuse of funds that might better have created 28 entry-level millionaires, Michael stepped out of his public closet as a gay man and walked away from Arianna.
The unhitched wife turned to carving out a media empire. It grew like some metastatic tumor through the heart of accountable, reliable news services. In its destructive impact upon informed national debate, the Huffington Post, a billionaire plan B, accomplished greater enduring disruption than Arianna could possibly have foreseen in her wildest investor prospectus.
The lesson of Michael Huffington’s defeat is that even when the billionaire loses territory, the billionaire’s expanding universe of rapacious consequences crushes the rest of us.
Keeping that manifest destiny of catastrophic consequences in mind, consider the aerospace competition among Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies, Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic.
Obviously, billionaires make the best petty rivals for other billionaires. That insular, hermetic circle of contention is reason in itself for the rest of us to ask hard questions. Such as: Why are these three doofuses flinging all this money out past the stratosphere?
The problem isn’t just that Musk’s February 6, 2018, rocket launch of a mannequin named Starman into the Florida heavens was linked to delays of 563 commercial airline flights that day. Possible negative outcomes are as numerous as the stars themselves, and to what end?
The billionaires have only one plausible intention for piercing the ozone layer. Their plan (an extrapolated logical objective based on behavioral pattern grids) is to send friends-and-influencers party rockets way up high, an interstellar version of sex-offender billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s Boeing 727 Lolita Express rape plane. I, standing alone, assert that we have no need for billionaire space racers ferrying Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew and other flashy perv mooches to the near side of Uranus in fleets of interstellar orgy craft.
Manifestly, the billionaire space race is misguided. The funds can be put to better use right here on the earth, specifically in the earthly realm of cyber space where at this moment, as you plainly see, I am currently operating.
“Step forward, my mega-rich future friend and benefactor. Do not be caught lined up against the wall with a host of less-thoughtful money magnets.”
More billionaires should follow the grounded example of Laurene Powell Jobs. In July 2017, while footing the bills at online money pit Ozy, Laurene Powell Jobs and her for-profit Emerson Collective became majority owners of the Atlantic, an American legacy publication furthering citizen literacy since 1857.
Furthermore, in October 2017, Powell Jobs was prepared to launch an intellectual digest called Idea in collaboration with highbrow clown Leon Wieseltier. A week before the publish date, proud Wieseltier of the leonine gray mane was exposed as having been a lowlife while at the helm of the New Republic, offering a “shaken apology … for my offenses against some of my colleagues in the past.”
My dear Laurene, rest assured. No reason for an ill-fated uncoupling awaits you within my Skeevy editorial blueprint. Unlike pompous sneak Wieseltier, my offensive lows are public record. In fact, the lows are right up there with my highs, transparent and obvious and in no position to come out from nowhere at the last moment, undermine our profit-seeking relationship and embarrass and shame you as a benefactress.
In closing, I have a message for that one billionaire, the one who will be mine. I don’t know who you are, but I know you are out there, within range of this missive. Almost 600 billionaires reside in the U.S. today. Worldwide, five new ones are minted every week. I don’t get along with everyone, that’s true. Richard Branson, for instance, his hair is a deal breaker, just too good for me to talk to him free of resentment. But the numbers are promising. Line 600 billionaires against a wall. At least three of them will match outlooks and personalities with me. Step forward, my mega-rich future friend and benefactor. Do not be caught napping on this opportunity, lined up against the wall with a host of less-thoughtful money magnets.
I will take charge of you. You need a mentor, and more. You need redemption. I am very into redeeming. I am highly redeemable.
We have work to do, good work. Pay me to pay an art director, a few editors and a string of contributors. Lease a few rooms to work in. We will change the world, maybe not the whole world, but my world, my entire world, definitely.