Fordlandia!

Falling through the universe at the speed of life

By David Glenn Cox

In 1920, a poll listed Henry Ford as one of the greatest humans ever to have lived, behind Jesus and Napoleon. It is a sad trait but human, the uber worship of the rich and successful. A man buys second hand septic tank truck and goes into business for himself cleaning septic tanks. Ten years later, with a fleet of fifty septic tank trucks, his opinions become relevant. This man is brilliant and knows the septic tank cleaning business inside and out, he should be in Congress!

Ford’s problem as is every billionaire’s problem, is not buying into your own hype. You were a country boy from Michigan, but as his success grew, he began to talk. People thought it was important because Henry Ford said it. He had opinions on everything, dancing, hairstyles, jazz music. His strongest opinions were his antisemitic tirades. Imitating the cracker barrel boys of his youth jawing down at the country store, in the days long ago of the 19th Century.

By the time the Great Depression hit, Ford was seen as a part of everything that had gone wrong in the economy. Ford in frustration to a world that wouldn’t bend to his will lashed out at workers saying, “Americans won’t do a good day’s work, if they can get out of it!” But Ford was caught up in his own hype and dream world.

As one the richest men in the world, it was whatever Ford wanted, the world should do. So, Ford built Fordlandia. A giant plantation in South America to grow rubber trees on command. Only, rubber trees won’t grow on command, even if the richest man in the world tells them too.

Mansions and drivers, servants and yachts. Dinner with the President or other billionaires and captains of Industry. Living inside the Elvis bubble, are you getting fat? Even though they tell you, you’re not getting fat. “You just got big bones under your chin.” Oh, wouldn’t it be wonderful? People currying favor and needing answers from morning till night. With secretaries assistants and interns? Did someone say, Henry David Thoreau dragging a farm to the grave?

You make decisions and attend meetings about making decisions and attending meetings. Interacting with hundreds of different people, all anxious to curry favor with the boss. It’s inescapable, lethal, and as addictive as morphine. Wealth opium, “We fly to Paris for the photo shoot and then home. I’m gonna spend all day Saturday on that yacht I bought last year. (I’ve e-mailed the Captain.) Then Sunday fly to Morocco for the motorcycle races. Monday the photographers will be here for the photoshoot at breakfast.

I recently saw an interview with Elon Musk. What surprised me was his composure. He was almost frail like a Michael Jackson character, like someone performing. Like a dog without a bone or an actor out alone. Like he was expected to say something brilliant, when asked, “how do you like the weather?” He just decided to buy that first septic tank truck that’s all, because it seemed like a good opportunity.

The car does good, Elon be praised! The rocket does good, Elon be praised. Elon is a manager, not an engineer, he says “That sounds like a good idea,” but he doesn’t actually have the good idea himself, he just takes the credit for the good ideas.  

But once you amass that mega fortune and you have a bathroom attendant to wipe your backside and brush your teeth for you. Life can get a little empty. Filling Xanadu with treasures from around the world and filling every desire with every desire. Having an actual Egyptian mummy in the pool room. Because you want it, that’s why! Money has no actual meaning, you can have whatever you want, no matter what it cost.

You could actually afford cocaine addiction without busting the budget. This is the legendary Kielee weed grown high up on the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, said to be a possible cure for cancer and return the dead to life. My consciousness couldn’t handle it, and God has granted me the privilege of never having to worry about such a disaster befalling me.”

Now, Elon wants to buy Twitter in the same way a small boy wants to buy a pack of baseball cards. Just to see if he gets something good inside. An Ernie Banks or a Mickey Mantle or Bo Jackson Rookie card. Henry Ford thought the reason no one had thought of ordering rubber trees to grow on command before. Was because it took a genius, someone like a Henry Ford to think of it!

Elon is in the car business and the space business. What does he need with a social media platform that doesn’t make any money for? (Fordlandia!) He’s going to take it over and make it fly right. And the first thing he’s going to do, is repeal the Twump Prohibition. Now remember, Elon hasn’t bought the place yet, and he’s already talking about remodeling and taking the pictures down off the wall. Twump for his part, lies and says he wouldn’t go back on Twitter. But ah, we’re talking about a junkie and his black tar here. He’d be back in a shot.

Meanwhile, Devin Nunes says, “Doah!” Trying to resuscitate Twump’s failing bitter Truth social media platform, while Elon waves to Twump for a possible seat at the grown up’s table. Is it genius or clumsiness? Elon just torpedoed Twuth. By his remarks, he just lowered the value of Twitter and Twuth. Now, Twitter wasn’t making any money before when Twump was still allowed on Twitter. Twitter wasn’t making any money after Twump was banned. What stretch of logic indicates that allowing Twump to return is the road to profitability? Well mainly, Elon thinks it will take a genius, someone like an Elon Musk to make it work right.

As institutionalized as a prisoner in the state Penitentiary and plundered by prosperity. Living in a Twilight Zone episode, “oh, ho, ho, no Mr. Musk, wherever did you get that idea from? This isn’t heaven, Mr. Musk! Ha, ha, ha,!”

“America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves. To quote the American humorist Kin Hubbard, ‘It ain’t no disgrace to be poor, but it might as well be.’ It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. The meanest eating or drinking establishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is very likely to have a sign on its wall asking this cruel question: ‘if you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?’ There will also be an American flag no larger than a child’s hand – glued to a lollipop stick and flying from the cash register.” – Kurt Vonnegut

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