I spent my day off watching Netflix’s Dirty Money.
I love the subject of corporate intrigue. Even when you don’t know what the fuck is going on, it doesn’t matter. It’s bullshit stacked on top of bullshit; it’s not only deception of others, it’s about deceiving yourself.
I doubt that the Volkswagen engineers ever uttered the words “defeat device”. I’ll give Scott Tucker the benefit of the doubt (although he probably doesn’t deserve it)…it never occurred to him that he was ripping off the poor. HSCB probably WANTED to stop drug money funneling through their banks, but internal bureaucracy (and cartels intimidating local bankers) fostered a “look-the-other-way” attitude.
It’s bullshit stacked on top of bullshit.
It’s corporate lawyers telling executives what they want to hear. It’s the board’s the concern for shareholders. It’s a nightmarish bureaucracy that allows the CEO to claim plausible deniability.
This is why the idea of business ethics is laughable. One has push the bar as far as possible…right up to the line of cheating. That’s how you gain a strategic advantage. The objective is to make as much money as possible. Questions of “doing the right thing” don’t factor in.
That’s not quantifiable.
Whatever horseshit Walmart, Starbucks, Amazon, and others tell you…they don’t give a fuck. They’re selling you the image that they’re “ethical”. If they didn’t think this image would give them a strategic advantage, they wouldn’t be doing it.
But this is the water we’ve been living in. This shitty, polluted water. We’ve gotten used to it. We can’t imagine it any other way. (This is why we’ve quit giving a fuck about nuclear weapons as well. This generation has grown up with a gun to our heads. It just doesn’t factor in to our list of concerns anymore. But that maybe neither here nor there.)
When John Lydon was discussing the garbage strike during his Sex Pistols days, trash was piled up on the streets. People ignored it. Lydon’s advice (paraphrasing): “Wear the garbage bag! Then you’re dealing with the problem!” The neoliberal response to today’s problems is akin to England’s reaction to Lydon’s garbage strike: just ignore it, work around it.
The unsung hero of the far-left DSA is Amber A’Lee Frost. She’s a co-host of Chapo Trap House and a writer for The Baffler. Frost is the ONLY person that I’d call a genius living today. In fact, there’s only been TWO geniuses in my time: Prince (the musician) and Frost. Some time ago, she coined the term “Dirtbag Left”.
A cursory Google search of “Dirtbag Left” doesn’t reveal much. Only the podcasts Chapo Trap House and Cum Town are cited as examples. Some like it. Most hate it. Frost was the subject of attacks from the lukewarm neoliberals for her views (that’s why she’s not on Twitter anymore, if I’m not mistaken). In fact, “Dirtbag Left” might not even be a thing…just something Frost said and it took off in the public imagination.
But it conveys a powerful image.
Neoliberalism has never cared about the trash piled up in the streets. It has concerned itself with how to best live with it. Many of the movements associated with the Left have adopted this attitude. Modern feminists have pondered the question “why aren’t there more WOMEN billionaires?”. Frost’s response is: “who gives a shit? Why are there BILLIONAIRES?!”. By pondering such questions, the Left isn’t addressing the problem. We’re learning how to live with garbage….to pretend like we don’t see the problem: the very thing that’s causing all our OTHER problems.
So what the fuck is the “Dirtbag Left”?
It isn’t anti-feminist, homophobic, racist, or whatever halfassed criticism neoliberalism has thrown at it. Unlike the neoliberals, this so-called “Dirtbag Left” are actually focus on ENDING those problems. It’s about taking the extra step.
It’s looking at the bullshit.
It’s “wearing the garbage.”