(noun, etymology Dutch from ‘boedel’: estate, possession, inheritance, stock.). 1. Crowd, pack, lot, as in ‘the whole boodle.’ 2. a. Counterfeit money b. Money acquired or spent illegally or improperly, particularly when used in bribery for political purposes. 3. Slang for money in general.

Junk Money

Posted on: Nov. 29, 2011  |  By: Ronnie Kahn  |  Category: General

I dream worlds.  They are other worlds which I figure must be in alien realms or distant lands.  I used to dream about relationships which contained the characters in my life like one would view a play at a theater.  No more, I only see some bizarre world where I can’t explain what happens or why.  It is a world of space junk.

I am not a nostalgic person.  I lived in a different world once, an actual world that was not a dream.  While I do not long to go back to that world, there were parts of it that I have come to deeply appreciate.  In our world today, I do not appreciate that we are filled with junk science, pop psychology, and media infatuations.  Most of all it is a We-They World that just doesn’t seem to work.  It seems as most of us think that we must protect our own interests from big governments or those who would make a quick-buck no matter whom they hurt.  That point is not lost on me but I remember a time though when we felt confident that things would keep improving.  The world seemed much less We-They probably because of the cultural remains of World War II which had brought the country together with drives to save our resources and a solidarity that could hopefully protect us from evil forces.  It was a time of modernism where the big narrative was a machine.  This metaphor means that some parts of a machine do more work than others but ultimately machines must work together to work their overall purpose.

When I was growing up in the early sixties, it seemed a time of promise and wonder.  Our classroom would gather and watch Mercury astronauts rocket-launched into space.  The space race with the Soviets made us feel that we must put our total efforts and means into not falling behind in math and science.  The Kennedy administration tried to tap into the intellectuals of the world by filling the cabinet and government with all types of academics and bow-tied eggheads.  It wasn’t just those at the top though as everyone seemed to value those autodidacts who could read, invent, and create new things.  Sadly, we no longer value self-learning, we value self-improvement.

There even seemed to be a folk music resurgence in the early sixties.  Little did I know that this Kumbaya was partially calm before the storm as well as a period of equality of opportunity much more than it was a time of equality of condition.  The calm before the storm would be in the form of The Vietnam War that would just a few years later be the wedge that would shatter this whole spirit.  At the same time, things were far from perfect in those days.  The equality on the surface was not one that was shared by those that were different such as most non-whites, homosexuals, or gender inequality especially in the workplace.

Television really had not completely sunk its teeth into culture and not only was science and math respected but reading was very common.  While some may have started their two to three hour a day couch-potato ways, those same individuals were also likely to be Book-of-The-Month Club members.  When I go to a coffee-house and see a person sitting by themselves in this day and age, I am very unlikely to see someone holding a book (or even a tablet or E-Reader) but am far more likely to see someone on a smart phone or just staring off into the distance and not in an introspective way.

I and most of my friends, even while being wet-behind the ears, loved to laugh at this Middlebrow Culture in those days.  There were Jacqueline Susann books and Reader’s Digest shortened versions of “real” literary works.   Even our homes were filled with decorations based on laughable designs that would later be Kitsch but we just saw them as some horrid not-even-close attempt to be highbrow.

Now I look back at it with a different take.  In the classification of if I knew then what I know now, when it comes to mass culture, we weren’t even a Category One Hurricane yet.  The masses still read things like newspapers and books.  Science co-existed with religion.  Education was not just about test scores.  We hadn’t quite sold our soul yet for youth and beauty.  News wasn’t infotainment.  There were celebrities but celebrity was not a culture in itself.  While the products and marketing to the middlebrow may have been a bit “schlocky” it still exposed many to a wider and less provincial world.  Comparing our worlds, when it came to money and knowledge, there was still a value given to reason then but this has been mainly lost in today’s current sense and material culture.  Even more to the relative point is that we actually thought the times were too fast even then.  I could hear a new revised Back to the Future kid rolling their eyes while spewing “Booorrriiing” if they had to experience those times now.   The word for the misapplication of common sense with emotion is “junk.”

Not only have we descended into junk psychology, junk science, and junk thought but we have junk money.  This form of illogic takes a couple of reasonable theories and mixes in some pseudo-cause-and-effect and then presto, we have a conspiracy.  We see this a lot in what amounts to those who bad-mouth the corrupting effects of money on everything which the world contains or that the free market will provide a panacea for every societal ill.  We also see this in the tax-the-rich debate from both sides on what effects taxes will have on our economy.  In one scenario more jobs will come about and in the other the rich just get richer.  How did we end up with today’s individualism on steroids when in the early sixties we were individualism lite?  Does a lack of reason contribute to everyone being able to believe anything and just end up where we are always sure that we are right and the other guy is not?

In the We-They World, we even fight over whether equality means equality of opportunity or equality of condition.  Rather than an appreciation for reason, we worry that too much thinking can lead us to be out of touch or even a feeling of being superior.   Rather than religion and science co-existing, we divide the world into “are you with us or against us” worldviews.  Moderation seems downtrodden by fundamentalists or “my way or the highway” extremists.  Everything is emotion.

Money is action and motivations as countless numbers of decisions interact each second.  Money too though has given way to emotion and lost its course of reason.  In all worlds though, money is connection.  Where are all the characters of my dream world?  Have they been swallowed up, like middle culture, by the mass youth and beauty world?  Have our deep relationships been shorted out by electronic communications?  Have we lost the ability to converse and to listen before action?  If we use a common relationship terminology to describe our association to money in the Junk-Money world, our involvement would be one of casual sex.  In the Other World, money would be our soul mate.  Money and culture have so much potential.  It could be a world worth working toward and worth living in since everyone knows that money can come true.

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