Sunday, March 8, 2009

Death of a Salesman

Always the one to be positive, I think the best (only?) good thing that will come out of this economic collapse will be the end of the era of the Salesman.

Currently, and for quite some time, the most "successful" and lauded people in the U.S. have been salesmen: business salesmen, political salesmen, religious salesmen, infotainment (media) salesmen - you name it.

In the age of the Salesman, it is far more important how things look than how things are in reality. Whereas, the U.S. economy was once based on small business and then manufacturing, now in past decades, the U.S. economy has become a front-office for goods made in other countries. This means that the most powerful people in every organization are the Sales Men. People who actually get things done have been demoted to the back office, well out of sight.

There are no honest, intelligent, straight talking men to look up to anymore, because they have all been crowded out by smooth talking pretenders. We pick our politicians like we pick our apples, we look for the perfect, shiny waxed ones regardless of their intrinsic quality. It started with electing an aged, Alzheimer afflicted B-rate actor as President. Then it (hopefully) culminated with electing a draft dodging, C student, dilettante to the same office. Yet even, Obama, the "beacon of change", is turning out to just be an exceptionally smooth talking light weight with no real world experience to fall back on.

Turn on your television to any major media station and tell me that you are not being lied to almost non-stop. Obviously I am not talking about bald-faced lies, that are easily verified. The techniques are always subtle and insidious, including obfuscation, spin, bias (one-sided reporting), subjectivity and half-truths - whatever, it's still all nonsense intended to make everyone ignore facts and reality. If I can turn on CNN, Fox News or any other station and know within 30 seconds the political bias of the so-called "reporter" who is delivering the news, then that is not quality, objective journalism - that is propaganda.

When in Rome
The Baby Boomers are The Ultimate Salesman Generation. They have been trained from birth to believe that blind optimism is always the best way forward, the truth not withstanding. The same culture that gave us drug addled Hippies during the '60s, later fanned out both left and right to give us Amway salesmen, Neocons, Limousine Liberals and Born Agains. These glassy eyed sociopaths all have the same traits in common: a strong predilection towards fantasy, denial, self-delusion and hedonism - yes, even those Born Agains, who spend half their lives in Sodom and Gomorrah only to conveniently find Jesus at age 45 (after they are drugged out, sexed out, and burned out) and turn into sanctimonious hypocrites from that day forward.

Mind the Gap
Unfortunately, along with Salesman culture, comes what I call the "credibility gap" i.e. the difference between what we are led to believe will happen v.s. what actually happens. The key goal of Salesmanship of course is to push off the credibility gap discovery process as long as possible, preferably onto one's children's or grand children's generation. Unfortunately, there are times like now, when the future arrives ahead of schedule and the "gap" gets closed like a vise.

Still, in all, despite the economic carnage to date, the charade continues, as the Boomers are a lot like gerbils with a Pez dispenser - trying sadly and desperately to kick start their dying fantasy economy - wanting more stimulus, more bailouts, more government intervention, to forestall the inevitable. And yet, ironically the same salesmen are in place trying to fix this mess who got us into it in the first place. The same "captains of industry", the same "expert economists", the same politicians. And no one is more conned by this sad game than the Boomers themselves !

To most people around the world looking in at the U.S. they are just as misinformed about the current state of affairs as we are. After all, they too have been brainwashed by the U.S. media and U.S. Government to believe that the U.S. is the greatest, strongest country in the world -everything is A-Ok. Most foreigners have no idea how bad things are in this country, because the unvarnished truth and reality never see the light of day.

"You can't handle the truth"
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon how you look at it, the credibility gap just keeps on closing. Those Boomers with their undying faith in the market who just lost half of their retirement assets and 30% of their home value, won't possibly admit that the game is over. It's a lot like a gambler who parlays a fortune from nothing, but late in the game his streak turns cold and he loses half his money. Rather than accept his fate and cash in, he just pushes the whole stake back onto the table and doubles down. So it is with the Boomers, they can't walk away, because they can't accept less - it's just not in them to do so. As a generation, they have always gotten their way.

So, in the end they will all be relieved of their homes, their jobs and their retirement savings.

And don't worry about all of the phony salesmen who got us into this mess, because somewhere down the road there is a mob with pitch forks and torches heading in their direction...