It's enough to recall the words of Austrian satirist Karl Kraus, who said, "The secret of the demagogue is to make himself as stupid as his audience, so they believe they are as clever as he."We’re not sure why we chose to open with this line from an article we read several years ago, except we just want to. It may become clearer in the ‘fullness of time,’ and from what we're seeing, time is getting pretty full.
Observe the photo above, which symbolizes a blatant disregard for cash money. For purposes of this post, this means other peoples’ money, often abbreviated ‘OPM,’ pronounced like ‘o-pi-um.’ Some readers may consider the gentleman is suggestive of a certain Johnny Protocols with another ten years or so on his bones, but we have no comment.
Continuing the random walk through the arcade that is our mind, we wonder if you remember the classic Simon and Garfunkel number from the late 60’s. We bought the album about the same time we purchased our first house, and before long, we were wearing double-knit bell bottoms; buckle-strapped loafers; and floral patterned shirts with 6” collar points.
You’re probably having a hard time taking that all in, but trust us, it’s at least as hard for us to accept we actually lived through those years and dressed that way. You may think we altered our mind with undocumented pharmaceuticals during that age, but we didn’t. Unless Coors fits that bill.
In case you’ve forgotten, here are some of the lyrics:
"Fools", said I, "You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you"
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
In the wells of silence.
And the people bowed and prayedThe photo at the top of this post is characteristic of a ‘money grows on trees’ attitude. The consequence of doing so, as many in our region and culture do, is that you tend to think of money as a ‘renewable and sustainable’ resource, more or less the equivalent of firewood. Especially free money from governments.
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls"
And whispered in the sounds of silence.
We find that good intentions, most often those of the anointed ruling class, lead to the burning of public money in large amounts. In particularly egregious cases, one thinks of incineration, as suggested in this visual:
Incineration requires an incinerator, that much reviled icon of the modern-day consumerist society, in which the concept of psychic waste finds fulfillment. But allow us to suggest that we are now being visited by a new type of incinerator – a mobile one that can do its work at whatever location best suits the zeitgeist of the moment.
Imagine if this incinerator had redeeming value that endeared it to certain elements of the community. And that it was a form of ‘audible art.’
Imagine no more, Brunswick, because this incinerator is upon us. If you have no idea what incinerating money sounds like, you are about to find out.
That’s what we do; we give you the story you won’t get anywhere else. We provide here a video of the mobile incinerator in action. As we understand it, this incinerator is in use 24 hours a day, whether moving or not, and carrying passengers or not. Seven days a week. The dollars it’s actually burning up in fuel are only part of the story, as you can well imagine.
This video is shot from the northeast corner of Bouchard Drive, and as you watch it, imagine that this is your plight. As the camera pans to the left, you see the backyard fence in the house closest to the ‘action.’ Most critical is that you have your sound on and turned up so you can hear the marvelously silent sound of good money burning. (Or should we say good borrowed money?)
To many at NNEPRA and in local officialdom, this is “the sound of silence.” And the Amtrak train to Brunswick is a fine stand-in for ‘the neon god they made.’
We might suggest, however, that the incinerator be moved to another nearby location. We hear tell that Bowdoin College considers itself the owner of the ‘intellectual corridor’ from Maine to Boston, now that train service has begun. Apparently, trains can transport intellects, but busses can’t. Anyway, in respect of Bowdoin’s ‘ownership,’ se suggest the incinerator be moved east just beyond Maine Street and The Mall.
We’re thinking that locating the incinerator just a skosh beyond the Federal Street track underpass would make it ever so much more ‘accessible’ to the Bowdoin community, including the President’s House.
In a related thought, perhaps our local creative culturati can make some professional recordings to turn this into a symphony of sorts for train buffs, or for transcription into digital form for sound effects in today’s incredible model trains. Or feature it as an element in the great summer Music Festival.
Here at Side, we much prefer the clickety-clack rhythm of Johnny Cash in ‘The Orange Blossom Special.' And we prefer our trains to pass by, not park and plague.
But that’s just us. We haven’t been properly trained.