Friday, January 11, 2008

Arnold Schwarzenegger

I believe we are living in absurd times. Certainly the past seven years have been, in my opinion, almost surreal. I think a clear indication of the absurdities of our times is represented by Arnold Schwarzenegger being the governor of California. Many others probably agree with this conclusion, but I suspect for different reasons than mine. The usual reasons some folks think of Schwarzenegger as absurd have to do with his being an actor, and a kind of wooden actor in fairly shallow action adventure movies, movies which were largely about things getting blown up. But that doesn't strike me as significant. Not really. The man, however wooden he might seem on screen, did a fine job at what he did. The man is intelligent enough and however shallow his parts might have been, people were paying him a lot of money to do them. To have done other than take the jobs would have been stupid. No the movie career does him no damage in my book.

The absurdity comes in two parts. On the one hand he ran for governor, and won, based in large part on how taxes were killing him, and folks such as himself could hardly survive the burden of these many taxes. Now the thing that strikes me is that Mr. Schwarzenegger is an actor, an actor in movies. He has made quite a fortune by acting in movies. But, I don't know if you have noticed, there is quite a lot of concern on the part of those who make movies about controlling who can copy, sell and trade the movie once made. These folks go on quite a lot about how much money they loose when you or I copy movies outside of copyright restrictions. There are warnings from the FBI (That's the Federal Bureau of Investigations) on every DVD concerning civil and criminal penalties for copying the disk illegally. So it seems pretty clear to me that someone like Mr. Schwarzenegger is able to make the kind of money he does by making movies in no small part because the Federal government is there to enforce these laws and insure that he, and the studious, do make all the money off of the films that they hope to make. Mr. Schwarzenegger himself does not do the work needed to insure these restrictions on copying his movies are met. Most of that work is done by the FBI, the justice department, the courts and the federal penal system. Oh, that's right the State Department helps out a lot with regard to international use of his films. So basically the Federal government does a lot of work that creates like $100 million dollars for Mr. Schwarzenegger and he is complaining that he only gets to spend like $80-85 million of those dollars that other people worked to provide for him. I don't dispute the value of his labor, but that can only be a part of the money he makes. Much of it comes from copyright.

That's not even the most absurd thing. I'm just getting to that. I mean if someone is raising millions of dollars for me, why not try to squeeze a few more millions out. Ok, I would probably have too much self respect for that, but still hard nosed businessman tries to get everything he can, that's life. What is amazing is that giving this absurd whining that the $85 million we give to him is not enough and is "killing" him, we get all sympathetic and vote him into office. That is absurd.

Actually, that is only part of the absurdity and probably the smaller part. The larger part of the absurdity is that the opposition party is not really pointing out this disparity. The opposition party is still kind of going along with the idea that all this money generated by FBI warning and federal copyright laws and the like is all really Arnold's money and we are taking his money to run the government, but doing so is for a good cause. No, much of the wealth is being created by these federal programs and only part of the wealth created by the federal government is being spent by the feds. Most of it is being given to Mr. Schwarzenegger.

This too is absurd.

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