It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! It’s… Super-Capitalism!

So have you heard the latest financial/investment news? Some sap paid over $300,000.00 for 1938’s Action Comic Number 1 introducing Superman. Okay, well if you’re interested here’s a link to the complete contents of that comic book, right down to the Johnson-Smith ad on the back cover,  available for download, absolutely free

 

Action Comic No.1, 1938
Action Comic No.1, 1938

Since the comic book’s contents can obviously be had for no money at all, what on earth is so important about owning an “original”? It is not like owning an original Rembrandt – this thing was run off on a printing press. And it isn’t like you own an original set of drawings from this children’s pastime. So if the contents are worthless enough to give away free, why the big bucks for a no doubt fragile and flimsy 71 year old copy – and I do mean copy – of this thing?

 

The answer, I fear, lies in the very fundamentals of that misunderstood system called Capitalism as practiced in the U.S. where people see only money and so they turn everything into a commodity. When lose a sense of the values in life and are cajoled into buying a house strictly on the hopes that it will go up in price so they may turn a profit, rather than buying it as a place in which to live and raise a family (or not) what can you expect but a Niagara of mortgage defaults?  When people have millions of dollars but they hear about a magic man who can take their money and double, triple, quadruple – the sky’s the limit – their original investment, what can you expect but an ocean of people busted and broke because they lost all their money? People cannot feel satisfied when they have an advertising/marketing industry keeping them in a constant state of worry that they don’t have “enough” or that someone else has more of whatever it is than do they.  So we end up with suckers handing over the money to a nice Jewish boy running the world’s largest Ponzi Scheme that we know of. People handed over millions of their dollars to this man because they thought it would make them more millions – as if what they had was not sufficient – but mostly because word got out that Madoff only took investments from the “very best” people. You had to be one of the world’s elite even to get considered by Madoff as a client. Madoff combined good old fashioned greed with snob-appeal and the suckers beat a path to his door, forking over the dough while licking their lips as they drooled.  Now these formerly rich people – the very same who only a year ago blamed our nation’s banking and  financial troubles on “ignorant” “fools” who should have known better than to buy a house they could not afford – now these people are clamoring for the government to pay them what was stolen from them. But, hey… That’s Show Biz, folks. You were greedy and elitist enough to get taken to the cleaners, just learn your lesson and live on. People have actually killed themselves because they went from hundreds of millions to just a few millions.  So what has this to do with the Action Comic book? Everything.

Why do we even know that this piece of ephemera fetched big bucks in an auction? Do we need to know this? From the POV of the system, yes we do. Almost all of us had comic books as children so this report ignites a small spark in your mind: Damn! I wonder what my old comics would go for today! And that’s how they start to reel you in. Damn, the 10 room apartment I grew up in is going for $16,000,000! Why did my folks have to get rid of it 30 years ago! Now that little spark grows into a flame…  Damn!  Would you look at the price of gold!  Just my luck; my selfish parents had to get buried wearing their wedding rings! It’s getting hot in here…  So you try to relax with a little TV. You are a lofty type person so you put on PBS, the – ahem – educational channel. What’s this? Antiques Road Show? Holy Christ, that’s the goddamn writing desk we gave to Goodwill five years ago! Half a friggin’ million? And the firestorm begins. You are just not happy with what you have. Why couldn’t I have the original comic book instead of a download some damn priest – your truly – showed me?  Wait a minute… I have a great printer… and some damn good scans… why don’t I… Well now the Helots have got you for sure. When you could just sit back and read the Superman comic book – which by the way is not very good – enjoying it for what it is, you hate yourself for not having what you think it is worth.

But what is the real worth of a thing? Why do you feel that things make you happy? In my book I have a chapter  that looks in-depth into why and how people are made to chase the illusion of happiness through things. But the things most important in life, things like love and knowledge, get cast aside.  The increasingly pornographic advertising industry has as its stock in trade a twisted simulacrum of love; I love this car, I love this TV, I love this mattress. Same with sexuality via such things as Victoria Secret television shows. You know what I mean.

The important things like learning, our place in nature, the esoteric arts which once upon a time most people knew of and used – this is demonized and ridiculed.  Don’t you see that there is something really wrong when a tattered comic book sells for enough money to have hired teachers or doctors or nurses or spiritual guides? That money will do no good because the buyer of that comic book won’t even be able to read it! If he should slip it out of its protective casing it will instantly lose value. The thing was purchased for nothing. It is to be owned simply to say I have something you don’t have so the owner can feel superior. Superior for buying a comic book? Sadly, yes. And soon enough some other unhappy, dissatisfied sap will buy it again at auction. Yes, I know, they should change the name of the comic book from Action Comics to Auction Comics. Because this cycle will never end until people get over this idea of turning everything into a commodity. I wonder how many people stopped reading about that comic book in mid article and raced to the attic to look for those old baseball cards… This whole thing is sick.

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