Tracker Pixel for Entry

Where Boosters Meet Fences and the Rich Invest in Junk, Stuff, and Celebrities

Gadfly | April 16th, 2024

by Ed Raymond

fargogadfly@gmail.com

According to my great-grandfather many years ago, my French ancestors migrated from Normandy to Quebec to Manitoba to Wisconsin to Minnesota over the spread of more than two centuries, finally settling in or near Little Falls and then spreading to the Twin Cities. People left Europe for two major reasons: economics and freedom of religion and freedom from religion. France had been involved in many big and small religious conflicts between religions and denominations. I grew up on a farm near Little Falls and attended a French Catholic Church.

I had friends who attended the German Catholic Church and the Polish Catholic Church, but the adults didn’t talk to each other much. History tells us a lot about French peasants and the poor who ate a lot of cake according to Queen Antoinette. And the overwhelming evidence tells me Joan of Arc was transgender and a French hero who ended life burning at a stake. She refused to wear dresses when quite young.

My French hero is Nicholas de Condorcet (1743-1794), a science and mathematics major at College de Navarre in Paris. He published many works about statistics, the theory of probability, and was elected to the French Academy of Science. He was also fascinated by the American Revolution and had discussions with Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. Although a member of a high social class, he joined the French Revolution, was imprisoned by the monarchy on March 27, 1794. Two days later he was mysteriously found dead in his prison cell. His most important work “Outlines of an Historical view of the Progress of the Human Mind” was published after his death. His main point: Education is the means of abolishing inequity and inequality which is absolutely necessary for liberty and political freedom.

He wrote: “But if it be true, as every prospect assures us, that the human race shall not again relapse into its ancient barbarity: if everything ought to assure us against that pusillanimous and corrupt system which condemns man to eternal oscillations between truth and falsehood, liberty and servitude, we must, at the same time, perceive that the light of information is spread out only a little part of our globe; and the number of those who possess real instruction, seems to vanish in the comparison with the mass of men consigned over to ignorance and prejudice.” Amen to reality.

How Does the Following Barbarity, Inequity, and Inequality Ring Your Chimes?

We have many countries that exhibit no liberty of political freedom and plenty of earth-shaking quakes between truth and falsehoods in the press and social media flooding confused minds. Think Sudan, Russia, Yemen, United States, Iran, Ukraine, Syria, Mexico, Niger, China, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and Somalia just to name a few of the 195, including the Vatican.

These countries are flooded with billionaire barbarians and begging breadline barbarians. I checked the dictionary definition of “barbarian.” Very revealing with a lot of fascinating adjectives: rough, insensitive, uncultured, boor, uncivilized, greedy, fierce, cruel, brutal, crude, foreigner, and—amazingly—"not Greek or Roman.” No reason given for keeping Greece and Rome off the list. I imagine the Vatican gave a collective sigh of relief.

Oxford University, with the help of the Gallup Poll and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, has done a World Happiness Report each year for many years on 140 nations which have agreed to be polled. To keep you from suspense, I will tell you Finland, Denmark, and Iceland, once again and again and again, are the three happiest countries in the world.

The Divided States of America dropped eight places to 23rd on the overall list, but when people under 30 were polled and compared, we ended up being 62nd. We are tanking behind Guatemala, Saudi Arabia, and Bulgaria! The editor of the study said: “Disconcerting drops in the youth happiness section, particularly in North America and Europe.” What’s going on?

The report says: “Young people are becoming less happy than older generations as they suffer the equivalent of a midlife crisis. America’s top doctor, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, warned that young people are really struggling. Declining well-being among under 30s has driven the US out of the top 20 list of happiest nations.”

Why? The unhappy list is long: economic inequality, rising student debt, college cost, low minimum and starting wages, expensive health care costs, inflation, absence of strong unions, erratic work scheduling, high drug costs, pro-life and abortion laws in many states, expensive housing, climate change disasters, trans laws that affect three million and LBGTQIA+ laws that affect more than 30 million Americans, and a government and supreme court privately owned and operated by billionaire barbarians.

Would You Appreciate a 12% Salary Increase Every Year for the Last Decade?

Once again, according to Forbes magazine which keeps track of such things, the number of billionaires in the world increased to 2,781 barbarians exceeding $1 billion, gaining 141 more from 2023. Collectively, they are now worth a total of $14.2 trillion, a #2 trillion increase from 2023. A record-breaking 14 are worth more than $100 billion. The top 1% in the Divided States of America garnered a record $44.6 trillion at the end of the fourth quarter of 2024. The top 1% includes anyone with wealth over $11 million. All their gains came from stock holdings.

The value of stocks went up $2 trillion in just the fourth quarter. The value of real estate held by them went up slightly. Since the COVID-19 pandemic the wealth of the 1% has gone up 49% or $15 trillion. Remember: our national debt is “only” about $32 trillion. Another reminder: the top 10% own 87% of stocks and mutual funds while the top 1% owns half of all stock. This group does two-thirds of all consumer spending.

Not all billionaires are greedy barbarians. Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Abigail Disney have agreed to give most of their wealth away, but only about 5% have said they will give half of their huge cache away before they die. Most are so greedy they don’t even realize they might profit more by sharing their wealth on a consistent basis by paying fair taxes over many years. Daisy Pearson of the campaign group Global Justice Now put it on the line: “It is utterly unconscionable that at a time where masses of the world’s population are living in dire poverty, a few individuals are allowed to amass staggering wealth.

That is only possible through exploitation, and the monopolization of wealth and resources further allows them to amass huge power and influence over decisions that affect our everyday lives. Enough is enough—we should be regulating these barons out of existence.”

Another critic of billionaire barbarians is Luke Hildyard, executive director of the High Pay Centre think tank: “The billionaire list is essentially an annual calculation of how much of the wealth created by the global economy is captured by a tiny caste of oligarchs rather than being used to benefit humanity as a whole. It should be the most urgent mission of the coming decades to spread this wealth more evenly, proportionately and efficiently.”

What do the Top 10% Buy After They Have Their Super Yachts and Mansions?

They buy another mansion and then stuff previously worn, used, played on, or loved by celebrities. To get your heart racing, I’m going to write about people who have so much money they buy more stuff to raise their happiness quotient or make investments in stuff other billionaire barbarians will want to possess and sell later for an obscene profit. They do not understand what “common good” means or why Finland, Denmark, and Iceland can have happy compassionate billionaires who pay fair taxes to make all citizens happy. That system is called Democratic Capitalism.

Sotheby’s and Christie’s are probably the biggest “junk” dealers in the world besides auctioning off thousands of paintings and pieces of fine art worth billions of dollars in the billionaire barbarian race for celebrity. As an example, Sotheby’s just sold famous British rocker and singer Freddie Mercury’s famous mustache brush to a rich barbarian for close to $200,000.

Just a week ago Sotheby’s announced it was going to auction off Muhammad Ali’s white boxing trunks he wore when he pulverized Smokin’ Joe Frazier in the “Thrilla in Manila” with a TKO in the 14th round after 42 minutes in more than 95 degree heat. Sports experts say the trunks will bring in about $6,000,000 from some rich collector barbarian. At the same auction, a pair of sneakers worn by Michael Jordan in the 1996 NBA finals are expected to bring up to $400,000. A jersey worn by Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the NBA 2009 finals is expected to bring in up to $2,500,000 from another rich barbarian. In other auctions, Michael Jackson’s white glove sold for $350,000. That will buy a starter home in some cities.

While Rich Barbarians Bask in Luxury, 38,000,000 Americans Live in Poverty

Rachel Monroe’s “Bid For The Stars: the Booming Market in the Stuff of Celebrity'' in the March 25 New Yorker reveals a great deal about the narcissistic greed of billionaire barbarians in the collectibles market, whether it's great art or common “junk.” There are some insane, obscene, and chimp and gorilla philosophies about the collectible markets that make me cringe. Let me use Marilyn Monroe as an inclusive example.

Marilyn died of a drug overdose in 1962 at age 36 and was buried in a burial crypt in a West Hollywood Mausoleum. The space next to her is vacant, so a Los Angeles auction house is going to put the crypt next to her on the market this year. The house claims it will bring at least $200,000. I think it could be millions. Hugh Hefner of “Playboy'' fame, who made sex trafficking famous and almost respectable, had always wanted to be buried next to her. He once said: “Spending eternity next to Marilyn is too sweet to pass up.”

A little more history of rich barbarians. In 1999, Christie’s auctioned off a lot of her “things.” A Polaroid picture of her dog went for $37,000. In 2019, dresses and outfits worn by Marilyn were sold at another auction. A red silk floor-length dress from “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” brought $250,000, A yellow floor-length dress from “River of No Return” brought $175,000. A black dress she wore at a press conference to promote “Some Like It Hot” brought $100,000. An ornate oak chair she sat in for her last photoshoot was picked up for $80,000. A couch used by her psychiatrist in his office when he treated her was a real buy at $11,250.

The biggest buy for Marilyn’s dresses? The dress she was sewn into for her singing “Happy Birthday” to President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was sold for $4,800,000 in 2016.

Plans are being laid by the LA auction house to sell her “intimate” things at auction in 2024—underwear, prescription bottles, hairpins, and lots of other stuff. They haven’t decided whether to sell her bras yet. They were all lumpy and misshapen with sawdust. I’m guessing they are worried that such a revelation might ruin the entire Marilyn Monroe market—and her image.

RECENTLY IN

Gadfly

Tracker Pixel for Entry zoeabsey Tracker Pixel for Entry Aquarium Tracker Pixel for Entry PeggyLee Tracker Pixel for Entry Blackbird Tracker Pixel for Entry Bismarck1 Tracker Pixel for Entry NDCountryFest

Recently in:

Alicia Underlee Nelsonalicia@hpr1.com A midnight wedding ceremony at the Clay County Courthouse in Moorhead on August 1, 2013 was more than a romantic gesture. Eighteen couples made history on that day by exchanging vows in the…

Need more events? Check out our July 2024 and August 2024 calendars. (They're cleverly split up to save you some scrolling.)MaySpring CrowsNow - June 28, Spirit Room, FargoForty artists display works centered around a crow theme.…

Need more events? Check out our July 2024 and August 2024 calendars. (They're cleverly split up to save you some scrolling.)MaySpring CrowsNow - June 28, Spirit Room, FargoForty artists display works centered around a crow theme.…

Our opinion: Has Fargo lost its cool?By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.com On April 24, The Forum reported that Zandbroz Variety would be closing its doors after 33 years, and the announcement hit like a ton of books. Upon hearing…

By Ed Raymondfargogadfly@gmail.comIs It Possible to Move from a Tent on a Sidewalk to a Garage in the Sky? There have been wealthy people who added a car elevator to the mansion for their Bentleys so they could unload groceries…

By Rick Gionrickgion@gmail.com Holiday wine shopping shouldn’t have to be complicated. But unfortunately it can cause unneeded anxiety due to an overabundance of choices. Don’t fret my friends, we once again have you covered…

By Rick Gionrickgion@gmail.com In this land of hotdish and ham, the knoephla soup of German-Russian heritage seems to reign supreme. In my opinion though, the French have the superior soup. With a cheesy top layer, toasted baguette…

By John Showalterjohn.d.showalter@gmail.com Musicians in the Fargo-Moorhead area are often supportive of each other. They will attend each other’s shows, collaborate on projects, play as openers for each other, so on and so…

Now playing at the Fargo Theatre.By Greg Carlson gregcarlson1@gmail.comPalme d’Or recipient “Anatomy of a Fall” is now enjoying an award-season victory tour, recently picking up Golden Globe wins for both screenplay and…

By David L. Newellhistory@nd.gov If your Spidey senses are tingling, it may be because Marvelocity: The Art of Alex Ross is coming to the North Dakota Heritage Center & State Museum. The traveling exhibition, developed by the Bess…

By John Showalterjohn.d.showalter@gmail.comHigh Plains Reader had the opportunity to interview two mysterious new game show hosts named Milt and Bradley Barker about an upcoming event they will be putting on at Brewhalla. What…

By Annie Prafckeannieprafcke@gmail.com AUSTIN, Texas – As a Chinese-American, connecting to my culture through food is essential, and no dish brings me back to my mother’s kitchen quite like hotdish. Yes, you heard me right –…

By Sabrina Hornungsabrina@hpr1.comNew Jamestown Brewery Serves up Local FlavorThere’s something delicious brewing out here on the prairie and it just so happens to be the newest brewery west of the Red River and east of the…

By John Showalter  john.d.showalter@gmail.comThey sell fentanyl test strips and kits to harm-reduction organizations and…

JANUARY 19, 1967– MARCH 8, 2023 Brittney Leigh Goodman, 56, of Fargo, N.D., passed away unexpectedly at her home on March 8, 2023. Brittney was born January 19, 1967, to Ruth Wilson Pollock and Donald Ray Goodman, in Hardinsburg,…

By Jim Fugliejimfuglie920@gmail.com I am an old man. I have been a politics junkie most of my life. I have been involved in many campaigns, but have not run for office myself. Each time someone has suggested I do that, I tell them…