It’s sad to watch elitist millennials decry the very system that brought them the wealthy society they feel so entitled to enjoy. For example, take SALON’s article TV and film finally recognize what we already knew: Late-stage capitalism blows. I’m interested only in the social commentary in this article. I really don’t care what TV and film have to say about society as long as they tell good stories.
Tuition has risen 1,200 percent in the past 30 years, meaning if you graduated in the previous millennium, your financial relationship to a university is completely different.
And why is that, exactly? Is it because capitalism, despite all evidence to the contrary, makes things more expensive? No. It’s because the government interfered in the market, funding student loans, and the universities responded to the increased demand by doing exactly what you would expect: increasing their prices.
“Gone are the days when the state university was as cheap as a laptop and was considered a right, like secondary education,” writes Professor Jeffrey J. Williams in Dissent. “Now higher education is, like most social services, a largely privatized venture, and loans are the chief way that a majority of individuals pay for it.”
This thinking is exactly the problem. When university was cheap, it was not considered a right. Making it a social service does what socialism does to everything it touches: decreases quality and increases costs. Making the user’s pay for the service improves its quality, because if its value is low, people won’t pay for it.
For millennials, adulthood has been characterized by a dearth of middle-class jobs, more gig-economy-type contractor positions in lieu of “real” jobs with benefits.
Reflecting the reality that companies need to make money, and to do so, will work around state regulations requiring them to pay benefits. Yet the gig economy is common in liberal regions like Silicon Valley and Hollywood. How is it that the Democrats, who claim to be the party of workers and common people, have not closed the loopholes that allow this?
The cultural moment, post-Occupy and post-Bernie Sanders, has certainly shifted: It is more common to revile, rather than admire, the rich. Nothing makes for good TV or good film better than assailing those who would purport to be your moral betters solely based on their bank account.
What a load of shit. The only thing that makes for good TV or film is good story telling. Shows that beat the drum against the “evil rich” had better show good motivation to hate them other than their “bank account”. Being rich does not make you evil (though it sure seems to make it easier). Shows that make people villains simply because they are rich will automatically lose a huge chunk of their potential market.
This new era of cinema may yet be a good thing. If we no longer recognize ourselves when we look at the rich, we may stop feeling solidarity with a class that is fundamentally at odds with us.
And yet, as the article points out, people are obsessed with the rich, and fantasize about being a part of the privileged class. Attacking the rich is a fool’s errand. Rather, go after politicians of all parties who enable corporations to rig the system against the people. Money in people’s back accounts isn’t the problem; the real problem is money in politics.