The Icarus Incident(s)

Tutor was exiled to his cell, as you know, for the Pancake Episode. The cell is about ten feet below sea level, but the ceilings are high, and about twenty feet above his cot, is a small slit window, just enough to dimly light his dank room. All of a sudden, Tutor sees a shape, all white feathers, a big ball, flailing, shoot past the slit. Then in the Castle pure pandemonium! Sirens, shouting, feet on stairs, then his cell is unlocked. All hands to search for Audrey! Seal Team Seven scrambles the copter, rubber dingies are out in the tossing waves. Fortunately, Audrey somehow cleared the rocks out of which the Castle rises, and managed to hit water. So, now after hot soup, and several hours with solvent, to dissolve the epoxy and scrape off or cut out as many of the feathers as possible, Audrey is safely in her bed, with her Tutor sitting on the bed's edge, debriefing her. As when NASA rockets fail, the first question is: "What have we learned?"

Audrey's red hair is clumped, with big chunks cut out, but still there are bits of feathers, and some big clumps of hair glued together. Audrey is impassive, her eyes focused straight ahead, like a Guard at Buckingham palace, fingers clutching the bedspread, up under her chin.

Tutor: "You were reading that book I gave you?"

Audrey: (Eyelids blink assent.)

Tutor: "Bullfinch's Mythology?"

Audrey: (Eyelids blink assent.)

Tutor: "About Daedelus and and his kid, Icarus, and the maze, and how Icarus flew up and out?"

Audrey: (Eyelids blink assent.)

Tutor: "And you figured that if you did not fly too close to the sun?"

Audrey: (Face front, eyes swiveling to Tutor's.)

Tutor: "So what was different? He flew; you fell."

Audrey: (Eyes front, small smile dawning.)

Tutor: "Yes?"

Audrey: (Loud, arms flailing above her head) "Wax!"

Tutor: "Correct. Wax. You know in the Dungeon where in the old days I used to get to boil people alive, I have this big iron pot over a fire grate. I bet we could melt down a lot of candles....."

Audrey: (Eyes swiveling, face processing, brow furrowed.)

Tutor: "Of course you are all bruised up, so maybe we should have someone else do a test flight."

Audrey: (Pause, eyes lighting up.) "Master Jack!"

Tutor: "That would be my thought, yes."

Audrey: (Giggling) "He won't."

Tutor: "He will."

And so it went. Tutor presented the matter to Master Jack as a matter of Trust. Jack could demonstrate that he really is the Most Trusted Advisor, and Tess would surely appreciate Audrey being spared another life threatening fall. And Audrey, who is only a little kid, not a former All American fullback for the Yale Bulldogs, easily cleared the rocks and hit water. And surely the wax is at least a possible advantage, over epoxy. So, soon, Audrey is tearing open her feather pillows, and Jack is immersed neck deep in wax, neither too hot nor too cold. Seal Team Seven were more than happy to launch the copter, just in case Jack flew too close to the sun. You might think all this ends with Jack in a sling, in his bed. But, no, there is more. He is in a sling, but that is not how it ends.

Tutor and Audrey have now worked out a new aeronautical hypothesis. Wax would have to be beeswax, and they don't have any. But what about a Flying Squirrel? Take a blanket, and tie the four corners to Jack's feet and hands..... So Tutor and Audrey explain the plan to Jack. Jack groans, and tries to roll over, but it hurts too much. Still, the the life of a most  trusted advisor is one of constant self sacrifice.  Jack would lay down his life, as he has often told Tess, to save her or Audrey, if the time ever comes when the people in the middle class, off the island, ever invade it. His will be the last life taken, once the middle class gets past Seal Team Seven. So, in time, when he has healed up, we can see how he does as a flying squirrel. At least, he will not need to be simmered in the Dungeon's iron cauldron to remove feathers the next time.

Entrusting Audrey with the Fate of the World

I am not a specialist in dynastic trusts, but I am trying to learn more. Presumably, all of Audrey's inheritance, comprising most of the world's wealth, will be in a perpetual trust, to serve her and her descendants. I know Master Jack is a Secular Priest, a wise and virtuous man (it says so in his professional bio, and he has written several books, some on virtue, some on wisdom, and some on both; some drawing on Eastern Religion, some on the Judeo-Christian Tradition; some on Dante, some on Virgil, some on Chaucer, and no one has ever said he isn't wise and virtuous, nor questioned his taste; after all he has a high school diploma from Gunnery, and a BA from Yale, graduating with a B average, as an All American fullback for the Bulldogs), who will mentor Audrey to be a better person, but how can a trust beneficiary ever be more than a cost of doing business, a net cash outflow, for the Bank of Wealth Bondage?

With a dynastic trust, isn't the point to serve Assets Under Management and Heirs forever, using accepted corporate protocols, and generating profit comparable with commercial lending, mortgages, credit cards, and payday loans? What will happen, then, when Audrey learns that a controlling interest in all the world's wealth, which she is counting upon to own, rule, and save the world, is actually "administered" for her by Master Jack, in an account she cannot touch? If she pitches a fit, is she then "the designated patient," and Master Jack her wise counsel? When she becomes a "good trust beneficiary," how will that save the world, rather than just making it easier for Wealth Bondage to rule it and her? I have to figure this out, because how, other than in funding a dynastic trust, can Tess's  story end?

I guess, it is fine. You can't change the world. Wealth Bondage pays my bills, too. And if it were not for the cross-subsidy from the Private Client Group, I would not have this job at Gifthub. I would be back to handing out towels in the sauna,  turning tricks behind the Dumpster, or offering moral advice pro bono publico, while squeegeeing car windows outside the Bank of Wealth Bondage.

The World Turned Upside Down

When one people, perhaps better organized, with a better Leader, conquered another, erased the loser's histories, tore down its monuments, killed or enslaved the men, burned its sacred texts, raped and impregnated the women, slew the innocents, profaned the altars, then came new histories, new monuments, new laws, a new king, new coinage, new standards for a promotion, new ribbons for National Heroes, and improved standards of decency. More civilized than the savages rightly put to the sword.

When the truth is unspeakable, guilty, when it is the truth of the marginalized and subordinated, then it is best spoken without being heard, hidden in plain sight. Told in parables, fables, allegory, and jokes; overheard, not heard. Stirred up from the bottom, this is Carnival, or Mardi Gras, madness, licentiousness, the promiscuous intermixing of high and low; riot, drunkenness, abandon, the mad world of Dionysus, the god of Alexander the Great, even now in New Orleans, staged in status contest, and as good business, by the town's elite. Stirred up from the bottom (first Carnival, then Lent), it is the crucifix after the fact, held up as an object of worship - holy, holy, holy. The priest who at midnight fornicated with the mayor's wife on the altar, as the drunken crowd (including the mayor) cheered, gives the Lenten sermon in the same cathedral, and rightly so. Coming and going, both are true, just not all at once, which is why the liturgical calendar endlessly repeats, to accommodate the whole truth.

From the bottom up, the world turned upside down, what do we do with the unthinkable, the unspeakable, at least half our moral truth?  We call it art and hang it on the wall in the rich man's house. We wear britches, at times, and sometimes not. In the confessional, in a whisper, the Mayor's wife confesses her adultery, accepting penance, again on her knees. So, Wealth and The Will of God sprinkles holy water on Wealth Bondage, as priests have long blessed fleets headed off to war. On the priest's performance, no less than the whore's, Wealth Bondage, my generous patron, has built a resilient brand. May God be thanked.

Ah, Master Jack, ye knew this already, did you not? And because you do, you consider yourself Wise, having tasted the tree of knowledge, and become as a god? Such are the double-sided-truths, like the emperor's coin in the fingers of Christ, young Audrey must learn if she is to own, rule, and save, in this fallen world? That is why Tess must keep you on retainer as her most trusted advisor? Her consigliere? Secular Priest? Man of all work? Mentor to Youth? Yet, look! There Audrey is, with Tutor, hopping about like a Well Prepared Hare.  Perhaps, one day, it will be your head on the block in Tutor's dungeon, or on a raised stage as a spectacle, lesson, and entertainment for the rabble.  But, be assured, that as a Professional Courtesy, as one Trusted Advisor to another, in my capacity as the Omniscient Author Function, I will do my best to give your inevitable fall a comic turn. At least, you can be sure I will find it funny. And sometimes laughter is contagious, the best cure for the plague we spread as healers. And if you, too, smile, then all is right with the world. The laughter then passes, the wheel turns, and we can all get back to our serious business.

The Cornerstone of Wealth Bondage is the Will of God

"Bring me the stone the builders rejected, that is the cornerstone," remarked the uncanny one, passing the builders, who were building, I assume, the equivalent of Wealth Bondage, founded upon bedrock: Wealth and the Will of God. Yet, he was suggesting that the building would be torn down, to put it on another foundation altogether. The Will of God expressed through talents of silver, and a kiss, too. That is Wisdom, of the worldly sort, the foundation of Wealth Bondage then and now.

Audrey's Escutcheon - Intellectual Property of Wealth Bondage - Used with Permission

Just to be clear, of course, Audrey can still use her Escutcheon: Own Rule Save, it just has to carry a trademark, since it belongs to Wealth Bondage. She may use it as a Qualified Licensee, as long as Tess maintains $1 trillion or more under management with The Private Bank of Wealth Bondage, which should not be a problem.

Wealth Bondage: Own, Rule, Save

Depressing, I guess, to some, but inevitable. My Immediate Superior, and Generous Patron, the booted one, she who rules us all, Mistress Candidia Cruikshanks, CEO of Wealth Bondage, Goddess of the Free Market, has, in effect, stolen Audrey's flag - Own Rule Save. "Fuck, yeah!," Candy said, when she heard it. "That is the perfect tagline for Wealth Bondage. Sounds so fucking sincere. Sweet little Audrey can grow up and have a beneficial interest in a controlling interest in all the world's wealth. But who the fuck do you think will control the controlling interest?  Little Miss Sweetcakes?  Or me, the CEO of the Private Bank of Wealth Bondage?"

"Tess," Candy says, "the way she is going will soon own the world, then it will all go into a fucking Dynasty Trust, in a state with no limit on perpetuities. Master Jack will be Audrey's Trustee, and her Secular Fucking Priest, to bring her to her knees: deferential, passive, helpless, and ever so grateful for being Mentored by a modern Day Emissary from Athena (namely me!). Master Jack can teach her to meditate. He can recommend therapists. He can improve her Social Capital and reduce her Social Liabilities, like that big mouth of hers. And as for that educated idiot, Master Jack, I own his preppy little ass. I own the Bank of Wealth Bondage, I own the fucking Trust Company. I have the whole fucking world in Assets Under Management. I rule the world by proxies. O! Wait! I also save the world, kiddies. O yes! Why the fuck wouldn't I? I  own it! If I didn't own it, why would I even give a shit?"

"As for little Miss Muffett's precious flag," says Candida, "did she copyright it? Trademark it? O so, so sorry, kid! It was in the public domain. Not any more. You want fucking moral instruction, Princess? How about life lessons for real. Kiss my boots, you redheaded bastard! Spawn of Wealth Bondage, conceived by a whose who of my mutts on the trading floor. Own rule and save. My ass!"

Makes me sad, really, but "there is," as we all know, "no outside of Wealth Bondage." Let Audrey have her childhood. In her future is nothing to envy. A bird who will sing in a gilded cage, as Master Jack feeds her little bits through the bars.

Wealth Bondage Tagline Crowdsourced

Wealth Bondage is variously a Trust Company controlling most of the world's dynastic wealth (which is to say 51% of the world's wealth), neoliberalism considered as a worldview, a Carnival, a Musical, a Market for all things Spiritual, Wisdom Incarnate, a Brand of all Brands, my generous patron, my employer, and a triple bottom line social venture. On special assignment from Mistress Candidia, herself, I am to crowdsource and focus group test a new tagline. We have narrowed it down to four words have to get it down the three. I would appreciate any input you might have.

Wealth Bondage: People, Planet, Profit - My fav but too close to Pepsi's.

Wealth Bondage: Pleasure, Polity, Planet

Wealth Bondage: Profit, Pleasure, Planet

Wealth Bondage: Profit, Pleasure, Polity

I like Polity because it hits off the idea of a well regulated or just society within the overall framework of a Trust Company, and Consumer/Citizen beneficial interest in Dynastic Wealth. But Polity is a little intellectually pretentious for our target market. Profit, Pleasure, Planet seems right. But which should go first? I am thinking Profit goes best in the middle, balancing pleasure and planet.

The Pancake Protocols

Usually, it is Tutor who finds himself locked in his cell, for insubordination, or some kind of misbehavior. Today, it was Tess who barred herself in her room, to duel long distance with George Soros over who would break the Central Bank of Brazil. This left Tutor free to roam the Castle, and at midnight to arrange a secret and forbidden feast of blueberry pancakes for Audrey. He whipped up ten large ones for her, and five for him, as she sat swinging her feet, in her footed pajamas, at the kitchen counter, long past her official bedtime. So, there she soon sat, before a pile of ten, large pancakes, more than any child should eat, particularly with butter and real maple syrup. Just before giving her the fork, Tutor attempts a "teachable moment."

Tutor: "That is a lot of pancakes!"

Audrey: "Give me the fork!"

Tutor: "Please?"

Audrey: "Please! Give me it!"

Tutor: "You know Momma has not eaten one thing today; she was locked in her room conquering Brazil."

Audrey: "Give it to me!"

Tutor: "Do you think Momma would like some pancakes? When she gets hungry tonight? Should we maybe save some for her?"

Audrey: "Pancakes are not good for Momma! They rot her teeth! Pancakes make Momma hyper!"

Tutor: "Maybe one?"

Audrey: "But they are my pancakes!"

Tutor: "Momma is big, you are small. What would be fair?"

Audrey: "Equal? Five? But they might make Momma sick!"

Tutor: "She has five then, I have five, you have five?"

Audrey: "So I have to share and you don't? If I have to share, you have to share!"

And so it went down. Now at 2 am Tutor is just finishing cleaning up. In wanders Momma, $1 b up for the day, and with a moment for a bedtime snack.

Momma: "Funny, I thought I smelled pancakes....."

Tutor: "Impossible, Madame, pancakes as you know are forbidden. Empty calories. Bad for her teeth. Makes her hyper."

Momma: "Do not lie to my face, Tutor, or it will be back to the Dungeon forever!"

Tutor: "Well, Madame, pursuant to my official duties, as Morals Tutor for the Future Queen, I saw fit to mingle the "sweet with the instructive," as Horace says we must, in his Ars Poetica, as you well know...."

Momma: "Cut the crap."

Tutor: "Fifteen pancakes were made."

Momma: "They were made? You made them, you mean."

Tutor: "I made fifteen, took five as my Comprehensive Cook and Trustee Fee, and gave Audrey ten."

Momma: "My God!"

Tutor: "And we discussed fairness. How much is enough for a child."

Momma: "Or for you."

Tutor: "Yes, your highness. But as you well know, moderation is the soul of virtue. Audrey felt it would not be right to give you any pancakes at all since you might develop a taste for them, gain weight, rot your teeth, become hyperactive, and maybe even get diabetes."

Momma: "So you and Audrey pigged them all down?"

Momma, hungry, opens the refrigerator door, and there are seven and one half large pancakes covered neatly with Saran Wrap.

Tutor: "Half of hers and half of mine. We thought that would be fair, if it please Your Ladyship."

Momma: "It is hard to reprimand you properly, Tutor, with my mouth full of pancakes, but insubordination must not be tolerated. It is not just the pancakes, it is that you went behind my back to disobey a direct order. (These are quite good by the way. The blueberries do make all the difference. Pass the syrup, please.) You are confined to quarters until further notice. Get out of my sight!"

And so it goes in the Castle. Master Jack the next morning reinforces with Momma that she made a wise decision. Audrey is already a wild child. Tutor sets an atrocious example. Pancakes are only the beginning. A firm hand with Tutor! He is a Force of Disorder. And Audrey could go either way without Wise Counsel, which is by the way included in Master Jack's Comprehensive Trustee fee at no extra charge.   

Teaching Self Control to Those who Will One day Rule us All

"Momma! Momma! Come quick!," cries Audrey, racing into her mother's room, "I killed him! I killed Tutor by mistake!" Momma runs quickly to Audrey's room, fearing a repeat of the Annie Oakley incident, but there is The Happy Tutor rising groggily from the floor. It seems that he and Audrey had a contest to see who could hold their breath the longest. "I am so sorry, Madame, this is the first time I ever lost."

Moments of Truth for the Courtiers to the King

Simony "is the act of selling church offices and roles. The practice is named after Simon Magus who is described in the Acts of the Apostles as having offered two disciples of Jesus, Peter and John, payment in exchange for their empowering him to impart the power of the Holy Spirit to anyone on whom he would place hands." (Wikipedia.) In other words, he was a magician who wanted to learn how to work real miracles, since these might command a higher price, in the logic of the marketplace. Against this is the saying, roughly, "You can commit any sin and be forgiven, but the sin against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven." I take this to mean for my own use the following: When the moment of truth arrives, evade it as we will, by speaking in parables, we must offer ourselves to sacrifice, or the spirit will desert us; and also that if we blaspheme the Holy Spirit, and take the name of the holy or the wise or even beautiful in vain, the tongue will rot in our mouths, and whatever eloquence allowed us to lie well, will ebb away, as Milton's Satan ebbs from sublime at first in Hell, to little more than a worm.

Jesus also said, in various Gospels, some Apocryphal, as he walked by Trump Tower or some other then colossal image of Excellence, "Bring me the stone the builder's rejected. That is the cornerstone." I take this to mean that worldly power will collapse and the first shall be last, the last shall be first, and the meek will inherit. Among the meek are the children, women, the poor, the outcast, the sick, those imprisoned, those on the margins, those on the outside of whatever wall we build. 

Cordelia cannot heave her heart into her mouth to enact rituals that enable those who are unwise or unjust. She will not bear false witness. When asked why she will not comply with the rituals of wealth and power, on whom her own well-being depends, she finally says, "Nothing." And is told that "nothing will come of nothing," and nothing does. She is disinherited, the King as deranged exemplar of the body politic goes mad, and not even a Fool, nor Cordelia, or Kent the Faithful Servant, nor healing music, can restore him for more than a moment to sanity or peace.

Many today say nothing in the precincts of wealth and power. Those are the wise ones. And I do not mean they are silent. One story, Lear, ends with bodies pulled from the stage. Another, more hopeful in a way, with the harrowing of hell. How do the wise today see this playing out in the precincts of Private Wealth? Should we ask them?