Atlas Shrieked

« July 2010 »

Memo to Terry Savage: YOUR LEMONADE SUCKS.

You know that saying that when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade? It's been in the news a bit recently thanks to Nevada insane-asylum-resident and part-time Senate candidate Sharron Angle, who used the metaphor last week. The good news is, she used it correctly, in the sense of taking something bad and turning into something good. The bad news is, the "lemons" in her metaphor turned out to be "getting raped by your father", and the "lemonade" was bringing the resulting child to term and raising it as is God's wish.

So overall, I'd have to call that a net loss on our ongoing chart of How Bad A Candidate Can Sharron Angle Be While Still Having A Completely Inexplicable Shot At Beating Harry Reid. Probably bring her down another 3-4 points. But I'm not here to talk about Sharron Angle's lemon transformations. I'm here to talk about Terry Savage's.

Terry Savage is someone who has spent her entire life turning lemons into lemonade. You see, whether it's due to genetics, upbringing, or social pressure, she is an absolutely horrible fucking excuse for a human being. Naturally, she became a stockbroker. But buying and selling stocks really didn't make enough thick, inky lemonade out of the lemony black ichor that passes for her soul, so instead she became a financial advisor.

A financial advisor is, of course, someone who knows just enough about the stock market to know that it's a hell of a lot safer to sell you a $20 book on how to invest than it is to try to earn $20 by investing. And with a last-name tailor-made to be turned into an obvious adjective, she went on to write books like The Savage Truth On Money and The New Savage Number.

While we can all agree that suckering people too stupid to wonder why the woman selling the money-making tips isn't just keeping them secret and using them herself is fairly fucking vile, as leeches suckling on society's ass go, Terry Savage manages to be worse. She engages in punditry. Columny, even. For the Chicago Sun-Times. You will not be shocked to learn this columny has a distinctly Randian conservative bent.

Which is where the whole lemonade metaphor finally pays off, because Savage wrote a column for the Sun-Times entitled "There Is No 'Free' Lemonade". You should track it down and read it in full, but here's the money shot, if you will. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"That really set me off, as my regular readers can imagine. 'No!' I exclaimed from the back seat. 'That's not the spirit of giving. You can only really give when you give something you own. They're giving away their parents' things -- the lemonade, cups, candy. It's not theirs to give.' I pushed the button to roll down the window and stuck my head out to set them straight. 'You must charge something for the lemonade,' I explained. "That's the whole point of a lemonade stand. You figure out your costs -- how much the lemonade costs, and the cups -- and then you charge a little more than what it costs you, so you can make money. Then you can buy more stuff, and make more lemonade, and sell it and make more money.'"

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you turn a lifetime wasted in the selfish pursuit of raw, bloody capitalism into lemonade. First, you berate and lecture three young girls giving away lemonade and chocolate bars by the side of the road on a hot day. You pick those girls up and shake them with Adam Smith's invisible hands until their brains are addled enough to become little Terry Savages in their own right. Then maybe you won't feel so empty inside.

And then you take THOSE lemons and turn THEM into lemonade, by writing about the experience in the Chicago Sun-Times, so that you can show the whole world the full extent to which your free-market dysfunction has flowered. And you don't give away that column, no. You get paid handsomely for it by a daily newspaper. Then you can generate more bile, and write more columns, and sell those and make more money.

Here's what I want to know. Why is it that I'm constantly presented, in comedy, with the stereotype of the soft-spoken liberal hippie who feels compelled to corner Regular Americans and challenging their life choices, from pesticide-laden vegetables to gas-guzzling SUVs? Yet whenever I hear a story about someone just going off and shouting their political views at a random member of the public, it's a bragging conservative? Andy Breitbart flipping off what he thought were anti-war protesters. Victoria Jackson and, well, anyone within earshot. And now Terry Savage and three little girls.

And now that she's exposed herself to the world, and the world has looked upon it and vomited in disgust, she's been spinning. She told MSNBC that really, all she was doing was imparting the kind of financial literacy that would have prevented all those subprime mortgages. I'm paraphrasing because I can't find a transcript to cut and paste, but that's the gist of it. Lemonade out of lemons all over again.