The hallowed evening in Christendom refers to the night before All Saints’ Day, preceding the next day’s All Souls’ Day. Saints’ Day reveres the dead. All Souls’ have disembodied spirits (souls) in limbo awaiting notice in purgatory for possible accommodations in the celestial realm (may also head for the inferno), wandering about incognito (thus the mask and the costume), scaring friends and foes.
Trick is the ethos of the evening (as in Tricky Dick for you-know-who), an April Fool’s touch before the first of November. Detroit Tigers were dwarfed by the Giants. Frankenstorm Sandy horrifies the East Coast; Canada shuddered at 7.7 on the Richter scale. Halloween is observed daily. Scare is the name of the game; fear the expected product. The marketing of fear stalks stalls of the free market economy, for in it lays the invisible hand of the marketplace hawking palliatives to salve our insecurities and uncertainties.
We’ve been having a Halloween Party since the U$ took command of the global economy after the disastrous market collapse of ’29. Layers and layers of insurances and assurances in cozy buddy-buddy networks were laid to guarantee and warranty an acceptable future. But instead of squirelling nuts for a rainy day, we borrowed contributions to invest in more destructive armaments and drones so we can annihilate folks who do not think and pray the way we do.
We funded and trained al-Qaeda to give Russkie a run for his rubles, and the mujahideen did tire Boris out of the Kyber Pass, but then we physically took over to feed our greed on the minerals buried in them mountains. Subservient to our hunger for natural resource, our politicos kept funding military firepower so we can police the width and breath of the planet, particularly where there are oil and rare earth minerals! Followers of the Prophets took their prayer mats back to the hills, and pointed their new M-16 and AK-47 on the “Green Beret.”
Building on the phantom wealth of finances that we control by printing greenbacks willy-nilly, we manipulate value as traded in a network of stock markets, financed by central banks that use our currency as the medium of exchange. The new global corporate order eats pizza and hamburger, drinks carbonated soda, and smoke cigarettes banned from our home smoking parlors.
Two forces shook the earth from under our feet. One came as a dramatic assault on our complacency that we shall always "act as if we owned the world," a Noam Chomsky phrase. A few guys who lived under spartan and moralistic metaphor system decided to glorify their existence by driving four of our titanium-laced flybirds into targets not on their scheduled destination. New York gave us deeply disturbing images of the collapsing twin towers of its Trade Center, and the nation rode the fear of a demonstrated threat to justify the institutionalization of perpetual fear. Homeland Security was born.
That dramatic event, iconically now known as 9/11, is a watershed in the derangement of a people, and a profitable incentive to those who controlled the reins of what an outgoing U.S. President warned the country about, a military-industrial complex!
Not as dramatic but of a slow tsunamic deluge force began in the early '80s when we discovered moving manufacturing setups from the sprawling suburbia of American cities to sweatshops in Shanghai and Shenzhen. The country’s cheap labor suddenly became available in an internal program of reform and investment, and Uncle Sam led the world to part China’s bamboo curtains.
Forgetting Napoleon’s warning not to wake a sleeping tiger, we practiced chopsticks on chow mein and got a deceptively benign prancing panda. We got cozy. Korean rapper PSY recently let out a viral Gangnam Rap, and the Panda is now a hip-humping cutesie. All told, the renminbi owns 10 percent of the U$. In a couple of our forays into the mainland markets in the last four years, almost all items on the store shelves were labeled “Made in China.”
In this election year, it has become fashionable on the stump to engage in China bashing. In fact, what we did not anticipate when we moved factory a few time zones away was that the digitized designs we forwarded for rapid and cheap production were immediately copied. Apple laptops are prized status symbols in China and there are plenty around. I bought a $350 Apple laptop on Saipan three years ago that ran on MS Windows! China voraciously uses iPods, iPads, iPhones, and iMacs. TV anchors invariably has one before them. "To copy or not to copy," is not the question. It came with the territory.
At least, the Panda comes with a plastered smile. It is very telling that Chinese English learners have difficulty distinguishing between "smile" from "smell." The Panda smile comes with the Panda poo-poo, and while the American Chamber of Commerce have chalked up the stink into its cost of doing business column, some "corruptive" practices in contractual arrangements, designed to be "protective and cooperative" in its Fujian Tong origins, have also seeped in as opportunity advantage of close colleagues and relations in the commercial transactions of every economy around the world.
Halloween has become real. For its local practice, Glen Hunter does not think it is funny. We agree.