Thursday, October 21, 2010

If You Didn't Know, You Wouldn't Know It Was There (or: How You Dispose of a Dead Giant)

The following was posted on FaceBook this morning without comment: "The modern spirit is a hesitant one. Spontaneity has given way to cautious legalisms, and the age of heroes has been superseded by a cult of specialization. We have no more giants; only obedient ants." -Roger Lowenstein in "Buffett: The Making of a Capitalist."

I don't weep for any fucking giants, frankly. They're often quite dangerous, obnoxiously willing, even eager to throw their weight around to get what they want.

Because, though their bodies are oversized, they're likely to be stunted, psychologically: immature, violent, and willful.

By way of analogy, I replied:
On my folks' place in a northern New Mexico river valley which had been inhabited for at least a millennium and a half, there were some mostly buried ruins we all knew were there, but had left undisturbed, except for pilfering the occasional pot sherds that emerged after every rain.

Then the county decided to straighten out a particularly deadly curve, and to do it they needed to purchase the corner of the property where the ruins were. We sold 'em the needed acre. But before they could tear it up, the law required they conduct a survey for ruins. Sure enough, they turned ours up. So they hadda excavate, to preserve such artifacts as might be damaged by the construction.

One thing they turned up, and this is where the "giants v ants' thing struck me, was a burial of a (naturally) mummified man, with a cracked skull. They estimated he was about 6' 4-5". When he lived, the average people were about 4' 5-6". This guy was TWO FULL FEET taller than his neighbors. And when he died, they dug him a hole deep enough to accept his VERTICAL carcass, which they buried head first, and stacked stones on his FEET: the archeologists speculated that his neighbors did NOT want him rejoining them.
I cannot think of a single thing Warren Buffett has actually contributed to humanity.

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