Monday, May 31, 2010

An Essay on Assay

An Essay on Assay -1995
From Chapter 10- The Talking Box- by J.D. Brayton

The World Bank, or more correctly, the new World Bank is a massive steel and tempered glass structure which occupies an entire city block on Pennsylvania Avenue, between 18th and 19th streets ,a couple three blocks from the Old Executive Office Building and The White House ; deep in the no nonsense hardcore destiny changing federal confines of The District .

Suits , suits , suits . Power ties. Limousines. Destiny and latte’. Served hot with cold calculation. Spare change for a barrista’s smile of indifference.

Cell phones talking , brown shoes walking , agenda hawking sea of humanity pouring forth each morning and each evening from the Metro stations like mannequin ants rushing out of a hole , filling the busy streets with an attitude of get it done now , no matter whose ass you have to crawl up to do it . Washington is fascinating, if only to acknowledge the huge propensity for the nation and the world to so utterly misunderstand what actually goes on here . Washington , D.C. is quite possibly , the most absurdly misunderstood city on the planet .

To your tourist, it’s a city of monuments and museums - bought and paid for by the sweat tax off the balls and backs of everybody’s American ancestor - To your political hopeful , it’s the proximity to real power , a chance to interact and rub elbows with the Christ-likes of political juice in the flesh . The Media loves this city . They all take communion together on the steps of The Capitol every news day in all the languages of the world , rolling tape , skittering and scattering viewpoints that bounce horrendously
off a zillion communication satellites and back into the thirsty ear of the rest of the world; the rest of the world being most decidedly anyplace that is not here . Washington is, without debate ; the absolute center of the universe . People who live here long enough actually believe this and commit to this impossible fraud as an immutable fact . New York City is a seedy artist colony with delusions of grandeur compared to the sheer
power and pomposity exhibited, exemplified and amplified by the Nation’s Capital .

The Great Grand and Holy See of Incomprehensible Delusion.

Maybe it’s all the microwaves . Washington is the undisputed king of the incredibly important phone call , fax , radar , e-mail or gamma ray necessary to ride herd and yank the reins of policy . Damn impressive. People who live work and interact with one another in this city are certainly impressed by themselves. It’s all in the walk. It could be a matter of debate as to whether the power lunch was invented here, but there can be no dispute that it was perfected here .
Alpha eats Arugula with Senator Caligula.
I want it signed in triplicate, modified, codified and notarized on my desk yesterday or we’ll have your wonk head in our salad with a dash of vinaigrette.

No one would stop to blink an eye in your passing. Any one can be replaced here by vote or money. There is always the reality lurking in the back of a Washingtonian’s mind that all it really takes is a micro-series of small fuck-ups here at ground zero to become a huge fuck-up which could possibly reduce the entire planet into radioactive space-dust . For all that, there is a level of arrogant officious calm that is part of the demeanor of a Washingtonian on most every level . Washington is the city of the Ultimate Poker Face.

A city which is forever being written about but never truly described as any more than a city of gray functionaries or pundits who hold a despotic rule over the modern world . You want 9 to 5?

You’ve come to the right place. If ever there was a 9 to 5 town it’s the District of Columbia in it’s exoteric persona.. There is, not surprisingly, a rather huge blue - collar worker- bee community needed to serve the democratic machine . Things break. Much is broken, much is made obsolete and requisitioned in the heart center of democracy , there is ever so much malfunction. To uncover. To legislate. To perpetrate and condone.

Washington was in a construction boom in 1995. Huge cranes filled the skyline. Pork barrels full of glass, steel beams and concrete.

The Ronald Reagan International Trade Center , or ‘the Money Pit ‘ , as it is known by natives in a mixture of derision and awe , stands nearly finished four blocks away from the World Bank construction project . Both projects started roughly the same time. Both are absurdly , preposterously over budget .

There is one difference, and only one .

The tax-payer has paid for The Reagan Center ; three or four times over - The World Bank paid the bill for their own arrogance . To the casual cynic , both structures are completely useless in the universal perusal of Main Street America., but a barrel full of cynics couldn’t begin to actually absorb the mega-billions being spent. Mega-trillions ? At a certain level it really ceases to have any meaning to the poor schlump ass deep in broken stone or drywall dust and a mortgage that was due yesterday.

Working Joe Stiff with a hardhat and a barrel to lift . Mega- union tradesman with parched wrinkled rednecks oozing sweat and barking like dogs through walkie-talkies to the ocean of labor-crusted grumbling bastard workforce spitting cursing eating dust , iron , steel and mystery-meat sandwiches. Building the sanctums of the political money machine.

Call it a day.

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