Monday, February 23, 2009

Humor in Capitalistic Economics


Don Arturo says:
There was a man
who sold puppets and whistles
for a living
He also played guitar
He used to go
to the shopping areas
and draw huge crowds
They bought his whistles
and puppets
They threw money into
his guitar
This was against the law
So he was arrested at
least three times a week
When his turn came up
in the courtroom
He took a puppet out
and put a show on
All the detectives
and court clerks
rolled on the floor
When he was finished
they all bought puppets
and whistles from him
The judge got angry
and yelled:
What kind of business
is this
And the man said
I am the monkey man
and the
Monkey man sells
Monkey business.

-Victor Hernandez Cruz

In the US -- in North America -- business is monkey business. There is no other kind. That is the character of things. There's always a catch; there's always a sense of humor, or at any rate there should be. There may be some sense to keeping free trade free from government intervention, but no one will ever keep free trade free from monkey business; it is endemic.
There is a difference between Latin American, where this poem refers itself to, and North America, and this is that while monkey business is but an aspect of the scenario in the South, in the North this humorous monkey business aspect of things is universalized: it is a broad, endemic and universalized aspect of the culture. Everything is a joke; or everything is a fraud; or --- everything is a profit margin obtained with a wink and a nod. Grow up and admit it.

This book I have (Greenwillow imprint), from 1976, says Cruz "has published two
collections of poems"; "Snaps" and "Mainland." (latter: Random House, 1973)

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