Category Archives: El Plastico

What rhymes with ‘Pounds Sterling’?

One would have to be daft indeed to be currently unaware of the plummeting value of the United States Dollar on the global exchange market. Not always mentioned in conjunction with the “sub-prime meltdown” and the “likely, impending, certain, oh-shit-maybe-it’s-already-here…or-is-it” U.S. economic recession, the decrease in the USD’s worth worldwide is nonetheless inextricably linked to these phenomenon. In a wonderful example of the wholly unfortunate, in fact, the frantic blind punches being thrown at the recession by Washington are almost certainly contributing to the dollar’s 2007 New York Mets-esque trajectory to the toilet.


Ben Bernanke’s capitulating swipes at nearly every main Fed rate can only mean inflation in the long run, assuming that they succeed in doing that which they are supposed to – making the dollar less expensive to borrow and encouraging its being spent at the cost of those who tend to save. The recently-passed tax rebate checks, which I’m frankly surprised aren’t being delivered in the form of Best Buy gift cards, do the exact same thing, and have the added benefit of being tacked on to our standing national debt. Mike Huckabee, a favorite son of this blog, took a moment to stop lambasting perceived immorality to point out that borrowing more than $150 billion from China in order to purchase $150 billion in Chinese-manufactured goods hardly does the U.S. economy and real good. Douchebag has a point.


So, things have long been looking down. I mean, even the Canadian dollar is beating the USD, and it’s called a Loonie! Nonetheless, I have seen no better testament to the dollar’s impotence than the one with which I was presented last week. (Now, I’ll here be forced to admit that I don’t keep it as real as I once did with respect to the pop-music scene, so this may not be news to all.) In his recent video “Blue Magic,” Jay-Z prominently features sizebale stacks of money. Big deal, right? The Jigga Man (SP?) has long provided verification of his wealth through the visual presentation of cash in his videos. Well, in this particular instance, the currency in question happens to be the Euro.


Currently trading at 1.4674 USD, the Euro is indeed a sound investment for its stability, largely the result of being tied to a diverse array of economies. Nonetheless, it is more than a little troubling to imagine wealthy rappers – perhaps one of our country’s only currently viable exports – dropping the fattest of stacks of American currency on the market in favor of holding in Euros. Fuck the Fed rate; if the self-proclaimed American Gangster has is dumping his dollars on the global market, we are in some serious trouble. I wouldn’t dream of suggesting that Jay-Z owes the U.S. anything in terms of loyalty, but out of a purely self-interested sentiment, I can’t help but wishing the nostalgic appeal of Benjamins still held sway. I seriously doubt Diddy could tell you whose face was on the 100 Euro note, much less seamlessly weave that leader’s given name into a catchy tune. He’s busy re-making the band, anyway.



Some Things Change…

There are always a number of infectious and completely arbitrary ideas floating around electoral politics. Most have a hugely temporal quality; they last only until the next contest, primary, debate proves them no longer useful. The most prescient of these in the current race for the Democratic presidential nomination, for example, is that of “Change” (I capitalize it here to stress its catch-all quality, but one may see it printed in any number of fonts and formats, depending on the strategists behind its presentation).


After the exit polls in Iowa registered this particular and wholly abstract concept as the number one reason for Obama’s victory, it was a complete fucking free-for-all as to determine who had the greatest commitment to shoving the term down the throats of all watching or listening to any candidate speak. All had signs printed that featured the word itself prominently. Barack, hoping to capitalize completely on the apparently very Iowan notion that he represented the personification of Change itself (though, the good or bad specifications of said change were not specified), changed the entire motto of his campaign to “Change We Can Believe In.” No one, to my knowledge, has pointed out to the Senator that the proper way to arrange this credo would be “Change In Which We Can Believe,” as the aforementioned ends with a preposition. In a campaign appearance preceding the New Hampshire Primary, Clinton began a lengthy answer question and answer session with by assuring the crowd that she “want[s] to give you a president who will give you change you can count on.”[i]


Unfortunate grammatical errors aside, one can certainly appreciate the straightforward and value-neutral aspects of these phrases. After all, I for one “believe” very strongly in he existence of negative change, as in Change For The Worse; it does, in fact, seem to be the most prevalent sort. Nonetheless, the term began to inundate the field so entirely that even George W. Bush was heard to make a valuable point when he observed that change in inherent in any campaign, as political and social situations themselves are by nature dynamic (I have paraphrased here so as to avoid being forced into any more digressive musing on improper syntax, the probability of which, with a Bush quotation, is akin to that of Dennis Kucinich pulling out of a Presidential race in time to try to keep his job as U.S. Representative). I actually half-expected to see a candidate, at the emotional acme of his or her speech, make pennies rain down from the ceiling of some New England town hall, a là Gob Bluth in Arrested Development: “YOU WANT CHANGE?!?!?!?.”


[i] See immediately preceding comments on grammatical issues concerning Obama’s slogan.