Episode 193: Love Can’t Buy You Money Part II: A True Fictional Story
(Featuring music that acts as a sequel to Episode 082, with music centering around the root of all evil – if evil were a real thing – being, of course, money.)
Institutions, ideas, and the way our lives are governed have come up in my life quite a bit recently, and as I have been making new inroads at my job, filling out Union Paperwork and documents about my future retirement, I find it funny how much unquestioningly people have faith in these things. Recently I’ve been in a number of situations where the unreality of the world around us has come up – quite specifically with regard to money – and people instantly become defensive. “It is SO real! Don’t even suggest otherwise!” I understand the value of believing in these things. (After all, consider all the things that have been possible with religious faith.) But just because someone wants something to be true, doesn’t mean it actually is. This is never more obvious when someone just realizes they are wrong.
Regardless, there is a lot of academic discourse surrounding the unreality – or, as Ira Glass was so kind to say, “The Fictional Quality Of Money,” – that it is somewhat of an irresistible topic for me. This might have something to do with my minor degree in pharmacology, or perhaps my own anarchist leanings when it comes to pointing out to people that most of what the world around us is built upon is predicated on power structures designed to control and manipulate the behavior of humanity. Or, it might just be that I have a problem with authority. It’s hard to say, really, but my standard response to anyone who has too much faith in one thing is to remind them that the universe is constructed by language and images, and that the people who create and design these things are the people who are really in power. Money just happens to be a symbol that has most people by the balls.
The subject of money is particularly fascinating, because rock music seems to be preoccupied with it. Just about every band of a certain age had a song about money, their desire for it, and their love of it. These songs very much have a similar structure, and the effect is the same: to deny the immaterial things in this world, and to embrace capitalism in all of its sticky, disgusting, filth-coated sexy goodness. And there is something thrilling about getting paid in the same way that getting a handjob at a rock concert is thrilling; in that moment, we can do anything, we can go anywhere, and literally nothing can stop us. This is why a number of cultures have sayings relating to money (and the spending of it). In spite of knowing better, we all see the attraction to the dirty side of things, and rock music itself is predicated on the attraction to filth culture. Money is, after all, filthy lucre. How can you not find it fascinating?
This episode is a sequel to Episode 082, a show I have always been very fond of for somewhat different reasons. While I had hit upon the vague idea of doing a show about money, when I did the original program, I built the show almost entirely at the last minute. Using the KPSU studio archives, the Inter-Web-A-Tron, and a few odds and sods that I had brought with me, I completely pulled that show out of my ass, and was quite pleased with the results. Not only did it become a coherent narrative, and a very good example of the kinds of theme shows I wanted to pursue more often, but it reinforced in me this notion that I could do good radio on the fly. I really feel like I turned a corner with Episode 082, and I follow my instincts quite a bit because of what I learned doing this show. It only made since to me to throw together a sequel in the same manner, and I think the results turned out pretty excellent.
The backbone of this episode come from two sources: a film I found on YouTube.com, titled “How Money Is Created,” which is a short (and simple) essay about how the FED creates money. While I could not find the film I was thinking about when I made this episode, this one covers the same subject matter, and offered some pretty good sound clips. (The one I remember was animated, and looked like something from the 60’s, but was clearly from the ’90s.) The samples from this film help spell out some of the things hinted at int he second sound source, an episode of This American Life that featured a number of stories about various problems that have cropped up because of the fact that money isn’t real. (Especially in light of the Housing Bubble crash of a few years ago.) While Ira has a good ear for the funny, I thought something a little more academic might help shed light on the “summing an infinite series” type comments that they made. Really, I just recommend doing some critical reading about the value of money, and try to answer for yourself the question, “What, exactly, is a single dollar worth, objectively?” If you actually think you can answer this question, then the entire field of economics really could use your insight, because they still have no idea.
As with Episode 082, I fleshed out the rest of the show with songs that I think really tackle the subject well, with an emphasis on punk bands, who usually manage to say things in a way that cut straight to the heart of the matter. Any show that has The Dicks, Patti Smith & Thinking Fellers Union Local #282 pretty much offers more insight into who I am than anything I could tell you directly.
Next week we’ll have our annual Thanksgiving Leftovers show, which may double as A Family Affair episode, if I can pull off some recordings during our dinner gathering. The year is winding down, and there’s a lot going on between now and Episode 200, coming up soon. Between that and my new job, there’s a whole lot that needs my attention. Hopefully I can deliver in a timely manner.
See you in seven!
A True Fictional Story
Part I: The Fiction Of Money
01.) “Money Isn’t Real” * Ray Liotta * Blow * New Line Cinema
02.) Money * The Sonics * Here Are The Sonics!!! * Etiquette Records
03.) Love Can’t Buy You Money [Edit] * Motörhead * Overnight Sensation * CMC Records
04.) “Money Is Fiction” * This American Life * Episode 423: The Invention Of Money * PRI
05.) Clean Money * Elvis Costello * Armed Forces * Columbia Records
06.) Money Talks * Penetration * Once Upon A Time Vol. 08: U.K. November ’77 * mythkoz-areyouexperienced.blogspot.com/
07.) Rich Daddy * The Dicks * 1980-1986 * Alternative Tentacles Records
08.) “The Fictional Quality Of Money” * This American Life * Episode 423: The Invention Of Money * PRI
09.) Don’t Wanna Be A Rich * Guilty Razors * Killed By Death Vol. 77 * Killed By Death Records
10.) Rich Plastic People * Killjoy * Not So Quiet On The Western Front * Alternative Tentacles Records
11.) Just Got Paid * Rapemen * Two Nuns And A Pack Mule * Touch & Go Records
Part II: The Idea Of Money
12.) Strike It Rich * Negativland * Over The Edge Vol. 7: Time Zomes Exchange Project * Sealand Records
13.) Money Honey * The Drifters * The Roots Of Rock ‘n’ Roll * Hip-O Records
14.) [Excerpt I] * Your Drugs, My Money * Live At KFJC 8/16 * Self-Released
15.) Summing An Infinite Series * This American Life * Episode 423: The Invention Of Money * PRI
16.) Money * Pink Floyd * Dark Side Of The Moon * Capitol Records
17.) How Money Is Created [Excerpt I] * godisfrauddotcom * How Money Is Created * YouTube.com
18.) Man With Money (alternate) * The Eyes * Arrival Of The Eyes * Lion Production Canada
19.) Free Money * Patti Smith * Horses * Arista Records
20.) Bottom Dollar * Eddie Spaghetti * The Sauce * Abstract Records
21.) “You’ll Have To Pay Cash” * Groucho & Chico Marx * A Day At The Races * MGM
Part III: Gimme A Dollar
22.) Money Money Money * Gene Simmons * Essential SUN Rockabillies * Sun Records
23.) [Excerpt II] * Your Drugs, My Money * Live At KFJC 8/16 * Self-Released
24.) How Money Is Created [Excerpt II] * godisfrauddotcom * How Money Is Created * YouTube.com
25.) Her Dad’s Got Money * Mad Magazine * Fink Along With Mad! * Big Top Records
26.) Money Loans * Mars Production Staff * Mars Production Library * Mars Production Library CK-71
27.) Give Me A Dollar * King Missile III * The Psychopathology Of Everyday Life * Instinct Records
28.) Dollar For Dollar * They Might Be Giants * McSweeney’s Music CD – Issue #6 * McSweeney’s
29.) Million Dollars * Thinking Fellers Union Local #282 * Admonishing The Bishops * Matador Records
30.) How Money Is Created [Excerpt III] * godisfrauddotcom * How Money Is Created * YouTube.com
31.) Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money) * Pet Shop Boys * Please * Parlophone Records
32.) Man, You Won’t Give Me No Money * Memphis Minnie * Hoodoo Lady (1933-1937) * Legacy / Columbia Records
33.) Money * The Android Sisters * Ruby 1: The Adventures of a Galactic Gumshoe Radio * ZBS Productions