There’s a scene in the old John Wayne Western The Sons Of Katie Elder in which Dean Martin comes into a saloon looking for money to buy a drink.
He raises the funds by raffling off his glass eye, persuading the other cowpokes that it would be a good luck or a conversation piece.
He easily raises the money for the glass eye, taking a quarter from everyone in the bar (well, almost everyone; the villain isn’t interested in playing).
The winner (Strother Martin a.k.a. King Of The Prairie Scum) gets the eye, and Dino gets the money…but then Dino persuades Strother to sell the glass eye back to him for four dollars.
The kneeslapper, of course, is that Dino’s glass eye is just a needless prop, both of his real eyes are fully functional.
Everything you need to know about human nature in general and the underlying problem with contemporary American culture can be found in that scene.
Dino creates a totally unnecessary desire in the saloon’s patrons: They are convinced that if they win the eye, their lives will be better for it, because they’ll have something other people will envy.
Mind you, until Dino entered the saloon and opened his fat yap, this desire did not exist.
They all took part in a gamble because they thought they were going to get something for…well, if not nothing then certainly for a tiny amount.
And while Strother did win the eye, he was persuaded to part with it for a 700% profit (he bought two chances for fifty-cents).
That’s the way they put it over on us. That’s the way they sucker us each and every time.
Like a carny, they tell us there’s a winner every time, and maybe there is, but what they don’t tell us is that the game is rigged and there’s only a limited number of winners allowed and none of them will ever win those big stuff animals on the top shelf but rather just the crappy little trinkets on the table.
We are told (sold) by media what we should desire, what we should want. We’re persuaded to spend to get these items of manufactured desire, but then as soon as we close our fists around one such phantom it disappears like a will-o-the-wisp and we’re told no, not that one, this one! This is the one you want!
And they play us again and again and again.
We need to stop wanting shit.
We need to start telling people to fuck off when they try to sell us crap.
We need to start looking after each other rather than jockey for fleeting, ephemeral status that one do us a damned bit of good once we’re planted in the grave.
We need to recognize the slickee boiz are playing us for rubes, and we need to stop getting pissed off at the people who point these facts out.