Monday, December 14, 2009

Tiger Woods just got dropped by Accenture, the first and so far only major sponsor to completely cut free from the golf star. They say he is no longer the kind of representative that they need. What changed? Well, the golden boy sullied his crown with allegations of mistresses and marital problems. They all do it, there's not a golden boy who ever lived who died without some shadow to darken the horizon. Did Accenture think he wouldn't?

President Obama is chastising the big bankers for not helping to support his financial recovery plan now that their bail-out money has done its work. He is calling on the big CEO's to not take their insanely fat Christmas bonuses and to free up lending to small companies. But capitalism doesn't work on the basis of altruism, it works on the basis of greed. Banks sit at the top of the capitalist food chain. To ask them to be "nice" is nicely naive.

Think about it, in the Westerns on TV have you ever seen a nice banker? No, our corporate myth ascribes them the role of the greedy tycoon who will do anything to turn a buck. I know a banker who told me when I first arrived in this city nine years ago that people were already giving to the extent they could. I found out subsequently that his monthly contribution to his church was significantly less than mine, and I certainly don't make as much as he. I also found out that people in this town are as generous as anywhere--he wasn't describing the town, he was describing himself. Banking is not "nice," and their bosses are not in it to be nice. Does anyone really think they would?

No, and the point is not that they should do right, or that golden boys should never sully their crowns, but that none of us ever do. All of us have skeletons in our closets, and all of us deal with the realities of life. Honesty about the realities is probably a more solid basis on which to make decisions. There are really only a few stories in the world, relived in each person's life in limitless variations.

Someone wise said that maturity as a person is achieved when one realizes that one's glories and one's horrors are not really any greater or worse than anyone else's.

No comments: