The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." " is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32)

Saturday, June 05, 2004

MARXIST ON THE ROOF: Last weekend one of my co-workers went down to the city to see the new Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof. She enjoyed mightily this depiction of pre-Revolutionary anti-Semitic Czarist oppression and has returned to our dust-laden book pile singing songs and dancing about as well as any very blonde gringa can. One of these songs is the ever-popular If I were a Rich Man, in which Tevye the dairyman and hero of the play, for those of you who missed the several thousand performances of the first Broadway run, numerous revivals, and the 1970 movie directed by Norman Jewison, sings the following,

“…all day long I’d biddy biddy bom
if I were a wealthy man…”

This leads inevitably to the question of just what is a biddy biddy bom and why is the practice limited exclusively to the wealthy? While an examination of Marx’s Das Kapital does not deal specifically with questions of biddy biddy bom, it is clear from the context Tevye provides that to biddy biddy bom properly one must control a significant portion of a society’s means of economic production, something very clearly beyond Tevye and his overworked herd of cows and goats, which he will be compelled to get rid of due to unfair competition from modern American dairies operated by gigantic multinational agribusinesses. It is clear, therefore, that to biddy biddy bom is part and parcel of the capitalist ruling class’s system of proletarian control. It is also clear that the practice itself is kept largely hidden from the workers, or at the very least kept prohibitively expensive so that the workers cannot engage in the practice, in much the same way that the poor cannot maintain stables of polo ponies, although several new polo teams are starting in some poorer sections of New York City, where, I am reliably informed, there are rats the size of ponies.

One must also wonder how this practice goes unseen in our current celebrity worshipping culture. To my knowledge no pictures of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, or Donald Trump engaging in biddy biddy bom exist, although each of these men must have done so at one point or another, and the gratuitous firing of several contestants on The Apprentice leads one to suspect that these people were caught trying the biddy biddy bom, leading to their immediate termination by The Donald.

The working class’s inability to biddy biddy bom is today a grave threat to American democracy, a threat that will lead inevitably to a great wave of social protest from one end of this room to the other. For if the poor cannot biddy biddy bom, if their opportunity to do so is limited by the selfish greed of the plutocrats, then American society as a whole will be the worse off, and I will have nothing to complain about. In a side note, the Bidi Bidi Bom Bom sung about by the late Tejano singer, Selena, is not related to the subject of this essay; the words mean something very different in Spanish.


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