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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE


Readers of a certain age [which is to say, eighty or so] may recall, as I do, the original showing of Disney's great animated feature-length film Fantasia.  One of the eight segments is described this way by Wikipedia:  "The Sorcerer's Apprentice.  Based on Goethe's 1797 poem "Der Zauberlehrling".  Mickey Mouse, the young apprentice of the sorcerer Yen Sid, attempts some of his master's magic tricks but doesn't know how to control them."

I thought of that film classic today as I contemplated the latest disarray of the Republican Party.  The Koch Brothers and their fellow sorcerers set loose the Tea Party apprentices, and now find themselves unable to tame their creation, which has gotten away from them.  The Koch Brothers make their money from oil, especially from expensive production techniques like the extraction of oil from oil sands.  The price of oil is extremely sensitive to fluctuations in the world economy, and any serious downturn weakens demand, rapidly dropping the price of crude and thereby taking enormous sums of money from the pockets of the Kochs.  It is hardly surprising therefore that they are now trying to back away as fast as they can from the reckless talk of their Apprentices, who are quite unconcerned by the prospect of a default by the U.S. Treasury.

The Disney film was intended for young audiences, what with ballet dancing hippos dressed in tiny tutus.  So the Mickey Mouse episode turns out well in the end when the Sorcerer returns and puts things to rights.  Unfortunately for all of us, Walt Disney is not directing the present fiasco.

4 comments:

David Auerbach said...

When business interests support their local brown shirts things can get out of hand. I'm not sure the Kochs are regretting it yet. The high-wage (relatively), consumption economy businesses (gadgets, drugs, information) loathe all this, of course. But Kochs, Art Pope, the Walmart, not so much. They want a low wage employees, low-wage consumers and they're good to go. Not all the interests of the ruling business class align here.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I think that is true for Walmart et al, but surely not for the Kochs, who depend on the world price of oil, no?

Magpie said...

I have more Gothic tastes. The story reminds me of Frankenstein.

"When business interests support their local brown shirts things can get out of hand."

It has happened before (quite literally, too).

Don Schneier said...

Then, of course, there is another fantastical Tea Party precedent, the brainchild of a distinguished British mathematician-logician. I like Tweedledum and Tweedledee as the Koch Bros., and Ted Cruz as the Red Queen.