William The Coroner’s Forensic Files

Friday, 26, June, 2009

The Affirmative No!

Filed under: Social Commentary — williamthecoroner @ 09:28

In Rome, one of the biggest deals one could get was to have a triumph. You got a to wear a purple toga (fancier than the ones the Senators wore) a wreath of laurel leaves in your hair. Most folks who got triumphs obtained them for military victories, so the vanquished were paraded through the streets–and thence to be sold off, you really, really didn’t want to lose to the Romans. After a sacrifice to Jupiter, there was a public feast.

On the golden chairot, though, there was a slave, whose job was to stand next to the victor and say to him once in a while “Remember that thou art mortal.”

The observation that power (wealth) corrupts is old, older even than the cliche, that’s why it is a cliche. It is not good for people to have it for too long. George HW Bush learned that lesson when he found he didn’t recognize a grocery checkout in the 1990s. Not surprising, I’m sure he hadn’t set foot in a grocery store for years. But it looked bad for the public, and really brought home to Mr. Bush how out of touch he was.

Wealth, of course, is power. Wealth changes things. I was reading recently about Bernie Kosar’s problems. He was quite wealthy, now he’s got severe financial problems, and he has difficulty with activities of daily living. Evidently, he was making sandwiches for his kids, and the only thing he had with which to cut the bread was a handsaw. CrankyLitProf thinks about the recent death of Michael Jackson, wealth, and the power of No.

The Greeks had a word for it–Hubris. People who have power get used to it. Then they get used for it, and sometimes go down the primrose path. It is particularly dangerous when people start enjoying telling people what to do. Power is fleeting, and if you no longer control resources, one’s power dries up. Diocletian was able to retire to tend his cabbages, but he was in the minority. Napoleon’s fate is more likely.

Jonah does it better than I.


  1. Napoleon was exiled to a lonely little island where he only saw a handful of people for the rest of his life, none of them reporters. I can think of a few politicians who might envy him that fate.

    Comment by Shay — Friday, 26, June, 2009 @ 14:47 | Reply

  2. Well said William, and oh so true. It’s not just actors, but athletes and politicians. They ALL need a reality check and to be brought down to earth.

    Comment by Old NFO — Friday, 26, June, 2009 @ 17:48 | Reply

  3. Possible Business Venture:

    “Lost It All and Having to Deal with Being ‘Unwealthy’?
    Come to ‘Back to Basics Bootcamp’ and learn how to:
    – Operate a Grocery Cart and find milk in a Grocery Store
    – Make a PBJ sandwich without using tool from the garage
    – Wipe your own behind

    Thanks for the idea! I’m off the see if I can rent out my spare room (might have to not bother teaching them #3 though).

    Comment by Rosemary — Saturday, 27, June, 2009 @ 16:47 | Reply

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