Scumsacks, and Notre Dame
The Notre Dame Cathedral was just a building. It was a beautiful building. Cathedrals often are. And Notre Dame was one of the most beautiful in the world. But it was only ever a building, and the outpouring of grief, but more so money, is unwarranted, and says a great deal about the priorities, the skewed and illogical ethics, of people around the world, the uber-wealthy elite class in particular.
At the time of writing, nearly a billion dollars has been pledged to rebuild the cathedral. By the time you’re reading this, dear reader, the number may well have exceeded that. A billion dollars. For a building.
French billionaires, members of the super rich class around the world, heads of corporations, and Trump on behalf of American taxpayers, have offered to help fund the rebuilding of Notre Dame.
The language used to describe the work that will be done on Notre Dame is misleading. You cannot “rebuild” a building that has been destroyed. You can build upon the foundation of the old building. You can build a new facsimile of the old. But you cannot rebuild. Just as when a child dies, the parents of said child cannot recreate it by conceiving a new child, a building that’s been destroyed can’t truly be rebuilt. The new cathedral, like the new child, may look similar, have the same features and basic structure, but it’s new and different. Just as the child is gone, the building is gone.
But, the important shit:
There are many worthy causes to which wealthy individuals, companies, and governments could be, and should be, making needed charitable contributions. The world is lousy with disasters, natural and otherwise. Hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, typhoons, floods, people are having their homes destroyed, they’re being made sick, they’re dying every day. Most often, they’re dying in those parts of the world that escape the notice of the wealthy and affluent. They’re poor, and have pigmented skinned, and they’re dying, without billionaires, heads of corporations, and Trump’s cunt-ass coming to their aid.
To be fair, Trump was likely lying when he offered to help. But that he expressed willingness speaks volumes to what he finds important, or what he finds it politically advantageous to be perceived as finding important. He gives not a shit for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, wildfire victims in California, or chemical warfare victims in Flint, Michigan. But a church burned, in a white-majority country, a white church in a white country that white people care about. Trump’s voting base is built on white people who pretend to be Christians. So it follows that they’d support him pretending to support the “rebuilding” of Notre Dame Cathedral. As usual, “America first” applies only to wealthy white Americans, and goes out the window entirely when it comes to white Christians abroad.
Depending on your personal view of man-made climate change, you’re either right or wrong. Being that you’re a sharp one, dear reader, I’m sure you accept the reality of climate change, and that more importantly you understand that it is not a natural environmental shift but a catastrophe caused by myopic human greed which is on course to deliver the crescendo of the Earth’s sixth mass extinction. So you also know, you dear smart reader you, that those most impacted by major disasters, like hurricanes and fires, had little to nothing to do with helping cause them. Those who’ve benefited most from the industries that have ravaged the planet, and helped trigger the conditions causing mass death in poorer locales, are the billionaires now pledging huge sums to “rebuild” a fucking church.
They should be held accountable, forced by global pressure, to contribute aid to those communities most in need, particularly those put most at risk by selfish and irresponsible exploitation of labor and resources. But they’re not, and they won’t do so willingly. They do everything they can to avoid paying taxes, and only donate to charities if it can spare them the taxes they can’t wriggle out of paying. Yet the sight of a burning church is a salve to their stinginess.
Never mind that no one died in the Notre Dame fire. People die in building fires all the time, and billionaires couldn’t give less of a fuck then. When the Grenfell Tower in England burned down, killing more than seventy people and injuring seventy others, no billion dollar pledge was made to aid the survivors and build them a new home. The Grenfell residents should have made a point of not being generally poor and non-white. And of course, a twentieth century apartment building has nothing on a twelfth century cathedral, aesthetically.
Notre Dame was gorgeous. Apartment buildings are almost uniformly hideous. But there were human beings in one of them.
But what this incident makes clear, by a perverted display of false ethics and generosity, is how fucked are the priorities of global oligarchs. They could spend several thousand dollars to, say, provide food and medicine to the people of Mozambique suffering and dying in the wake of Cyclone Idai. Or they could give millions for a pile of stones and timber. That they choose the latter is an indictment against them as humans, and offers evidence in favor of recycling the bodies of billionaires for nutrients, and redistributing their hoarded wealth among the needy and deserving.
A possible solution: we could make all churches into housing for those in need. If we’re honest with ourselves, churches are huge wastes of space. We can still make them beautiful, use them once a week for whatever witchcraft and tomfoolery folks get up to in church. But let people live there the rest of the time.
Another idea: we can turn the poor into churches. Hear me out. If what plucks the heartstrings of these billionaire ballbags is some lovely masonry, carpentry, and stained glass windows, we can adapt these attributes to poor people. Fashion them shoes of limestone and marble. Cast panels of stained glass to hang round their necks and obscure their faces. Erect spires atop their heads so that they may be seen from far and wide. We’ll have beautiful mobile churches, to the extent the people are still able to move, and rich people might finally give a shit about them.