Greed

It’s late at night when the demons come, so you’ll excuse me for just writing something (even though it will pop up in the morning on your feeds and browsers). But hey, I feel like venting, and you’ve allowed that before. Some of what follows are my own personal views, I don’t expect all or even most of you to agree. That’s fine. It’s healthy, even.

Just tonight, I’ve seen so many adjectives thrown around to describe this mess. Over these incomprehensible 110 days, the number of words used is probably immeasurable. None of them are pleasant or complimentary or easy to read.

Stupid, arrogant, deaf, immoral, impure, silly, absurd, we could go on. And it’s not that they’re incorrect. But all these adjectives are grown out of something else. They are the result, not the cause. There’s only one word at the bottom of it all, festering in tainted soil and poisoning all that comes out of it.

Greed.

Because that’s all this is. Greed blinds the mind and eyes. Greed causes the stupidity and the obtuseness. It’s the desire of a few to make just a little more, against the desire of others to make a little more. Not just players against owners, but owners against owners, players against players. Simple greed.

This isn’t a news-flash. You already knew this. But while the other words or feelings are easier to swallow or fathom, greed is hard to wrap around, because it can turn so evil and ugly. And it’s far more incurable than stupidity or ignorance.

Let’s expand this out beyond hockey. Beyond sports. It was the simple greed of a few that caused millions to lose their homes, their lives, their everything in just the recent past. Not even five years ago, we saw it. Just a handful of people who bent the rules to suit them to make just a little more money than they were already making, money they would never need or couldn’t possibly spend. It spread down to others who cared not for the aftershocks, just for what they could get. Have we recovered yet? Are we even close?

We’ve seen greed this decade throw the entire world’s economy and structure into upheaval. Just this past week, you saw the greed of a few for more combine with the greed of a few others for power nearly drive this country back into financial upheaval, possibly crippling many others who were only greedy to hold on to what little they had. Sure, they put it off for a few weeks, but you won’t avoid it then either.

I’ve spent my life watching the greed of insurance companies infect the greed of those in power to hold onto that power, to my utter amazement, keep this country as the only one where health care is not a right, but a privilege. Sure, you can argue the semantics and details all you want, but deep down to me it’s still greed.

An issue that I know is dear to my comrade McClure as well as myself, education, has been utterly thrown away and burnt beyond recognition. Be it budget allocations for other things that aren’t as important or the unwillingness of some to let go of what they have so someone else could even have a chance at getting even a portion of the same, or the for-profit universities and loan agencies that cripple those who are lucky enough to get there for a decade or more. Is that anything else but simple greed?

There are some who would argue that this century has seen a war fought for nothing more than a few’s greed, and that’s an argument I happen to at least partially if not entirely agree with. Many have died simply for the desire of some to have more. If you think about it too long, you’ll become ill.

Greed caused not just our fair city’s parking meters to be sold for money that has since vanished and solved just about zero, but cities across the country are being fleeced and stripped to either satisfy or battle someone’s greed and its damage. Unless you want to argue that Daley wasn’t greedy. It would be a brave soul who does.

I’m not going to sit here and ask if we can’t do better or why is it this way. It just is, and probably has been for a very long time. If not forever. I doubt that’ll change before we’re all very long gone, either.

Bringing it back to our very low and insular level, I think what angers so many about this lockout is the reminder of what greed can do, even to something we use to shut out or ignore all the horrors that greed has brought us in life. Even for just that three hours at the United Center or Rogers Center or Madison Square Garden. But we knew it was there all along. The $8 beers, the $30 t-shirts, the $200 jerseys, the price of tickets.

It’s not that we were surprised to find out what drives that and drives this madness. It’s that we hate being reminded of it. Not that we’re all above that. Every one of us would like more than we have. They tell me that’s healthy. Sometimes I wonder, but in the end we all fall into it.

It’s amazing how it binds. Because greed in the beginning should have solved this without a mess. Greed from everyone on both sides should have caused them over the summer to say to each other we both want more, and we can get it if we let our greed work together for just a small amount of time. Greed can do that.

But no. Greed causes us to not only want more than we’ve got, but we are desperate for victory, for affirmation, for sole gain. It’s not just money. Power, desires, winning are all part of that feeling. That’s how you get here.

It’ll be greed that axes the season next week, if indeed that happens. It’ll be dressed up in many other costumes and disguises, but it’ll still be there and you don’t have to look all that hard to see it. And if there’s a season salvaged, it won’t be out of realization or compassion or even common sense. It’ll be out of greed to salvage what can be from this year, and what follows after it. I guess that’s where “greed is good” gets its legs.

I’m not sure any of this had a point. It probably doesn’t. But I felt like saying it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/derlemke Mark Lemke

    Damn. Well said sir.

  • 2883

    Money get back, I’m all right Jack keep your hands off my stack.

    Money it’s a hit , Don’t give me that do goody good bullshit

  • Tom

    Greed is not new or evil, just part of our human nature. Acceptance and incorporation of that fact in American social structure has lead to some of the greatest advances in human history. As you said, greed left on its own should have solved this issues this summer. We, and the players, may need to except that if the owners would rather close their business, than live with the current rate of return, at the end of the day that’s is thier call because they are the one putting up the money. Otherwise much like our government, arrogance, lack of courage, and lack of accountability are disrupting a process that at its core is nothing more than a horse trade.

    • SamFels

      That’s well said. I left out, not intentionally, how greed for more things has led to the disposal of many a tyrant or regime. I guess the point is just pointing out how simple this thing is at the core. Or maybe the point was just to vent. These days, I’m so confused.

  • 334Rules

    Sam, perhaps one of the best things you’ve written. It expresses the utter anguish not just over the NHL situation, but the human condition in general when we allow base emotions to rule over intellect and common sense. Good job, man.

  • secondbalcony

    Damn Sam, are you sufferring from indigestion.
    I’m just glad I finally figured how to login to this site

  • Paul the Fossil

    Greed in and of itself doesn’t explain this particular clusterfuck in which the owners’ collective decisionmaking has been thoroughly irrational. If all that was involved was cold economic self-interest then the NHL season would be well under way by now.

    In a similar vein I’ll argue that Daley wasn’t particularly _greedy_ regarding the parking meter and other lease deals, and as a city taxpayer I kind of wish that he was. He was being foolish and spineless and shortsighted — he lacked the guts or the skills to balance the city’s operating budget without lease deals — but that’s not the same thing. Had he been motivated mainly by greed he’d have at a minimum not gotten rolled so easily on the prices which the city got for those asset leases.

  • bennicksic

    Good stuff Sam. I think as far as the $200 jerseys go, it should also be noted that many of the jerseys people wear to games are knockoffs from China and available for $30 each online. So, greed not only drives the price for a jersey up at the game but it also is driving customers to look to other countries for cheaper options. Terrible all around.

  • http://www.facebook.com/USA.Kyle Kyle Miller

    He shoots, He scores.

  • 8675309

    Really? Your’e going to take a blog that is focused on hockey with ocassional jogs into booze and music and use that as your forum to talk about health care, the education system, and our nations foreign policy. Way to fuck up what was starting to be a good site. If you want to vent about that crap then go to cnn, fox, msnbc or any one of a thousand sites. But don’t screw up what is a refuge from the outside world by bringing in the outside world.