America is known as the land of opportunity. People come from all over the world in order to achieve their dreams, or at least be able to support their family without stealing from them.
In recent years, much has been written about inequality of wealth in America. Many economists have concluded that America is no longer the land of opportunity. Social mobility, the ability to climb to higher social classes, has dropped to its lowest point in years, at least according to some.
But maybe the whole idea is an illusion. Maybe social mobility was never really that mobile to begin with.
It isn’t such a crazy idea to suggest that some people have a leg up on the competition due to their family name. We’ve accepted this with a collective shoulder shrug. Some families are just hooked up.
But a recent book about lineage and social mobility shows that your name may be more important than we might have thought. And that whole social mobility thing? We never really had it.
Economist Gregory Clark published a flurry of articles last week in anticipation of his book “The Son Also Rises” which delves into the subject.
Clark picked a group of surnames and studied their positions within society, going back generations to track changes in status. Among the names he chose were Gupta (Indian), Rahimi (Iranian), Kim (Korean), and Papadopolous (Greek). These names all correlated with high-status positions within those cultures and continue to be successful.
Among the high status surnames, Clark found them to be three times as likely to be wealthy than average. So far, not too surprising. If you come from a rich family line, you are more likely to be wealthy.
But his research gets more interesting when he looks at Sweden, a country well known for being the most equal in the world regarding social class. Clark found…pretty much the same thing.
Although they tsk tsk the US for being so unequal, Sweden still has nobility in their country, though they have no political power. When Clark traced family lineages passed down from royal blood, he found a huge disparity. Those with “elite” surnames were overrepresented 60% to 80% as being wealthy versus those with common Swedish surnames.
Even in a redistributive system like Sweden, we see the same wealthy families becoming more wealthy.
So what do we do about this? Is it time to tax those who come from royal blood? Institute a “Name Tax” that bleeds the Rothschilds, the Vanderbilts, and the Guptas dry?
If you live on our planet then you’ll realize that the taxing idea would never happen. We’ll see an Obama/Boehner sex tape before we see that. The wealthy stay wealthy because they’re good at keeping it that way. At this point, we’re battling against history and there’s not much we can do about it.
A Bold Solution
Here’s what we do instead.
Let’s all change our names.
If ten guys with the last name Clinton apply for a job, then what happens? So go ahead, say you’re distant cousins with Bill and Hillary. Maybe your employer will think you can get them into the latest soiree so they can pitch their idea for tax reform.
Or even better, find out your interviewer’s politics from their social media posts, then change your name appropriately. If they’re a republican, you’re now a Reagan. If they’re democrat, go with Carter or Clinton or the king of them all, KENNEDY. If you want to be really creative, change it to Obama. It’s less common, more noticeable, and you have the opportunity for a great lineage story (“yes, as a matter of fact I did grow up in Kenya”).
Clark’s study also found that unusual surnames also carried some weight. While keeping up with the Jones’ and Smith’s meant little, keeping up with the Bagelsnatch’s and Hxnghsosonagle’s has been more of a challenge.
If you choose an unusual surname, go for something strong, something that truly represents you. If you’re handy on a grill, then Harry Grillmaster might suit you well.
Stuck? Simply take your Twitter handle.
“Nice to meet you Jerry Tityboi97″ says your new boss, extending his hand for a firm, yet not-too-firm handshake.
You’ll have to try NOT to get hired, trust me.
This is change you can believe in.
-Bobby Eisenhower IIIPostscript
Oh, and don’t take the following names:
You’ll thank me later.
Loren, 2014 Puppy Bowl MVP, served up some surprises in an interview with Animal Planet’s Lil Bub when she blasted fellow teammates and barked crazily at her fans. Bub looked on in horror as the lovable Brittany Spaniel mix licked her crotch for four painfully long minutes in front of the live television crowd.
“You can’t put a punk linebacker like Ginger in front of Loren,” she said, referring to Ginger, an Old English Shepard Mix who received lots of media attention before the game. “Chump come at me like that, Imma bite his damn face off,” Loren added before promptly urinating in Lil Bub’s path.
Loren won the MVP after scoring a record 4 touchdowns in the annual Puppy Bowl. As a reward Loren will take home a year’s supply of Eukanuba chicken and beef flavored wet dog food. Asked about what she’ll do with her prize, Loren said she would “eat dat shit all at once” and that once the food makes her sick, “I’ll eat dat up too.”
Already Loren has garnered endorsement deals from Kibbles N Bits, Dentabone, and Good Boy pig’s ears. The deals have netted the puppy over 1300 pounds of cooked chicken. Some former players warn that the quick success could be dangerous.
Jake, a Chihuahua/Pug mix who won MVP in Puppy Bowl VI, had his own collision with fame in 2010 after signing contracts worth over $5 million in hot dogs. Two years later Jake found himself millions in debt from overdue taxes, along with a 4 jar/day corn beef habit that saw him spiral into the dark world of addiction. He separated from his wife Flapper, who was a half-time Bunny Cheerleader, and Jakes pups were taken away.
“It moves so fast,” Jake said. “You’re riding high at first, then you find yourself licking bowls in public bathrooms. Well I ain’t lickin’ the bowl no more. That fame will get ya.”
Louis C.K. has a great bit about the effects of slavery throughout history. I’m paraphrasing here, but he says that even though obviously slavery is bad…it did kind of produce the best things throughout history like the pyramids and…the south. Something like that. Well I’ll let Louis tell you himself:
See sometimes war can produce some wonders of the imaginations. Here’s just a few examples:
The New York Times today posted an article detailing the history of spam within the Korean culture. My fiancee is Korean so I’ve had my share of Korean cooking over the past few years. I noticed that Koreans use Spam like white people use chicken. And it’s not just for an easy meal. Spam has experienced a renaissance, used in trendy, top-shelf restaurants. Who would have known that the elite of New York would have so much in common with preppers?
So how did Spam become more popular than j-pop? Turns out that Spam was brought over to South Korean during the Korean war. Spam was invented during the Great Depression by Samuel Hormel, designed to be a cheap source for protein-rich meat. The gooey, gelatinous loafs were popular among the lower classes and especially among soldiers, who were given this delicious dish for tours. After the war, Spam became all the rage among Koreans, whose country was devastated following the war. But hey, they got Spam out of it right?
Since then, Spam has become a popular gift around the holidays, with Spam signifying thoughtfulness and care.
Who know that the happiest sounding instrument of all time, the steel drum, was developed under the most harsh, disgusting human behavior imaginable.
The history of the steel drum goes back to the 16th century and the role that drums played in the culture of African slaves. They used drums made of bamboo to vent their frustrations over their enslaved lives, using the instrument as the link back to their motherland. Slaveowners worried that the drums could be used as communication to foment revolution and tried to silence their playing.
Following World War II, loads of drums were left on Trinidad soil by the British. This became the new bamboo, with the islanders beating on the metal until dents formed. They noticed that the different dents created various pitches. This turned into the modern design of the steel drum, where indentions on the 55 gallon drum create distinct pitches, so you can play things like this:
Not the best known of the bunch, at least among non-Philipinos, but Jeepneys are badass no matter who you are. Jeepneys are the gypsy cabs of the Philipines, an inexpensive form of public transportation that has become a symbol of the island.
Jeepneys are another creation of World War II, which has to be the most innovative war of all time if nothing else. The war left cadres of tanks left on the island, further proof that the allied powers didn’t learn to clean up their messy room. But the tanks weren’t turned into instruments, but rather uniquely painted cabs that look like:
Who wouldn’t want to cruise the streets in this monster? World War II says “you’re welcome.”
They say that mother is the invention of necessity. Maybe that’s not right. Either way, the phrase was invented for the rikimbili, a type of motorized bicycle developed in Cuba.
The economic embargo enacted against Cuba in 1960 has produced its share of inventions, from the sweet classic Cubans drive around, the advancements in home gardening stemming from food shortages following the fall of the Soviet Union, or their world class doctors.
But nothing compares to this:
And finally, the King of them all…
In retrospect, no one says they were happy about the Nazis taking control of Germany in 1932. In the history of boner decisions, this probably ranks near the top. But that isn’t to say that good things can’t come from terrible decisions, as we’ve seen time and time again. But of all instruments of war, highways have to be most rewarding.
Nothing has shaped the American landscape quite like the highway system, first begun by Ike Eisenhower in 1955. Americans could freely roam the country, traversing the strip clubs of Vegas to the strip clubs of Atlanta in a few days. And I would love to give full credit to Ike and that giant forehead of his. But he didn’t invent it folks. For that we have to go to Germany.
The Autobahn, the German highway system, is probably the most frightening place ever. Maniacs fly on this thing, seemingly trying to kill each other, but somehow avoid it at most times. It’s become a trend for Autobahn drivers to post their odometers on Youtube in some sick automobile version of Russian Roulette. But I digress…
Germany’s Autobahn was begun under the Weimer Republic in the 20s. But financial troubles stemming from World War I prevented it from being built. In came the Nazis and their crazy ideas. Hitler ordered the Autobahn finished to accommodate the German infantry, who would use as their yellow brick road of mass murder.
Ironically, Germany’s evil improved our country. So I guess that means, thanks?
Of course by now you’ve heard of the Biebs on his latest trend of tossing eggs at his neighbor’s house. “But I did that when I was 14″ you might say, scoffing at the Biebs for taking part in such a juvenile prank at the ripe age of 20.
But look a little closer and we’ll see something deeper. Bieber is clearly pointing out the inequality problem in the US, each egg delivering a metaphorical ”share the swag son” to the system.
You’ll read reports of Bieber losing his mind, spitting on fans, then buying them snowcones sprinkled with dog urine.
But Biebs ain’t going the way of the Olsen Twins. He said so himself when he said, “I ain’t going the way of the Olsen Twins,” in Esquire magazine.
We’re sick of child stars getting hooked on drugs then staging some corny comeback years later. Corey Feldman, that’s all you bro.