Portmanteau Commentary: Suicide of a Capitalist - Fashion gets to you, but blesses the child who's got her own

It's 4am and I'm still working and have been since 8am. One of my family members saw that I was still online due to the unfathomable necessity of having my work placed in the realms of the big I. However, being the poet they are (and cleverly knowing that pissing me off this late at night doesn't lead anywhere), instead of heaping me with the unavoidable, familiar family "I'm worried" discussion, which tends to strain said relationship, they sent me a clip that said it all.

It was the lyrics to a Billy Holiday song.



Them that's got shall get/ Them that's not shall lose/ So the Bible said and it still is news/ Mama may have, Papa may have/ But God bless the child that's got his own/ That's got his own

Yes, the strong gets more/ While the weak ones fade/ Empty pockets don't ever make the grade/ Mama may have, Papa may have/ But God bless the child that's got his own/ That's got his own

Money, you've got lots of friends/ Crowding round the door/ When you're gone, spending ends/ They don't come no more/ Rich relations give/ Crust of bread and such/ You can help yourself/
But don't take too much/ Mama may have, Papa may have/ But God bless the child that's got his own/ That's got his own

Mama may have, Papa may have/ But God bless the child that's got his own/ That's got his own/ He just worry 'bout nothin'/ Cause he's got his own
Suicide of a Capitalist
This is quite poignant on several levels. I love this song, but I associate it most with the film "Enron - the smartest guys in the room", which was one of the cornerstones of my dissertation (it's a long title, sorry) "Cinema and Financial Amorality - A theoretical dissertation on Film Representation and its impact on Financial Amorality, Public Awareness of it and the Relationship of Cinema to the Great Depression and the Credit Crunch - a Case Study Comparison of the Films 'It's a Wonderful Life' and 'Boiler Room'". The song is used in the opening credits alongside a scene in which Cliff Baxter, one of Enron's CEO's, kills himself close to the trials.

As you can imagine, this gives the song a very snide, capitalistic and awfully selfish slant, which are fully justified in that environment. However, I find that unfair towards the song, as the implications are certainly more than the simple finger pointing the film has employed the song for.

Independence
It also discusses an aspect which I feel is much more related to my own situation, which is that of wanting to be independent. Known for its capitalistic morality, which is a deeply lodged assumption in the song, Billy Holiday sings in her rough beautiful voice about "having" being a position to strive for. Not once does she mention work but clearly outlines their background, which increases the song's deeply capitalistic ideal. Ironically, the song implies the relief of worry when one "has their own". What has never ceased to amaze me (read any good biography) is how family members throughout history have tended to believe that financial help in a financially tight situation will ease the worry of whomever that 'generosity' is bestowed upon. However, such is certainly not the case. In fact, the worry heaps fourfold in any normal human being (yes, I'm judgmental of freeloaders who are cool with being such).
1. "How can a relationship possibly be healthy under conditions of expectations of gratitude?"
2. "How hard do I need to work and how much do I have to succeed in order to justify and gratefully convert the opportunity and investment to it's full extent? Am I providing a high enough ROI, in whichever terms?"
3. "When I'm nice, I want to know for certain that THEY know it is NOT because of money, but because I enjoy their company. How can I prevent that awful oil swimming on the surface of the relationship when money is involved?"
4. "I can't possibly spend a single penny on anything beyond survival needs. If I did, it would be like betrayal"

Fashion is capitalism
That last point is the one which applies to fashion lovers the most. Fashion is, to a great extent, about consumption of goods and more importantly, about ENJOYING that investment. In order to do so, money must be earned. You can see where this is going. However casual, sometimes a mere side effect or even necessary evil, that capitalistic need of the fashionista to OWN and SHOP, the participation is certainly unavoidable in a culture as consumer focused as fashion. My point is - there's nothing wrong with that, as long as you achieve it based on your own merits, your own hard work and the knowledge that there is NO aspect whatsoever which would allow what has been acquired to belong or have to be justified to anybody but myself. This is the only psychological situation in which I can truly release a big chunk of worry, which still doesn't cancel out the debt of the cost, time and emotional investment in the upbringing of little Lira to Lira Leirner.

Most people involved in fashion, however, I do not see to be such. They work hard, and they create and share, even in the form of image, a written piece, a carefully crafted piece, and are truly involved in the community. I have nothing but respect for them. I have found myself in the position of being able to create, and I am lucky. Yet, I still need to kick that nagging other habit, that of consumption and the joy of holding a perfect, freshly cut leather piece of architecture, purely designed to grace and carry me, which is so difficult to ignore. I may be trying to commit capitalist suicide, but hopefully I'll come out at the other end as a Phoenix.

Yes, I may work hard, and yes, I have a wardrobe bigger than most boutiques and a shoe collection that could rival the fictional one of Carrie. But my dear family, as Billy says herself: I "have my own", I am without worry. Fashion is capitalism, but I can see it changing.