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Last Saturday night was the latest installment of Nelson Lugo and Shaffer the Dark Lord’s series of entertainments predicated on puerile pleasures. Last time around it was “Video Game Vixens.” This time it’s “Cartoons!” The genre of entertainment is burlesque, and the conceit is “Saturday morning when we were kids.” The tagline for the show ran thusly: “the boys and girls celebrate cartoons and the brightly-colored foxes that star in them. Pour a bowl of Cap’N Crunch and gather ’round the boob tube, because this month, EPIC WIN is gonna party like it’s Saturday morning!” Yes indeedy. Six lovely ladies did burlesque routines as six fairly well known Saturday morning cartoon females: Miss Mary Cyn as Bugs Bunny (dressed as a chick — natch), Lefty Lucy as Bubbles from the Powerpuff Girls, Victoria Privates as the chick who sang “Unpack Your Adjectives” on Schoolhouse Rock (Blossom Dearie), Bonnie Voy’age as She-Ra, BB Heart as Faye Valentine from Cowboy Bebop, Magdalena Fox as April O’Neil from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
No, the picture above isn’t the Old West, or Kansas in the 1930s, or a movie set. This ruined house is in urban Buffalo, 2008.
Stephen Dubner of Freakonomics fame asks the question: why is it that major macroeconomics texts books gloss over the fact that periodical economic crises are endemic to capitalist accumulation? The discipline of macroeconomics came into being as a reaction to the Great Depression of the 1930s. Its purpose as an academic endeavor was to minimize or eliminate the business cycle. The promise of macroeconomics tells us, if we’re smart enough we can think our way out of what looks like a permanent feature of capitalism.
The financial crisis of the last month has given the ultimate lie to the thought that economies can grow without also shrinking. (With two small exceptions in 1990 and 2002 the US has had sustained growth for 25 years. The unwinding of the current asset bubble in housing is the final end of that growth period.) Conservatives fear the business cycle because in a crisis the people look to the government to keep them from starving, and that, they feel, is socialism. This essay by Murray Rothbard puts the free market fundamentalist case eloquently. Liberals are hoping Obama can turn disaffection over jobs into votes, though liberals also are wary of being too gleeful about the impending crisis.