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Friday, March 5, 2010


--Are you ready?
--As ready as I’ll ever be. Got my wine, got my seatbelt on.
--I won’t read the whole thing, just the salient points.
--That would be best.
--This is from someone named Don Richmond. He takes another letter writer to task for failing to appreciate the “only moral economic system.”
--Do you think these people ever meet up on the street? What would happen?
--You see quite a few men using putters as canes. That could be trouble. But we have to stay on message. Do you know what “the only moral economic system” is, Barbara?
--Well, Barry, let me think. Yes, I believe I do. That would be capitalism, right?
--Yes, and no. You have your plain, old garden-variety capitalism, but that’s not what Don’s talking about. He’s talking about the red-meat version touted by Ayn Rand.
--I have to say I’ve never read any of her books.
--Don’t feel bad. Don has read them for us. In his letter, he offers proof that Rand’s system of capitalism is especially moral.
--That’s good. If her capitalism isn’t moral, I don’t want anything to do with it. I want it out of my house.
--Not only is it moral, it’s hugely important. In fact, Don tells us that Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged is, quote, “second in influence only to the Bible.”
--Wow. That’s the proof?
--It’s right here in The Naples Daily News, it must be proof. Which can be confusing, because Rand was a lifelong atheist.
--Yes. I, too, am now confused. The writings of Ayn Rand, an atheist, are second only in moral importance to the Bible. How exactly does Don get from A to B? I mean from B to R?
--I think you have to assume his criteria for establishing moral importance are based on sales figures. After all, we’re talking red-meat capitalism.
--People are still buying the Bible, aren’t they?
--They are, but some of them must also be buying multiple copies of Atlas Shrugged. You know, as moral gifts. Stocking stuffers. Although given the size of the book, you would want to use Support Hose.
--I’m shocked. If this Don person and his friends caused the Bible to slip to second place, none of them is welcome in my home.
--Yes, it’s troubling. What would actually make more sense is for Don to match up Ayn Rand with L. Ron Hubbard.
--I haven’t read him, either.
--Well, it’s too late to start. All his books are huge, like Atlas Shrugged. Only people with a family history of extreme longevity should start a Hubbard book. All you need to know is, his novels led to the pseudo-science of Dianetics. Which then morphed into the pseudo-religion of Scientology.
--Isn’t that Tom Cruise’s thing? Scientology?
--I believe it is. Also John Travolta’s thing.
--So it’s a cult. Think about it. John Travolta flies his own 727 or something. A movie star cult member is at the controls.
--On auto pilot, so he can read the works of L. Ron Hubbard. Oh, good, here’s another morality story. It’s an article about Muslim fundamentalists. Did you see it?
--Honey, I didn’t read the paper today. That’s why you’re filling me in.
--Sorry, forgot. It says hardliner Saudi clerics are insisting that, quote, “no Saudi women should appear on TV. Nor should any images of women appear in Saudi newspapers and magazines.”
--That’s just nuts. How are they going to sell anything? Don’t Saudis do laundry? Don’t the men want their women to wash their hair? I want to see the sales figures for shampoo in Saudi Arabia. I want to know how much shampoo they sell, with Saudi men doing the selling.
--I'm sure it's state-run, without ads. Except for worry beads, and solid gold bathroom fixtures.
--Or border collies. Advertising always makes use of dogs, especially smart ones like border collies.
--You’re right, that’s true. You can’t move much product without dogs.
--Didn’t somebody throw shoes at Bush?
--That was in Baghdad. The Saudis and the Bushes are joined at the hip.
--Maybe they have Johnston & Murphy or Nike ads. Men in long robes throwing wingtips.
--This issue of the paper would be complete if Hayes Wicker were making another appearance. In hockey terms, that would give us a moral hat trick.
--The name is vaguely familiar.
--Wicker is a Baptist minister. He has a huge flock here. The church is so big it makes me think of the assembly building at Cape Canaveral. Don’t you remember? I think it was last year he wrote a letter. He said the threat of gay marriage represented a disaster greater than either the Holocaust, or slavery.
--Yes, now I do. I remember being disappointed a moral lightning bolt didn’t take him out.
--Fundamentalists everywhere you turn. Political, religious. God help us.
--Amen to that.


  1. My favorite DBD post so far! Here's Rand in a Playboy interview circa 1964: http://www.ellensplace.net/ar_pboy.html. I read her in college in the late sixties; she made my teeth ache. And I love this little touch from her funeral: "Rand's funeral was attended by some of her prominent followers, including Alan Greenspan. A six-foot floral arrangement in the shape of a dollar sign was placed near her casket."

    Bring on the border collies.

  2. I believe I've discovered the correct attitude for reading your posts. Plop my feet on the desk, nod, and chuckle. Oh yeah...and learn.

  3. You got me. I'm hooked. My husband and I have our DBD time, too. We call it "debriefing." When we first met, about 30 years ago, he said, "Sweetheart,"(Bogart-style), "you better keep your seat-belt buckled. It's going to be a wild ride." The man didn't lie.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a note, Barry. My younger brother is ill and my ability to type a single word has been affected. It must be coming back, though, or I wouldn't be visiting you & Barbara this morning. I've been blogging since late 2003; this hiatus is temporary.


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