Wednesday, May 6, 2020

FAUSTIAN BARGAIN


There is a meme in old American movies about a stick-up, an armed robbery. The criminal is facing his victim and holding a gun. "Your money or your life," the thug barks. It's a bad choice but one is much worse than the other.  

A Faustian bargain refers to the legend of the old alchemist who sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for youth, love and wealth. Everything the world has to offer came to Faust, but in the end he was doomed. Our government's policies about the virus and economic recovery have begun to feel like this. Your money or your life, indeed. Granted, my family is financially secure and I understand why others would be desperate. In the big picture, though, I'd rather have my life, and my family's, friends and co-workers. And yours.

Normally at this time of year I'd be shooting The Lou's many outdoor events. All canceled, of course, so I have to find something else. Last weekend I went to one of our two huge old cemeteries, Bellefontaine. It's all Protestant (every name is English, Scottish or German). The Catholic one, Calvary, is adjacent. It's where our rich and famous get planted. I got a good shot of the grave of our native son and cultural hero, William S. Burroughs. Tennessee Williams is across the road. We will come back to the subject.  

1 comment:

Barbara Rogers said...

And to carry further the stick-up story...suppose the guy says, "ok, my life." Then the robber shoots him, and takes his money. Not exactly any better in the long run, except for the robber! I grew up in St. Louis, so am looking forward to seeing more posts from you.