Down here on your old planet, I hear your last name a lot these days.
Take a good look around and you’ll find
People tryin’ to mess with your mind
Cause it don’t mean nothin’
The words that they say
Don’t mean nothin’
These games that people play
– Richard Marx
Hello, Mr. Marx. Sending you greetings, wherever you are.
To be transparent, I’m not too familiar with the body of comedic work you created during your stay on this planet. You were the silent one of the Marx Brothers and used instruments to communicate. Though some years ago, I learned about the infamous golf incident, the one with you and George Burns. That tale itself is pure gold.
From what I know, it happened to be a scorcher of an August day. So you and Mr. Burns decided to take off your shirts, cool down a bit while you played your round. An employee of the fancy course threw a fit and informed you two that you were violating club rules. So, you and George Burns did as you were told and put your shirts back on. After the guy left, you two took off your pants, then resumed golfing.
Nice move, sir. Say hi to George Burns as well. Besides sticking it to The Man by snubbing his dress code, that guy played God.
The reason I am writing is to say that I hear your last name a lot these days. On your former planet of residence, humans find ways to blame everything from viruses to peaceful demonstrations to talk about equality on this thing they call “Marxism.” We have people who think the best way to combat this “Marxism” is through the promotion of policies that ensure our rich folks become as rich as possible. America believes in giving free stuff and government handouts to our wealthiest citizens because doing so keeps this “Marxism” and its demon-legions at bay.
I use your name sometimes when engaging with these folks, I hope that’s cool. They use these technological developments called social media sites to spout nonsense about the creeping influence of “Marxism” and I feel the need to respond with, “Hey…what did Harpo Marx ever do to you?”
Obviously, you’re aware that the mysterious “Marx” who haunts their nightmares is Karl Marx, a person of no blood relation to you who died before you were born. But here’s the thing: while you and I know who Karl Marx is, I am not convinced that they know who Karl Marx is. Even though “Marx” lives rent-free inside their heads, they have no idea who “Karl Marx” was or when he actually lived. The folks who spit venom when they say your last name and rant about “cultural Marxism” and “the Marxist Vice President, Kamala Harris”—they don’t know whether Groucho was the evil mastermind, or Zeppo, or you. Heck, it’s a safe bet that a few even blame Richard, the songwriter whose lyrics introduced this blog post. They dunno. But they do know that Marxism is bad. Rich men say so.
(On a side note, Richard Marx is one of the good guys and he does your last name proud. He posts about fascism and other un-American developments that seem to be rearing their ugly heads here in your old country.)
One man who was alive during your time articulated the problem facing America. The sad part is that he expressed it so eloquently over fifty years ago and, these days, not many changes have taken place. We’re regressing in some ways.
“…Whenever the government provides opportunities in privileges for white people and rich people they call it ‘subsidized’ when they do it for Negro and poor people they call it ‘welfare.’ The fact that is the everybody in this country lives on welfare. Suburbia was built with federally subsidized credit. And highways that take our white brothers out to the suburbs were built with federally subsidized money to the tune of ninety percent. Everybody is on welfare in this country. The problem is that we all to often have socialism for the rich and rugged free enterprise capitalism for the poor. That’s the problem.“
– Martin Luther King, “The Minister to the Valley”
Thank him if you ever run into him up there.
This world was not ready to receive his light.