It’s Not Us, It’s All in Your Head

Gayle Leslie
18 min readSep 25, 2023

Get your money for nothing, get your chicks for free.” ~ Dire Straits

Cancel Culture: the practice or tendency of engaging in mass canceling as a way of expressing disapproval and exerting social pressure.

Consequence: a result or effect of an action or condition.

I’d thought to write a piece on the cascade of uber wealthy saying the quiet part out loud in recent weeks, telling us — to our faces — that all those decades of working people ‘complaining’ about the institutional racism, misogyny and classism that we intuited were keeping us on our knees, unable to prosper, to move forward, to thrive — all the reasons, the excuses these self-congratulatory gatekeepers had for not treating working folks with dignity, let alone paying them — was all in our heads. That all ‘we the people’ had to do was work harder, be sweeter and stop complaining and that we would be fine.

The self ordained ‘ruling class’ were not ‘gaslighting’ us, they were just smarter, they worked harder, they just knew better than we did what was good for us. That ‘we the people’ were lazy and ungrateful.

‘We the people’ aren’t fine. In fact, weren’t f*cking pissed and over it.

My first thought was to write about them, but lately they’ve done such a stellar job of telling us themselves, saying the quiet part out loud that I’ve elected to let these clever folks speak for themselves.

We need to see unemployment rise. Unemployment has to rise forty to fifty percent in my view. We need to see pain in the economy, we need to remind people that they work for the employer, not the other way around…We’ve got to kill that attitude and that has to come through hurting the economy…”

Tim Gurner says he’s ‘worth’ over $750 million US. What he fails to mention is that he started his real estate business, not from being a nose-to-the-grindstone wunderkind as a gym tycoon, but with a stake from his grandfather: this self-satisfied millennial puddlehead has never worked for actual survival a single day in his life. But he’s got a lot to say about his ‘lazy’ contemporaries who need to be smacked back into their places.

‘ Btw Dave, you have 30 mins to clear your desk before security escorts you off the premises’

Oh those crocodile tears over his ‘insensitive’ comments, but watch Gurner. It is pretty obvious that his comments were well thought out, so this has been on his mind for a while: he was merely ‘expressing’ himself. And my wager is that many of his self-styled mogul contemporaries were pretty pissed. Gurner revealed to all the world what they talk about at the uber-rich shareholders’ ‘Happy Hours’ when they think no one is listening. Oh Tim, poor Tim.

Reporter: “Why shouldn’t workers be entitled to what they gave up fifteen years ago, especially since GM is making record profits right now?”

Barra: “First of all this is a very cyclical business and we’ve had a very strong run. I think that is because of the demand from the economy and what we’ve been through unprecedented hardship with Covid…This is a pivotal point in the auto industry…”

Oh dear god, I have to call bullsh*t: what does that even have to do with these negotiations? Barra has her narrative down, and I am sure that she is ‘clutching her pearls’ to stave off a shareholder revolt. But this is utter pablum and she goes on repeating herself for over eight minutes.

Workers gave up huge concessions to save the companies in the catastrophic downturn of ’08. When automakers experienced a historic resurgence in subsequent years, they used the windfall to pay stock-buybacks to shareholders, failing to even remotely make their employees whole.

When Covid shut down manufacturing the auto execs again beseeched assembly-line workers to come back to keep factories open. Many did and some died of the virus they contracted on the job. As profits exploded exponentially, Barra, other execs and shareholders made more money than a single human can spend in a lifetime and again, those working on the factory floor did not see anything approaching that kind of compensation.

Consider this: if auto execs across the board seeded roughly 15% of their windfall they could meet virtually all the existing demands of striking workers. Does anyone believe that Mary Barra does any amount of actual work that warrants $29 million dollars a year? If she did anything at all it was from a hidden estate far from the assembly line.

Streaming services like Netflix have been one of the few ‘winners’ during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

A writer for FX’s ‘The Bear’ went to the Writers Guild of America Awards with a negative bank account balance and won for Best Comedy Series. He’s now applying for jobs at movie theaters.”

When the award winning show ‘This Is Us’ went into reruns on streaming platforms, Mandy Moore — the star of the show — reported receiving a residual check for 1¢, because the actors’ last contract negotiations were decades ago before there were streaming platforms. Before streaming, actors made their livings on residuals, but there is no equation for even calculating or paying residuals in any of the streaming models. Top brass maintains that their profits calculating apparatus must be kept secret to keep their ‘competitive edge’, making it just im-f*cking-possible to reveal the true numbers to the actors and writers in the negotiations. I can simplify that conundrum: return to the SHARED COMMON calculating mechanism the Company used to sort this out for decades before these brain-trusts appeared on the scene. Problem solved.

Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos’ compensation reached $50.3 million last year. That calculation is true across the board for CEOs operating these platforms.

While Sarandos claims that the company has no mechanism for calculating payments to so many artists, Netflix is available in over 190 countries, using big data analytics to track the interaction of every customer and produce more original content; clearly the company is capable of running the numbers, allocating compensation payments to thousands of actors and writers.

If Netflix can afford to spend $166 million on executive compensation, it can afford the roughly $68 million artists are seeking in their contract negotiations.

[Update: as of this post, Writers have today reached a tentative three-year agreement with streaming services. Operative word there being ‘three-year’; no more open ended agreements in the world of ever-changing technology that no one can foresee or control. As for the actors, we shall see.]

In 2020 Masterson indignantly declined a plea deal: it’s a dictate of the Church of Scientology that consequence only exist if you say it does. The victims — former members of Scientology — were first told by their ‘programmers’ that if the rapes happened they must have ‘wanted it’, that it was their fault that Masterson took them to his house where he drugged and penetrated their limp bodies. Upon leaving the church they were subsequently terrorized into silence: hence, the twenty years between his crimes and his conviction. There were two other complainants that apparently — for whatever reasons — didn’t go to trial; there’s no doubt in my mind that, in those two decades, there were others who didn’t want to be subjected to this public debasement.

Shelly Miscavige, the wife of Scientology CEO, David Miscavige, was last seen at her father’s funeral in 2007: she simply disappeared. Her husband didn’t report her missing and pleaded ignorance to her fate claiming there was no reason to look for her. So the search is over and Shelly’s still gone.

“You can not rape someone you are in a relationship with,” ~ Scientology programmer.

Apparently rumors had lingered for decades in Hollywood of Masterson’s predatory behavior because he was confronted publicly as early as ‘04. Still Scientology spent millions protecting him while denigrating his victims.

“The fact that you said your letters of support were intended for the judge, that you didn’t intend them to be made public shows that you are not sorry for what you did: you are sorry that you got caught.” ~ Twitter comment took the words right out of my mouth

Tangential to the Masterson horror show is the complicity of his co-stars Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, and that faux apology. But it gets worse for Kutcher.

“Dear Ashton, I know the secrets your ‘role model’ keeps for you. Ones that would end you. Did you forget I was there? You were on speaker phone that night you called Danny on February 21, 2001. I hear everything. I heard the plan. In my opinion, you’re just as sick as your ‘mentor.’” ~Chrissie Carnell Bixler, one of Masterson’s accusers

If that is provable, Ashton Kutcher could have criminal exposure.

In less than one year, WeWork went from having a $47 billion valuation and being the darling of the venture capital world to needing an $8 billion infusion to avoid running out of money.”

WeWork’s fall was so catastrophic that it has generated podcasts, books, TV series, and a documentary; it is still surreally unbelievable that hundreds of mostly twenty-somethings bought what this sh*t stain was selling and left their jobs to live together in a midtown Manhattan cult only to lose their community, their homes and all hope, many landing back in their parents’ basements. And while the company was imploding Neumann and his nutty wife blew New York City for a beach holiday, taking in mammoth waves while his babies — all six of them — played in the sand.

Adam Neumann — who has never had a concrete business plan beyond his charismatic sway — pissed away hundreds-of-millions in other people’s money repeatedly and he’s still out there peddling his grifts, which keep imploding in short order.

An old friend of mine who procured art for the very wealthy for decades told me years ago that most of them didn’t work especially hard to earn their money, nor did they work to keep it. He said that, in his experience, as a demographic, the obscenely rich are not particularly intelligent, they’re just bored people. The charismatic Neumann is the ‘new shiny object’: they think he’s ‘cool’ company. They simply write off the losses on their taxes.

Once the wealth mechanisms — the shares in a given entity, the off-shoring of huge amounts of untaxed cash — are established, the money just makes more money: ‘money for nothing…’

Nice work if you can get it.

Ashton Kutcher and Adam Neumann

And oh look who came to help Adam Neuman spin his case to the ‘more money than god’ crowd for cash when they both knew the company’s implosion was imminent: do you think Kutcher offered any of those soon to be broke and homeless young true believers a life line? Do ya?

“In an interview with The New York Times — which was published online Friday, to promote his new book, The Masters — Wenner said he didn’t include interviews with Black and female musicians in his book because they aren’t “articulate” enough.”

Jann Werner

Cue the violins:

“In my interview with The New York Times, I made comments that diminished the contributions, genius, and impact of Black and women artists and I apologize wholeheartedly for those remarks.”

And predictably:

“Jann Wenner will retire next year as chairman of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation in New York.”

Jann Wenner — co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine — was one of the first openly gay entertainment moguls: his vicious commentary about female and black brilliance in Rock-n-Roll leaves me wondering how he’d respond to a dictum that gay men are incapable of musical brilliance?

And in another minute Rolling Stone will be all ‘Jann who?’ One can only imagine how his dark hateful nature informed his professional choices over the decades: and whose life and career Wenner ‘influenced’ — one way or another — in all that time?

There’s so much to expound on with Elon Musk’s particular insanity that this will be limited to the most recent ‘mad man on the mountain’ episode: his privately owned Starlink satellites are moving data all over the world allowing him to control all manner of communications between nations. The United States has essentially farmed out its space program to this freak, what could possibly go wrong?

When the Ukrainians were equipped to move drones across the Russian lines to disarm the military strongholds that were bombing Ukrainian cities — after private communications with Vladimir Putin — Musk decided that he personally did not want to engage in the conflict so he ordered Starlink satellites in the region to be essentially ‘turned off’ mid-mission: the Ukrainian drones fell into the sea because Elon Musk decided he wanted them to.

Musk attributes much of his inability to connect, to even function as a human being, to his Asperger’s: I know people with Asperger’s. In and of itself that doesn’t make one a narcissist or an a**hole. Greta Thunberg — quirky — not an a**hole; Albert Einstein — high maintenance — not an a**hole; Nikola Tesla, Ben Franklin, Daryl Hannah, Emily Dickinson, Marie Curie, Charles Darwin: not a**holes. In fact, they worked for the benefit of mankind.

Musk also had a beast of a brutally abusive father. So did a lot of us and we didn’t turn into monsters with delusions of bringing the world to its knees.

Elon Musk has no excuse, he needs to be stopped.

“The pill is stronger than morphine and sparked the opioid crisis that’s now killing more than 100 people a day in America and has spawned millions of addicts.”

We have to hammer on the abusers in every way possible. They are the culprits and the problem. They are the reckless criminals.” ~ Richard Sackler

Richard Sackler, chairman of Purdue Pharmaceuticals, oversaw the evolution of Oxycontin as a powerful ‘painkiller’: several decades ago, when it all started, Oxy — as it is called — provided effective relief for pain often caused by injury. Wasting no time, though, Richard Sackler personally engineered a ‘marketing’ plan to keep increasing the potency of the pills while offering doctors major perks and benefits to prescribe Oxy. Higher dosing rapidly turned pain patients into desperate drug addicts, killing thousands and destroying families.

When confronted by the madness of his methodology, Sackler continues repeating his talking point that people who become addicted are weak, that they are addicts because they fail to control their own impulses. To this day he’s not admitted that his increasing the opioid’s potency — doubling and tripling it — with every new incarnation was designed to addict pain patients, compelling insurance companies to pay ever increasing prices to sustain patients’ addictions and driving drug starved patients to commit crimes to afford the pills. Thus providing an ever increasing cash flow for the company, and the Sackler family.

The Sacklers made tens-of-billions in blood money marketing Oxy to desperate people while the death toll surpasses a million Americans and counting.

“Until recently, Purdue was controlled by the Sackler family, who withdrew billions of dollars from the company before it filed for bankruptcy. The family has now agreed to contribute up to $6 billion to Purdue’s reorganization fund on the condition that the Sacklers receive a release from civil liability.”

In recent months the Supreme Court blocked Purdue’s bankruptcy filing citing the terms of the filing let Purdue, and the Sacklers personally, off the hook for future civil liability for deaths from the evil genie they unleashed.

No member of the Sackler family has ever been criminally charged in connection with the marketing of OxyContin, or any overdose deaths involving the drug.”

Elizabeth Holmes

In brief: Holmes dropped out of college at nineteen with a plan to raise funding for a machine that would diagnose hundreds of maladies, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer — basically anything that might make a body sick — using one single drop of blood. Without any degree in biology, chemistry or any necessary branch of science or medicine, she told investors she’d captivated with her pretty, young white girl beneficence that, not only did the technology exist, but she had somehow acquired it. And that she alone had access to it, if only she had the funds to develop the portable device and get it to market.

What I find interesting is that Elizabeth Holmes is not especially attractive, she’s pretty ordinary without the make-up and photo touch-ups. In fact, she’s a little odd looking: bulging eyes that sometimes appear crossed, blonde hair that doesn’t really look natural, a sort of puffy face. And she worked hard to alter her rather high squeaky voice into that deep raspy quality that she thought would give her more gravitas, as if to recreate herself into the ‘fake’ that she was peddling. There was never anything authentic about Holmes or her grift.

And the old men who were captivated by her didn’t see her sexually; and if they had Holmes was too immature and unsophisticated to know how to leverage it. She seems to have triggered a deeply paternalistic affection reserved for the ‘granddaughter’ with laudable aspirations who only needed some help from her ‘Gramps’ to get started. It’s as if they simply ditched all they knew about due diligence or serious inquiry into her qualifications or preparation for such an ambitious undertaking. But she was ‘the apple of Grampa’s eye who’d hung the moon’. George Schultz was the Secretary of State under Ronald Reagan, what was up with that?

My Pappy was like that, I was the oldest grandbaby and I got anything I wanted: toys, ice cream, pudding, money to spend at college. And boy, I worked it. Lucky my Pappy wasn’t worth tens-of-millions of dollars to blow on my nonsense, I guess?

To be clear: the technology existed only on ‘Star Trek’. It does not exist and, given the complexities of diagnosing — let alone treating — each individual pathology, it will take hundreds of years to develop such a device, if ever.

When confronted by skeptics, then by hard evidence of her grift, they responded with defiant denial. Holmes — and her partner, Sonny Balwani — under pressure to go to market, went so far as to take the guts out of an office machine and the label off a copier to present as the ‘miracle’ device. Provided to medical facilities, the fraud put thousands of lives at risk by producing bogus results. Holmes knew it was junk: she kept taking the money.

Elizabeth Holmes stood by her grift even as she was found out and the company collapsed, leaving dozens of employees — some who’d first come to her, then to law enforcement with their doubts — wondering what had just happened to their lives.

When her faux science was finally revealed as what was actually a criminal enterprise amounting to a massive con, Holmes ‘swung for the fences’ in her efforts to minimize her legal exposure. She hastily married a much younger, very rich man and got pregnant not once but twice between the guilty verdict for three counts of wire fraud and her sentencing.

Holmes overestimated her feminine sway, though: the charms that had served her so well now appeared silly in court. It’s not a reach to say that she assumed no judge or jury, especially one including even a few pliable men, would put the mother of young children away for long. What she didn’t count on was that the women would be utterly incensed by that stunt — which I proffer is why she rarely, if ever, approached female entrepreneurs for funding — and most working-class men are not that easily manipulated. She was sentenced to roughly eleven years in — of all places — Bryan, Texas: a place I know well and can guarantee that Elizabeth Holmes will get no sympathy from rough customers with long stretches ahead of them.

And does anyone believe that hotshot she married is going to hang-in for the long haul? Especially with two young kids to raise? And if so, might I offer you some beautifully maintained swampland?

Like Holmes, there’s been a slew of socially awkward, exceedingly unsophisticated and pathologically unstable millennials springing from working and middle class backgrounds — versed in creating massive online profiles — attending pricey universities, aspiring to find shortcuts to the wealth, connections and influence of their classmates.

Sam Bankman Fried — the ‘Crypto Grifter’ — who, after being put under house arrest awaiting trial for using his online savvy to transfer hundreds-of-millions in investor money into his private accounts, was jailed for contacting and threatening potential witnesses. And just because: last week Bankman-Fried’s mom was arrested for trying to help him hide his ill-gotten gains by putting it into the PAC she chairs. So we know where he got it, I guess.

Martin Shkreli, the millennial ‘Pharma Bro’ — and formerly BFF to Trump 2.0, Vivek Ramaswamy (yeah, I threw up in my mouth when I heard that too) — who secured the rights to a potentially life-saving drug then raised the cost by 5,000%, went to prison for Securities Fraud.

And, of course, the very weird Anna Delvey who pretended to be a German princess to con Manhattan socialites: she did several years in prison and upon release returned to her con.

These wannabes are probably the most dangerous because they are literally out of their freakin’ minds. As soon as the opportunity arises they will be back online, doing it again. Bankman-Fried stole all the money he could move, rendering his marks penniless in some cases; Shkreli — so creepy looking and obnoxious that a former classmate said he made people just want to ‘smack him’ on sight — held people’s lives hostage as he extorted them for drugs they needed to survive; and it apparently never even occurred to Delvey — a ‘dead-eyed diva’ who looks as if she might stab you in your sleep, then go to brunch — to stop talking about her next con when she got out of jail the first time. Social media has created the infantile psychopaths who will, without doubt, kill somebody eventually.

Absolutely no there there. All because they wanted what other people had, regardless of whatever sorry vicious sh*t their ‘role models’ had done to hoard their treasure. Or what dark contrivances they’d used to keep it.

These avatars of ‘whiteness’ are time and time again given the benefit of the doubt when they ‘crime’ or ‘behave badly’ or ‘game the system’; furthermore, they are permitted to act out much longer before the other shoe drops. That is the definition of institutionalized ‘white privilege’.

A black man would never have pulled this off, let along stayed out of jail or alive long enough to pull this sh*t repeatedly.

These chuckleheads leverage whiteness to access the levers of power: power to gerrymander elections; power to gerrymander the stock market; power to gerrymander the mechanisms of governance, taxation, regulation and the judiciary; the power to gerrymander the assembly-line floor, to withhold life altering healthcare, to rape with impunity and to decide who becomes a star and who is never heard from again.

While the rest of us are expected to resign ourselves to our lesser station in the social order, bend over and grab our ankles and take it up the a** without resistance or complaint.

Begging the question: how’s that goin’ for ya’?