Glenn Greenwald’s observations about how, in the context of the Wikileaks story, the usual symbiotic relationship between our government and Big Media is moving toward something like organic union reminded me that Hubert Wolfe’s clerihew translates well across the Atlantic:
You cannot hope to bribe or twist
(Thank God!) the British Journalist
But when one sees what the man will do
Unbribed, there is no occasion to.
I am his Highness’ dog at Kew;
Pray tell me, sir, whose dog are you?
“On the Collar of a Dog”
On a vaguely related note, I recently had occasion to read some accounts of the sinking of the Titanic, and was struck by how men such as John Jacob Astor IV and Benjamin Guggenheim went down with the ship.* Astor was one of the richest men in America, while Guggenheim was a scion of an immensely wealthy and politically connected family. Somehow I find it difficult to believe that, in a similar situation today, Bill Gates and Jeb Bush would be allowed to freeze to death in the waters of the North Atlantic, while hundreds of members of the Lower Orders were taking up precious life boat space.
*While it’s true that first class passengers survived at more than twice the rate of those holding third class tickets, gender and age still much better predictors of who got into the lifeboats, when considering all passengers together. However, higher class status was an extremely powerful predictor of survival within subgroups. For example 90% the first and second class women passengers survived, while only half the women in third class lived. And while a third of first class men survived, nine out of ten of those in second and third class perished. Most strikingly, almost all children in first and second class survived, as compared to just 31% of those in third class. Statistics here.