Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Lemm Iacocca Rages Righteously Against the Cliff

An old Titan of the Iron Triangle has arisen from his burrow hole to give us sage warning and a simpleton's solution: "Where Have All The Leaders [and flowers] Gone?". For you young Lemmings out there who don't and can't be expected to remember him, the Lemm Iacocca was the comeback crafting king of one of the Big Three in automaking, the Chrysler Corporation. Like GM and Ford, Chrysler was a pillar of our civilization. It was a pillar of Rome that could not and must not fall. But it did.

Here is an excerpt from the excerpt of Iacocca's book:

We’ve got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we’ve got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can’t even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, “Stay the course.” Stay the course? You’ve got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic.

Well at least someone in the herd has awakened to see our mainstream mass moving relentlessly toward the cliff.

Question is, why did Lemm Iacocca open his Lemming eyes so late in the game? When did the beam of enlightenment dawn on him that The Market was not providing "us" with the best and the brightest for steering our Titanic away from the Iceberg?

And what of the irony? Is he not, was he not, one of the Ring Masters in the Three Ring Circus of Corporate America: GM-Ford-Chrysler?

Lemm Iacocca is of the born-again belief that there is a steering house on our Ship and that someone lives in the steering house; the someone being those he calls the "clueless bozos steering our Ship of State".

The sad fact is, Mr. Iacocca, there is no one home in the steering house. The machine, the ship, steers itself. It's sort of like a herd of wild steer charging maddingly up the ramp to the slaughter house. Each one of us bullies the one in front to "move forward" lest we all fall behind and become one of the left behinds. It is a blind fear. A primitive fear that drives us forward toward some expected Shining City on the Hill. We are not yet bright enough to understand that the light at the end of the tunnel is a locomotive. We have been trained throughout life to believe that charging forward is "progress". Bully for us. (Or should the old saw instead be: "Bullheaded Bulls are Us"?)

But why bother now to take a retiree's pause, to perchance stop in your bull's charge forward, to step back from the ledge, and to take a sweeping look around you Mr. Iacocca? Don't you know time is a wasting? There are so many things that need to be hurriedly "accomplished". So little time.

We each have our own vial of vital vitamin C's: There are Calves to be birthed and herded through College There are Careers that must be built and nurtured in a Constantly Competitive environment. There are fancy Cars that must be bought. There are Consumptionest Estates of Real that must be accumulated and manicured. There are Commies and Crazed Islamists to be gored in our bull's rage "over there" before they do the same to us "over here". There are Corporate Chiefs to be clothed in gilded parachutes and covered with Cradle to Course (Golf Course) Pensions. We have so much to do. Why stop to stare about and waste time?

Lemm Cocca of course continues to believe in The Machine and its main control point: The Steering Wheel. He insists that it is merely a matter of finding the correct "Leadership" to install in key spots. Just implant one smart leader here and another there. Then by magic, the cliffward charge of our mad herd of bulls will veer toward the more correct direction "forward". Here is another excerpt from Lemm Cocca's rage against the cliff (Where Have All the Leaders Gone?):

But when you look around, you’ve got to ask: “Where have all the leaders gone?” Where are the curious, creative communicators? Where are the people of character, courage, conviction, competence, and common sense? I may be a sucker for alliteration, but I think you get the point.
[Stepback insert: You get The Bull's horn. You get the old "you've got to, you've got to". Don't dare step back and ask Why "you've got to"? Bullies know how to bully the herd forward.]
... Name me an industry leader who is thinking creatively about how we can restore our competitive edge in manufacturing. Who would have believed that there could ever be a time when “the Big Three” referred to Japanese car companies? How did this happen —and more important, what are we going to do about it?
Name me a government leader who can articulate a plan for paying down the debt, or solving the energy crisis, or managing the health care problem. The silence is deafening. But these are the crises that are eating away at our country and milking the middle class dry.

Come now Lemm Coccoa. Not one bray from you about "Peak Oil"? Not one bleat bout "Global Warming"? Not one grunt against "Over Population"? Not one nuanced notion that perhaps the whole corporate mentality and consumerist creed might be corraling us toward our own doom? Lay it all down on "Leadership"? Simple as that?


Anonymous said...

Our Bull-headed belief in "leadership" knows no bounds. Here is another clueless analyst who blames it all on "leadership". Yes it is true that our leaders are morally bankrupt and principle-wise psychotic. But it is The Machine that lifted them to their positions of prominence and not the other way around.

In the realm of social Darwinism, you got to ask yourself: Who is more likely to rise to the top rung of a "competitive" organization; someone who cares about "doing the right thing", or someone who possesses a "psychotic personalit[y], or PP, the medical term for smart, personable people who have no consciences”?

So yes, of course, G. W. Bush qualifies as a smart, personable creature who has no conscience and rose to the top. All the people he ran across on his Bull's run up the ramp were of equal stature and quality. But what did you expect? Is it not true that as a herd, we yearn to follow the strong leader? Do we not ourselves ask for a bull-headed male with head strong convictions? Did we not get the no flip-flop leader we asked for?

Anonymous said...

Chrysler at the gates of Hell --a HuffPo critique on Chrysler's old and new owners