I have a favorite moment in Diner (1982), the first of Barry Levinson's quartet of Baltimore movies, and it's not the scene in which I made my silver-screen debut. It's when two of the working-class guys who hang out at the Fells Point hamburger joint find themselves taking a drive in the Maryland countryside. They happen upon a rich, well-tended young blonde woman riding an elegant horse (in her own spacious meadow). They stop the car try to chat her up but she's clearly out of their league. When she gallops off, one of the guys says to the other: "Do you ever get the feeling that there's something going on that we don't know about?"
I was thinking about that scene when I read that Moammar Ghaddafi's son Seif threw himself a birthday party at some spectacular resort in the West Indies and paid the pop singer Mariah Carey $1,000,000 smackerootis to sing four songs. You read it right -- one millions bucks. The article didin't say whether she had to pay for her own motel and continental breakfast and transportation but I'm going to guess that expenses were extra.
I tried to calculate whether I had earned $1M in my working life. I can't remember and I don't have the records, but I know that I started at $3600 and by 1966 I was already pulling down $7800. I think that in my first decade of employment I earned well under $100,000. Yeah, I know, them was different dollars -- but still.
A working guy who makes $40,000 would take 25 years to earn what Mariah Carey took home for twenty minutes of effort.
But it's not what she earned so much as what he paid. The Ghaddafi clan of brutes, lunatics, oil-bloated twits, and kleptocrats has been looting the Libyans for forty years. No wonder that the family is willing to commit mass murder to hold on to their hoard. (In his defence, Seif claimed that it wasn't him; it was his brother Muatassim.) Here's a question: how many years does it take your run-of-the-mill Libyan to earn $1M?
I think that the average Libyan would understand the point of view of the diner guys. There's something going on out there, and it ain't all good.