He Loves Only Gold
by Gary Phillips
What I know about the value of gold has been absorbed from caper movies and television cop shows, and overheated novels like Khmer Gold. When I was a kid I saw the James Bond adventure Goldfinger, wherein Auric Goldfinger is this fiendish mastermind out to steal the gold in Fort Knox and only the redoubtable 007 can stop him. Never mind that he’s a British secret agent, if the American gold was snatched, it would mean economic chaos for the Western world or something like that. The film is memorable for several reasons, though not the intricacies of the robbery itself—involving sleep gas hissed onto the military personnel of the base by plane as I recall.
There was the tantalizingly named Pussy Galore played by Honor Blackman, Cathy Gale in the Avengers TV show before Diana Rigg’s super groovy Mrs. Peel; Goldfinger’s secretary, played by Shirley Eaton, a British sex bomb, painted in gold to suffocate to death (turns out as long as you can breath through your mouth or nose, you can’t actually die this way); Bond strapped to a metal slab as a laser worked its way toward the womanizing spy’s most deadly weapon to slice him in two; Goldfinger’s enforcer, Oddjob, a dude with a bad ass attitude and a bowler with a head removing slicing disc for a brim; and Dame Shirley Bassey blasting out the title song.
Given the pulp sensibilities of Goldfinger, no wonder the shiny metal has long held a fascination for storytellers. King Midas, the man with the touch of gold, the goose that laid the golden egg, to Doc Savage, the adventurer of the Great Depression who starred for years in his own self-titled pulp magazine. He was, like a lot of those characters (The Shadow, The Spider, The Avenger, etc.), fabulously wealthy at a time when others were in soup lines. I suppose part of this was to provide further wish fulfillment for the mostly young boys and adolescents reading Doc’a blood-curdling tales, and partly having money freed Clark Savage, Jr. from being a wage slave, able to travel around the globe righting wrongs with his pals and his gadgets. In his case, he got his money from a secret gold mine protected by the Mayas in the made-up Central American country of Hidalgo.
I don’t know if Glenn Beck believes in Hidalgo, but from what I can tell, he must have gotten what he knows about gold from the same sources I did, maybe even watching the Disney cartoon The Road to El Dorado, about the fabled city of gold, a couple of times to boot. Not to go into a screed about this, but Beck lately has been hyperventilating about the possible apocalypse the upheaval in Egypt could ignite—spreading their contagion to other parts of the Middle East, he’s warned. That the domino theory of democracy could even infiltrate France and Germany. Seriously, he’s intimated that. As documented in the August 2010 Mother Jones cover story, The Golden Fleece: How Glenn Beck and other right-wing talkers use paranoia to talk fans into entrusting their savings to shady gold dealers by Stephanie Mencimer, Beck advises that, to protect yourself against the looming economic collapse the Obama Administration is either ignoring or orchestrating, buy gold.
“Think like a German Jew in 1934, maybe 1931,” Beck was quoted in the article. Get out while the getting’s good and convert your cash to gold. Not for nothing has Goldline International, a Santa Monica-based precious metals concern, been one of Beck’s steadfast advertisers, and he an enthusiastic spokesman for them.
Okay, so let me get this straight: the United States goes into a tailspin because of that Muslim socialist in the White House and his secret army of zombie robots that will break into our homes at night and drain our skulls of brain juice to be replaced by the Kool-Aid of obedience. Fine. But what the hell good is your horde of gold going to do you? Will it take one gold coin to buy a loaf of bread, assuming there’s bakeries still functioning to make the loaves? Or is the idea you and your survivalist buddies, armed to the teeth, natch, hold out on your compound, a fort ringed with the useless hulks of piled high Priuses and Leafs you panty-waisters loved so damn much. But where’s your electrical charging station now that the jihad has been let loose?
The compound, in Free Arizona or the Nation of Texas no doubt, is where you grow your own food and raise livestock. In the secret vault of the compound is the gold y’all have melted down and reformed in bars for easier stacking and transportation. Currently it’s against the law to own gold in bar form but we’re talking no laws here save for that of the gun while you tune in the shortwave to hear the broadcast of the freedom fighters waging their war against the machines. Waiting for the time when government and order are restored, where free people like you can be free—plus you can be a millionaire as the new gold standard is established since you and your buddies have got your fat stack.
I suppose the recently departed strongman of Egypt, Mohammad Hosni Sayyid Mubarak, is hoping the Beckolypse isn’t going to happen soon. There’s been a lot of rumors about Mubarak owning this or that real estate from London to Beverly Hills, hiding monies through dummy fronts or via his investor son, and if he’s lucky, probably doesn’t have the majority of it locked up in secret Swiss bank accounts. The Swiss, long the haven for your dictator-on-the-run, have been trying to clean up their image. For instance, they froze the bank accounts of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, late the leader of Tunisia.
But Mubarak and family fled to his palace on the Red Sea, Sharm el-Sheikh. What if, heeding previous dictators before him and maybe catching a translated broadcast or two of Beck on Al Jazeera (during the comedy hour of course), he’s got a vault of gold bars in the basement of that castle? Say he’s got a couple of submarines tendered at the castle in a grotto and loaded down those vessels with said gold. Said subs take off one moonless night, their destination who knows where. Suddenly there’s a problem on one of the subs, maybe even some of the crew turns on the others—after all, a mere ten or fifteen million in gold is pretty tempting. A fight breaks out, a shot goes wild, and the sub is taking on water, sinking into a heretofore uncharted trench that’s really a gateway to an undersea world of aquatic apes led by their gorgeous blue-skinned amphibious queen.
Now if I can just get Glenn Beck to do the intro to this potboiler after I write it, I’ll be set. I can start filling up my own vault with gold.