Thursday, February 08, 2007

Willa Cather, The Rolling Stones, and U2

Willa Cather’s fictional “lost lady” has something in common with The Rolling Stones and U2: all three bank with “shelters that pay handsomely.” Marion Forrester chooses to invest with Ivy Peters during “changing times” in the west, much to her old-fashoned friends' disapproval. And according to The New York Times (business, Section 3, p. 1, Feb. 4), the Stones and U-2 bank in the Netherlands. Bono and U-2 switched last year after Ireland did away with tax breaks for musicians, but the Stones have done it for 30 years.

Here’s why I like the Stones: they say “Hello, Detroit,” play, and collect their paycheck. They don’t suck up. They're businessmen. They don't pretend otherwise. After Captain Forrester’s death, Marion is a stony stone, stonier than the Stones. She doesn't care what anyone thinks. She needs money. It’s “Hello, Sweet Water” and then she’s out of there.

I'm prim about investments and tax shelters myself (not that I have any) but don't want taxes to support the war in Iraq. Give it to health care, etc. Marion, of course, was completely selfish. She had to get out of Nebraska. And that she did so by Ivy Peters's investments pulls her down in the readers' eyes.

A lot of people are criticizing U2 for banking in the Netherlands, trying to find hypocrisy in their actions. Bono has certainly done a lot of good for the world and I don't know where his taxes would have gone in Ireland.

Anyway, why was this in the New York Times? It's certainly "business lite."

If anyone wants to write about Cather’s women and banking...feel free.

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