Where Will All The Billionaires Go?
You find yourself sitting in the small living room, wondering what to say. The program is over.
You’ve now officially seen Where Will All The Billionaires Go?. Beside you sits your son, Thomas, producer of the show. He beams with pride. Will he really want an honest opinion?
“So,” he begins, “what did you think?”
“Very well done,” you respond with a smile.
He smiles right back. He expects more.
This is a moment many parents your age dread. It’s the point where you have to decide whether you want to sugar coat things for the child you gave birth to or speak plainly to the adult that child has become.
“Give it to me straight,” he says, as if he can read your thoughts. “I can take it.”
“Are you sure?” you ask, looking him in the eye.
He stares evenly back at you and nods.
“Okay,” you begin with a sigh, “the woman confused me.”
“Yes, Sonja. The one you were following around. She confused me.”
He curls his brow, completely puzzled.
“Look,” you say. “We’re to believe she’s a member of the tribe, right?”
“That’s right,” he nods. “The Macahouns.”
“Don’t you think she’s a little…light?”
“Thomas,” you state kindly, “the woman has blond hair and piercing blue eyes.”
“So, have you ever seen a picture of an Indian who looks Swiss?”
“Please don’t use the word Indian.”
“Very well. Have you ever seen a Native American who looks Swiss?”
He curls his brow.
“I guess I never thought of it.”
“Don’t you think you should have?” you ask. “I mean, here the woman is, a spokesperson for an indigenous tribe and she’s as white as white can be.”
“The other members of the tribe we showed didn’t look white.”
“That’s because they were black.”
“They were interracial,” he snaps. “All of them. Including Sonja.”
“It’s not about racial purity, Mom. It’s about injustice.”
You can see his anger cause him to start to rise out of his seat. This, you think, is what sixty-five thousand dollars worth of film school education looks like.
“Sit down,” you say to him. “Just relax.”
For some reason – who knows why – he listens.
“Look,” you begin. “I Googled the Macahouns before you came over. Most scholars believe they were more or less wiped out by the English in the sixteen hundreds.”
“The Dutch,” he says, with what sounds like the last of his patience. “They were slaughtered wholesale by the Dutch.”
“And yet you think the government should recognize people like Sonja as their descendents.”
“They are their descendents. Their direct descendents. We checked it all out.”
“Thomas,” you say, “your ancestors were Native Americans.”
“Some of them were,” you shrug. “Your great-grandmother was half Cherokee.”
He smiles at this.
“You smile, but you’re not looking to turn someone’s neighborhood into a reservation.”
“And that’s what you think the Macahouns are doing?”
“I know that’s what they’re doing.”
“Look,” he sighs, leaning forward and resting his arms on his thighs. “The land they want, it’s in southern Connecticut, on the gold coast. They’re all asshole billionaires there.”
“So that means their homes should be given to Sonja and her friends?”
“Technically, it’s their land.”
“So say the Macahouns,” you quip, growing tired of this conversation. “According to your documentary, the government begs to differ.”
“I can’t believe this,” he exclaims as he shakes his head.
You can see now why Where Will All The Billionaires Go? premiered on The Sundance Channel at three o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon.
“Remember,” you say, “you’re the one who said he wanted to hear the truth.”
“Isn’t there anything you liked about the program?”
“Sure. Your production details were great, just like I said. The title was pretty effective, too.”
“I came up with it,” he says as he tries to suppress a smile.
You both remain silent for a moment. The Sundance Channel is now airing a documentary on the Sudan. Starving children and parents are everywhere, as far as the eye can see.
“You think I let my ideals get the best of me” he states, rising up from his seat. “Don’t you?”
You think about this for a beat before nodding.
“Yes,” you say. “I think you did.”
“I really believe in the Macahoun’s cause, you know.”
You get to your feet.
“Then I’m proud of you.”
You give him a pat on the shoulder.
“Going to stay for dinner?” you ask.
He shakes his head.
You raise an eyebrow.
“Do I know with who?”
“Only from the television,” he says. “It’s with Sonja.”
Sean Crose teaches high school students how to read and write well. He also blogs on literary matters for the Cheshire Patch. He and his wife live in CT with a fish named Jaws and Cody, the world’s greatest cat.
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