Friday, April 25, 2008

Money Train Off the Rails

Wesley Snipes has been starring in a remake of his 1995 movie, "Money Train," but this time the cameras haven't been rolling. A Florida judge sentenced him to three years for tax evasion, even as he was trying to hand over $5 million in checks to prove his repentance.

"I am an idealistic, naive, passionate, truth-seeking, spiritually motivated artist, unschooled in the science of law and finance," Snipes said in court, claiming that his sudden wealth and celebrity attracted "wolves and jackals like flies are attracted to meat." He called himself "well-intentioned, but miseducated."

An actor of intense but cool charm, Snipes is a 21st century exemplar of those Bronx boys who came out of poverty in the old Hollywood days and had trouble coping with being rich.

Half a century ago, I had lunch with a high-school classmate, a novelist who had become a big-time writer of movie and TV scripts.

"I was overcommitted," he said, "so I had to return a large advance. It took a week before I could get myself to write the check. Then I stared at it for days before I finally mailed it. The Bronx kid in me just couldn't believe more money would ever be coming in."

In "Money Train," Snipes looted an armored car carrying tons of small change from subway booths. In real life, he stopped paying taxes on his earnings, following the loopy advice of "tax protesters," who are also facing prison sentences.

In our society, getting rich too suddenly can be a bigger problem than never making it at all. When in doubt, remember Elvis.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Robert,

This doesn't exactly have to do with this particular blog post, but I couldn't find another way to contact you, and I thought you might be interested in this show we have up on MobLogic.

In the show, our host steps into the real news world. After telling people that the average American high school student living in the largest 50 cities has about a 50% chance of graduating, she asks them the real question: Aren't you glad the death penalty has been reinstated?

On the blog: We all know spin is out there, but today's show is an example of the most heinous type (in our opinion). We call it spin logic. It's: A is true, B is true, so A must cause B...or B must cause A, whichever fits the agenda better.

Stop by, check it out if you have a chance. We'd really love to hear your opinion.

Amanda Elend