Before Greed: Americans Didn't Aways Yearn For Riches. A response: An Embarassement Of Riches: Literature And The Ethics Of Wealth In The Gilded Age. Both from Boston Review. [more inside]
Even if you're one of the richest persons on the planet, there ought to be a limit to your ostentatiousness.
Bling h2o is the invention of Hollywood producer Kevin G. Boyd. It;s water in a frosted glass bottle with a cork and emblazoned with Swarovski crystals. At $24 a 750ml bottle, it's targeted at the super-luxury market. Is water from Tennessee really worth that much? Apparently, for some celebs, it is: "A lot of times when you have some water, people are like, 'You're drinking water?' Instead, you say, 'Naw man, I'm blinging." -- Jamie Foxx
Concert of the century: 50 Cent, Tom Petty, Aerosmith and others rock a bat mitzvah.
Ruby-encrusted cellphone lost by professional drag-racer at nightclub. Put this item in the pantheon with the gold-plated toilet, glow-in-the-dark volleyball net, and other stuff nobody needs. Maybe it's the Grinch in me...is it cool, foolish, or immoral to spend $20,000 on a platinum-plated gadget? (via obscurestore)
The Brand And Burger Concerto: Luxury And Poverty For All In The U.S.A. Is luxury becoming democratized? Are ostentation and conspicuous consumption not only tolerated now but demanded of anyone but the poorest and least ambitious? As James B.Twitchell, whose well-off father drove a Plymouth, pithily puts it in this adaptation of his book Living It Up: Our Love Affair With Luxury, would you go to a doctor who drove a Plymouth? Well, he confesses he wouldn't. His essay is full of interesting (though perhaps too easily answered) questions. Are time and philantropy really the two remaining luxuries for the truly wealthy? And is it really true almost anyone can now be king for a day or an hour? [I'd add that what he says about the U.S. is even truer of present-day Western Europe, where the stigma previously attached to ostentation was much more powerful among the middle and upper classes than ever it was with rich American WASPs.]