'This propensity for tone-deaf stories about people of vast wealth'
April 14, 2015 12:42 PM   Subscribe

 
But the basis of her critique was essentially affirmed by executive editor Dean Baquet. “I think of the Times reader as very well-educated, worldly and likely affluent,” he said. “But I think we have as many college professors as Wall Street bankers.”

Hahaha fuck you for thinking those are opposite ends of a scale
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:44 PM on April 14, 2015 [163 favorites]


This propensity for tone-deaf stories about people of vast wealth may pose a problem for the Times as it seeks to expand its digital domain.

It's certainly the #1 reason why I don't subscribe.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 12:47 PM on April 14, 2015


and have the unique distinction of being the first generation in recent memory to make less than our parents.

Here we go again...
posted by Melismata at 12:48 PM on April 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


To be fair, the NYT does offer coverage of the tough issues facing beginning millionaires today: The Beginner’s Guide to Chartering a Yacht With a Crew

It's not all about the Russian oligarchs eating caviar off naked ladies.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:49 PM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


What strikes me about the response is that there's still an assumption that the rich are the readers and the poor are subjects of special reports.
posted by jaguar at 12:49 PM on April 14, 2015 [23 favorites]


I can't begin to tell you how many times friends of mine have shared these kinds of articles on Facebook as a form of two-minutes-hate (because we're all broke-as-shit current or former theater people who are caught between the gentrifiers and the old-guard in any neighborhood).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:50 PM on April 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


“But I think we have as many college professors as Wall Street bankers.”

AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.
posted by Deoridhe at 12:51 PM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I think we need MORE of these kinds of stories, to give the 99% a better understanding of just how incredibly imbalanced our economy is, so that maybe we'll finally get pissed off enough to do something about it.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:59 PM on April 14, 2015 [31 favorites]


Or maybe they're alienating people on purpose to get rage click/shares.
posted by edbles at 12:59 PM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


We ["millennials"] are struggling with record student loan debt, and have the unique distinction of being the first generation in recent memory to make less than our parents.

Strauss and Howe warned Generation X that our existence would be forgotten as soon as we were no longer the target of youth marketing. And here it is in action! The Baby Boomers and their children were vastly larger generational cohorts, and the media loves talking about "the young people."

Still, it's amazing to me just how much of the criticisms dumped on Millennials can be found word-for-word (and sneer-for-sneer) in news-magazine scare stories about Slackers from back in the early '90s.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 1:05 PM on April 14, 2015 [71 favorites]


Still, it's amazing to me just how much of the criticisms dumped on Millennials can be found word-for-word (and sneer-for-sneer) in news-magazine scare stories about Slackers from back in the early '90s.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 4:05 PM on April 14 [2 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


A sure sign of aging is that the scare stories about youth will be writtten by people your age, instead of about people your age.
posted by edbles at 1:08 PM on April 14, 2015 [29 favorites]


I like to think that provoking this reaction is intentional. It's the Times' way of doing their part to immanentize the coming class war.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:09 PM on April 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


They may be turning young readers off, but look-at-the-rich-guy stories like these have been a thing forever, in virtually every culture ever. They're fantasy, they're aspirational, they're two-minutes-hate, etc.

I mean, Robin Leach didn't drive people away from television. Honey Boo-Boo didn't drive people to the Times to seek the opposite.

Besides, the Times readership has always been a pretty self-selecting group. That's why there's more than one paper in NYC. Maybe we should be taking the Post to task for being so low-brow?

The Times will never stop with this. At best, we're talking about degrees of it.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:10 PM on April 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


I don't understand, certainly the NYT over-reports on the megarich, but they've definitely been evening it out with the annual report on how some small town 30 miles outside of NYC is the new Brooklyn and don't let the door hit you on the way out.
posted by griphus at 1:13 PM on April 14, 2015 [13 favorites]


And here it is in action!

I was just starting to comment on that and you beat me to the punch. This is the third article I've seen in three days that erases Gen X and makes Millenials the children of Boomers. Plus there's a guy at work who keeps insisting I'm a millenial (at age 43).

My parents (boomers) were often favorably impressed by the salary I was getting... because they were comparing my 90s dollars (after earning a 4-year degree) to their 70s dollars (after mom earned a 2-year community college degree and dad had none). Sorry millenials, you're not the first in this sad boat.
posted by Foosnark at 1:14 PM on April 14, 2015 [31 favorites]


Obviously the answer is to make subscriptions $50 an issue. Then the jealous plebs will remain blissfully ignorant of what they're missing.

It's for thier own good, of course.
posted by clarknova at 1:15 PM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've often thought it would be interesting to total up the cost of wardrobes in Modern Luxury magazine and then work out what percentage of the population could actually afford dress like that based on income data and average percentage of income spent on clothes.

During my brief time as an insurance analyst I did this with automobile models and census income data and found that far more people own luxury automobiles than could afford them. I don't just mean by a small amount more either. A huge amount more people were spending way beyond what they could afford (never mind the inflated premiums for lux autos!).

Every time my wife starts jonesing to keep up with Joneses I tell her the latest stat on the number of homeowners who have negative equity and what the average credit card and student load debt is. It's pretty financially sobering to realize the number of people who are indenturing themselves for the sake of looking well off or because they lack basic financial literacy and what I guess is uncommon sense.

The reality of the hyper-unrealistic wealth stories and advertising is that it shifts our baseline for acceptable spending way up by framing what is reasonable between too much and too little. You may not be able to afford a $35K watch but maybe you can afford a $500 one and if you work hard a $1K one. Even though a $25 one will tell the time just as well and look almost as nice.

The Times is beholden to advertisers and the advertisers want stories targeted at spenders. Particularly foolish spenders with lots of money as the luxury retail category is the only one showing significant growth these days. They do still want to indoctrinate those of who don't have money to spare now but may later plus they still want to hoover up the crumbs from the lower segments of the market but you are probably not the high margin demographic that they really care about unless you are reading this on the balcony of your penthouse while sipping Dom.
posted by srboisvert at 1:15 PM on April 14, 2015 [35 favorites]


Douglas Copeland and Cartoon Network aside, everyone erased Gen X, Foosnark.
posted by clarknova at 1:17 PM on April 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


They may be turning young readers off, but look-at-the-rich-guy stories like these have been a thing forever, in virtually every culture ever. They're fantasy, they're aspirational, they're two-minutes-hate, etc.
That's true, but the difference is that the stories in the Times are written in a way that suggests that they're about "us," rather than about "them." The Styles section at least pretends to be reflecting the milieu in which readers are assumed to be living, whereas stories about struggling middle-class people are usually in news sections where the readers are being informed about other people's lives.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 1:17 PM on April 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


They may be turning young readers off, but look-at-the-rich-guy stories like these have been a thing forever, in virtually every culture ever. They're fantasy, they're aspirational, they're two-minutes-hate, etc. I mean, Robin Leach didn't drive people away from television...

...but the difference there is that Robin Leach was flat-out presenting his work as an elite thing. The bloody thing was called "Lifestyles of The Rich And Famous".

In the NYT, they're not claiming that; it's as if Robin Leach renamed his show "Lifestyles Of The Ordinary Joe" and still had the multi-level yachts and gold toilets and all that. That's the ire - that they're making all these articles out to be "typical problems faced by typical New Yorkers" rather than "Oh dear these people's wallets are too small to hold all their hundred-dollar bills and their diamond shoes are too tight".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:18 PM on April 14, 2015 [13 favorites]


makes Millenials the children of Boomers

Aren't we both children of Boomers? Us older millennials certainly are, anyway. I'm definitely not Gen X (born in '84) and my folks were born in '54 and '55.
posted by ocherdraco at 1:19 PM on April 14, 2015 [13 favorites]


The Baby Boomers and their children were vastly larger generational cohorts

Pew has some words on this topic.

tl;dr, there are more Millennials than Xers. Also, the number of living Xers is projected to overtake the number of living Boomers by 2028.
posted by box at 1:19 PM on April 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've got no problem with look-at-the-rich stories! As a Gen Xer from the Midwest, I don't expect the people in the Weddings section to look like me, anyway.

The trouble is the sections that are kind of useless unless you are rich. The Travel section has articles that only make sense if you care about the newest high-end hotel in Hong Kong, or 36 Hours In Catalonia for those who can afford El Bulli Gourmet Restaurant.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 1:20 PM on April 14, 2015


Of course, the old money is still content to read Town & Country so hear Jay McInerney's opinions on wine.

I mean, a charted yacht, who are you trying to prove? Do you even sail, bro?
posted by The Whelk at 1:22 PM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Douglas Copeland and Cartoon Network aside, everyone erased Gen X, Foosnark.


Hey- we erased ourselves, man! It was the only rational solution.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:22 PM on April 14, 2015 [15 favorites]


A huge amount more people were spending way beyond what they could afford... The Times is beholden to advertisers and the advertisers want stories targeted at spenders. Particularly foolish spenders with lots of money as the luxury retail category is the only one showing significant growth these days.

Absolutely. Very well put. The bankers aren't the audience -- the NYT is advertising for them.
posted by junco at 1:22 PM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


the number of people who are indenturing themselves for the sake of looking well off or because they lack basic financial literacy and what I guess is uncommon sense.

Having felt some of that pressure, I can tell you that a lot of it is shame. No one wants to admit they are struggling, especially to people who are supposed to be in their "cohort." If everyone in your office dresses a little more expensively than you can afford, and you want to get promoted, the pressure to go into debt can be high. Same with other things, like houses. We don't throw parties often because we live so modestly compared to a lot of our peers that it's uncomfortable.
posted by emjaybee at 1:23 PM on April 14, 2015 [19 favorites]


I can't begin to tell you how many times friends of mine have shared these kinds of articles on Facebook as a form of two-minutes-hate (because we're all broke-as-shit current or former theater people who are caught between the gentrifiers and the old-guard in any neighborhood).

I thought that was the Style Section's strategy for getting eyeballs. Rage-trolling us all.
posted by entropone at 1:24 PM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


The NYT was a daily read because we sold it in the coffee house I was working at at the time, and there was hardly ever any copies left at the end of the day. I was a dab hand at the crossword throughout the week (my only reason for liking it as well as reading the Food section), but it's no stranger to making you either feel really broke or really justified in that you did the right things to afford what they're selling.

But now after reading TFAs and realizing that I am making $12/hr at 38 years old, I am going to open a bottle of wine now.
posted by Kitteh at 1:25 PM on April 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


The Nation's Newspaper of Record is now The Nation's Newsparchment of 180-gm Vinyl Limited Editions.
posted by infinitewindow at 1:26 PM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


The nytimes should have more stories, much more stories, all of the stories, about the mega-rich and their professional servants... maybe somebody would figure it out then.

maybe the Times coverage of the super-rich is alienating educating millennials.
posted by ennui.bz at 1:26 PM on April 14, 2015


Honestly I don't think anything the NYT has written lately has been as WTF as the Modern Love article referenced here.
posted by kmz at 1:30 PM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Lots of times I'll see a mefi thread with a lot of salty comments, then actually check the link and 9/10 times its a NY Times style section article and I'm like "Oh Duh"
posted by hellojed at 1:36 PM on April 14, 2015


In the NYT, they're not claiming that; it's as if Robin Leach renamed his show "Lifestyles Of The Ordinary Joe" and still had the multi-level yachts and gold toilets and all that. That's the ire - that they're making all these articles out to be "typical problems faced by typical New Yorkers" rather than "Oh dear these people's wallets are too small to hold all their hundred-dollar bills and their diamond shoes are too tight".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:18 PM on April 14 [+] [!]?


I suspect though that they're striking that tone intentionally to generate both ire and the aspirational wish fullfillment thing. Writing about the rich as "one of us" let's the reader indulge in that fantasy of wealth AND hate them at the same time. Sure they're putting what the subjects of these stories out there at face value, but you can pick up this sneering tone from the way they're arranging the information.

There's always some broker from Corcoran saying something completely unfathomable to mere mortals to explain away life circumstances that sound insane. But they put the unfathomable statement into the mouth of a broker, because they know anyone who's gone apartment hunting in NYC will immediately hate the broker.


“They choose where they and their parents are going to have dinner or where they’re going to go on vacation,” said Stuart Moss, an associate broker at Corcoran. “So why shouldn’t it extend to where they’re going to spend several million dollars for a residence?”



Barbara Corcoran, a real estate executive, said that most well-to-do families take at least two vacations a year, a winter trip to the sun and a spring trip to the ski slopes.

posted by edbles at 1:38 PM on April 14, 2015


Aren't we both children of Boomers? Us older millennials certainly are, anyway. I'm definitely not Gen X (born in '84) and my folks were born in '54 and '55.


Your confusion should be taken as a lesson in how every single "Generation whatever does it like this!!" story is bullshit.
posted by sideshow at 1:39 PM on April 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


You know the saying "First against the wall when the revolution comes"? The NYT is just making the candidates' names more readily available.
posted by tommasz at 1:41 PM on April 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


The trouble is the sections that are kind of useless unless you are rich. The Travel section has articles that only make sense if you care about the newest high-end hotel in Hong Kong, or 36 Hours In Catalonia for those who can afford El Bulli Gourmet Restaurant.

That's only "useless" if daydreaming is useless. Personally, I suppose I'd be better served by an article comparing Hampton Inn to Days Inn and recommendations on what chain restaurants I should eat at while on business trips in the middle of nowhere, but I'd rather think about taking a trip to Spain some day.
posted by Area Man at 1:42 PM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Are those Modern Love articles real or fiction? This was my first encounter and I'm having trouble believing this isn't fiction.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 1:52 PM on April 14, 2015


I was just starting to comment on that and you beat me to the punch. This is the third article I've seen in three days that erases Gen X and makes Millenials the children of Boomers. Plus there's a guy at work who keeps insisting I'm a millenial (at age 43).

I'm 34. How am I supposed to know what generational identity I'm supposed to shoehorn myself into?
posted by brundlefly at 2:10 PM on April 14, 2015 [7 favorites]




Pshaw, still reading that gray old lady? Step on up to Worth magazine, with its refreshingly candid private jet recommendations. pops monocle into champagne glass
posted by phooky at 2:13 PM on April 14, 2015


Semi-serious question for the miffed Gen-Xers: is it really so bad being left out? Do you really want the baleful eye of the media turned upon you again? More thinkpieces about how uniquely lazy and irresponsible you are?
posted by echo target at 2:14 PM on April 14, 2015 [12 favorites]


Those thinkpieces about Gen X being lazy and irresponsible were only insulting if you weren't those things.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:21 PM on April 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


Semi-serious question for the miffed Gen-Xers: is it really so bad being left out? Do you really want the baleful eye of the media turned upon you again? More thinkpieces about how uniquely lazy and irresponsible you are?

If it comes with more great music from Pearl Jam in Chainsgarden, and flannel, I am in!
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:22 PM on April 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


Hahaha fuck you for thinking those are opposite ends of a scale

Wait, aren't they? College professors go into something they love and accept they won't become fabulously rich doing it, Wall Street Bankers go into something they may make fabulous wealth, but don't love.
posted by corb at 2:22 PM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


College professors were financially secure enough to go to college themselves.
posted by brundlefly at 2:25 PM on April 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


Bankers do love getting fabulously wealthy, so they've got that going for them.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:25 PM on April 14, 2015


Step on up to Worth magazine,

Any magazine that solicits subscriptions is by definition déclassé. What one aspires to are by-invitation-only periodicals. Some of these, for example. (You have to like Spear's if for nothing else than for the editor-in-chief's surname)
posted by BWA at 2:26 PM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


No one's "erasing" Gen X. You're just not getting jerked off by everyone left, right, and centre anymore. Get the fuck over it. Forty years was a pretty good run.

(I was born in 1981, which makes me two kinds of terrible, yet also gets me and my cohorts completely lost in the shuffle! Yay!)
posted by Sys Rq at 2:28 PM on April 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


Wait, aren't they?

No, they are two points way up at the same end of the scale. Average salary for a full professor was $126,981 in 2013, which puts you in the 95th percentile among US individuals with incomes.
posted by enn at 2:30 PM on April 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


The entire premise of this piece is flawed. Last I checked the 99% had a healthy appetite for vicarious living through rich/famous/celebrity news.
posted by simra at 2:31 PM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah. Also, you know, like, advertising is a thing the NYT kinda lives on? It doesn't really pay to pander to the poors.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:32 PM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


This both my favorite Wonkette article and my favorite NYT bit of nonsense. The insanity is boundless. Endlessly quotable.
posted by feste at 2:35 PM on April 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


Semi-serious question for the miffed Gen-Xers: is it really so bad being left out? Do you really want the baleful eye of the media turned upon you again?

If it gets people to acknowledge that more than just 20-somethings are having trouble getting work, then yes.

Generation X is now middle-aged. And we are a huge blind spot when it comes to demographic studies of the current economy; you hear all the time about how hard it is for Millennials to find solid work and how they're struggling with what you're being told is an unprecedented market collapse - no wonder this generation is struggling, you think, they're getting clobbered. It's not their fault.

However, then you hear about a middle-aged guy who doesn't have anything in his savings, or a middle-aged woman who is trying to find work, and you write them off as individuals having shit luck (that is, if you're not sneering at how they're losers) - but that's only because the media has stopped paying attention to the fact that while the Millennials have lived through one recession, Generation X has lived through three.

So Millennials are getting this pass for their circumstances, while Generation X, who's already lived through those exact same circumstances three times over now, is being ignored. So getting more media attention will cause people to wake up to the fact that middle-aged people having economic hardship is a generational problem, like it is with the Millennials, it may hopefully also wake up people to the fact that we have had three recessions within the space of 20 years, and maybe they're start to wonder "hmm, isn't that kind of a lot of recessions?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:48 PM on April 14, 2015 [89 favorites]


makes Millennials the children of Boomers

Huh? I'm a boomer whose son is a millennial and I was really young when he was born. Most of his friends' parents are much older and even more identified with the boomer generation than I am.
posted by octothorpe at 2:58 PM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wait, aren't they?

No, they are two points way up at the same end of the scale. Average salary for a full professor was $126,981 in 2013, which puts you in the 95th percentile among US individuals with incomes.


Oh, you're talking about tenure track professors. Half of my college professors made $6k/semester course, and that was the highest adjuct pay in the country.
posted by jb at 2:59 PM on April 14, 2015 [21 favorites]


Yeah, more than 50% of college credits are taught by adjuncts, most of whom are lucky to break $25k a year if they get a 3/3. And I'm sure we do read a lot of the New York Times (switching to Incognito Mode to skirt their strangely ineffectual paywall) since it's basically the only good newspaper left in the US.
posted by dis_integration at 3:09 PM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


If it comes with more great music from Pearl Jam in Chainsgarden, and flannel, I am in!

"Stone Temple of the Dog in Chains?"
posted by ducky l'orange at 3:11 PM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


that they're making all these articles out to be "typical problems faced by typical New Yorkers"

But that's not even the teensiest bit true. Just look at the articles linked in this FPP.
Along with stock and real estate portfolios, the global rich are now buying a new form of economic security: passport portfolios.
I mean, it's right there in the frickin' headline that this is a story about what "the rich" are doing.

Or:
The wealthy now have a wealth gap of their own, as economic gains become more highly concentrated at the very top. As the top one-hundredth of the 1 percent pulls away from the rest of that group, the superrich are leaving the merely very rich behind.
Again, how does this read as saying "geez, we're all struggling with our yacht purchases lately, aren't we?"

Or:
New Yorkers want to know: Who are these people who hide behind limited liability companies while shelling out a fortune for a condominium — who see the apartment as an investment or even just a vanity play, and who are too busy sunning in St. Bart’s or skiing in Gstaad to actually show up and shop at the local market or pay for tickets to a Broadway show?
Once again: this is a "who are they" piece, not a "don't we all love buying pieds a terre in NYC?" piece.

We see this same BS talking point trotted out over and over and over again on Metafilter and it never holds even a drop of water. There's just no reason the NYT or any other news organization shouldn't report on "what are the rich doing"? Clearly the average Metafilter punter loves knowing what the latest wretched excess on the part of the superrich happens to be--nothing feeds a good two-minute hate session like it. And yet somehow whenever the NYT is the source for the story the assumption is that they're somehow on the side of the millionaires. Well, maybe they are and maybe they aren't--I can't claim to have the windows into their souls that some of you seem to have--but I can say that it's simply bullshit that they write the story with either the implicit or explicit suggestion that their readers are all members of the .01% or that they should all aspire to be.
posted by yoink at 3:12 PM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have a discreet but important question for the NYT Style arbiters. We are often accused of wanting to "Eat the Poor", but hypothetically, just in the spirit of inquiry, does anyone have some suggestion as to what wine would go well with them?
posted by pyramid termite at 3:24 PM on April 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm awfully tired of hearing critical opinions dismissed as "two-minute hate." I don't love (or even like) reading about wretched excess. Can't people just be tired of seeing stories about what "the rich" are doing? The CJR piece is about how it's off-putting to younger readers, and I'm certainly put off personally.
posted by teponaztli at 3:29 PM on April 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


...does anyone have some suggestion as to what wine would go well with them?

Blue raspberry Mad Dog
posted by griphus at 3:36 PM on April 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


They have a nice crossword puzzle. The rest of the paper could die in a fire for all I care but I do like the puzzle.
posted by doctor_negative at 3:39 PM on April 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


I have a discreet but important question for the NYT Style arbiters. We are often accused of wanting to "Eat the Poor", but hypothetically, just in the spirit of inquiry, does anyone have some suggestion as to what wine would go well with them?

I'm torn between two-buck chuck and a 2005 Château Lafite Rothschild.
posted by dis_integration at 3:46 PM on April 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


It's so hard to find good help these days.
posted by uosuaq at 3:51 PM on April 14, 2015


No, they are two points way up at the same end of the scale. Average salary for a full professor was $126,981 in 2013, which puts you in the 95th percentile among US individuals with incomes.

As noted, full professors are a tiny fraction of all professors. As also noted, being at the 95th percentile is still an incredibly long way from the top, and the majority of luxury articles are totally irrelevant at that level.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:54 PM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


As noted, full professors are a tiny fraction of all professors. As also noted, being at the 95th percentile is still an incredibly long way from the top

if it's a long way from the top, it's an even longer way from the bottom... there standing on a human pyramid which had 95% of Americans below them.

do they really want to up end that pyramid?
posted by ennui.bz at 4:07 PM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well, maybe they are and maybe they aren't--I can't claim to have the windows into their souls that some of you seem to have--but I can say that it's simply bullshit that they write the story with either the implicit or explicit suggestion that their readers are all members of the .01% or that they should all aspire to be.

Perhaps the tone of the pieces cited suggest otherwise. Like the yacht chartering piece I cited, where someone drops $50-100K a week for a boat and crew — $50K being the median yearly income of a US worker. The writer of the article doesn't even bat an eye at the expense — nor those of the subjects he interviews. When discussing the makeup of the crew, it is important that they are well-behaved, even when the guests are demanding. No one steps back and asks how ridiculous it all is. It's just business as usual, despite the obviously gross exuberance and entitlement on display.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 4:15 PM on April 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


The "How to Charter A Yacht" piece was amazing. The guy claims that it cost him $50k to charter the yacht for 4 days. But that was no big deal, really, because "It wasn’t that much more expensive than being in Asia for two weeks, with everything from the round-trip travel to the hotel and food."

How the reporter didn't stop right there and ask him to itemize just exactly how he would spend only slightly less than $50,000 on two weeks in "Asia", whatever that means, is just amazing. Are they chartering jets? Do they exclusively fly luxury airlines with beds and showers? Do they eat nothing but gold flaked white truffles and only get multiroom suites? Do their feet never touch the ground, carried about as they are on their Royal Litters? How do these people even exist?!

Sorry, I guess my two-minutes-hate is going overboard tonight. Good procrastination on all that grading of college papers I do for what works out to $9 an hour.
posted by dis_integration at 4:29 PM on April 14, 2015 [23 favorites]


I would never wish harm on a child.

I read that NYT article "When the 13 year-old picks a $14 million condo."

And now I have to keep repeating to myself: I would never wish harm on a child.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:33 PM on April 14, 2015 [23 favorites]


Well, it's not particularly reasonable by any account but round trip first class EWR-HKG for one person on cathay pacific is $29,000.
posted by poffin boffin at 4:38 PM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Loophole: It's okay to wish eventual harm on a child. Then you can spend the intervening years grinning in the knowledge that their eighteenth birthday will be a tsunami of schadenfreude.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:41 PM on April 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


Those are also full professors at PhD-granting institutions.
posted by persona au gratin at 4:48 PM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Semi-serious question for the miffed Gen-Xers: is it really so bad being left out? Do you really want the baleful eye of the media turned upon you again? More thinkpieces about how uniquely lazy and irresponsible you are?

Okay, so this is my genuine fear/I think about it every day as a Gen-Xer.

The Republicans bring up cuts to Social Security, how bad any kind of pension is, and how all old people on any kind of assistance are a drain to society all of the time. They can't do anything about it because of the large voting block of aging Baby Boomers.

My prediction is that when the aging Baby Boomers die off, we are going to see a vast reduction in any kind of assistance--even assistance that was promised to a worker when they started their job--for people when they retire. A large number of people are going to be fucked over just because of the time they were born.

When the Millenials retire, they will have a large enough voting block to change the policies back to something sensible. The large numbers of old people will guarantee that they are taken care of in the future just like they are now.

I want to restate that this is something that just seems inevitable to me. I work towards a goal of retiring with $1M which seems impossible, but the alternative is working into my eighties and never enjoying any kind of retirement. I also have the fear that $1M will not be worth anything because of inflation, and all of the saving that I have done will be for nothing.
posted by Quonab at 4:52 PM on April 14, 2015 [23 favorites]


> When the Millenials retire...

My prediction is that by the time the Millenials have reached what used to be the traditional retirement age, the whole "taxes are bad and I don't want to pay them" mindset will have decimated the social safety net to the point where it effectively will not exist, and retirement, Boomer-style, will be a thing of the distant, distant past.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:08 PM on April 14, 2015 [6 favorites]


Does anyone actually pay full freight for upper class airfare? If you fly internationally on the reg (or more frequently if you stay in the US), you can just use miles to upgrade from business. Not that even a discount business ticket is cheap, but $4000 is a lot more doable than $38,000. (The first is a significant fraction of my income, but could be swung every few years with enough scrimping, the second is more than I make, despite an hourly rate that would put me in the 1% if there were a lot more of them to be had)
posted by wierdo at 5:10 PM on April 14, 2015


Metafilter: A Tsunami of Schadenfreude.
posted by one weird trick at 5:18 PM on April 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


And it’s not just The Times that pitches to the rich, he said, noting that The Wall Street Journal’s real estate section is called “Mansion.”

This is the most delightfully tone-deaf response from the NYT executive editor.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 5:23 PM on April 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


The Times is out of touch and MeFi is ON IT.
posted by grouse at 5:34 PM on April 14, 2015 [22 favorites]


Eh, it's useful to know what the super-rich are up to because the merely wealthy do end up copying them a few years later. The super rich buy Teslas, a few years later we get Leafs; the super rich send their kids to private school, a few years later charter schools are the hot new thing; the super rich all get yachts, suddenly all my friends are taking cruise vacations. There's no way condos for normal people would be making their current comeback if NYC millionaires hadn't broken that ground a decade or so ago. Etc, etc. Unlike money, style really does trickle down from the top.
posted by miyabo at 6:08 PM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the Times turns old people off, too. I'm kinda over the wealth disparity only applying to millennials AND over the idea that all boomers are debt-free and affluent. As a boomer, I lived tight and poor, and as a teacher made one heck of a lot less money than my parents did. At least until my dad left his corporate job, dropped off the grid, and moved into a trailer on his sister's property in Tennessee, and until my mother became an Episcopal priest.
posted by Peach at 6:12 PM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Unlike money, style really does trickle down from the top.

Maybe from the super-rich to the "wealthy", in terms of how they spend their large amounts of money, it does. But for a different group of "normal people," who aren't really going to be choosing a condo any time soon, or who wouldn't be caught dead on a cruise line, it moves around pretty widely.

Rock? Blues? Hip hop? Not from the top. Most cultural movements and the things that come along with them (lifestyles, social understandings, fashion, consumption choices, for example) are not coming from the top. They get eaten up by the top, and sold back to us by the top, post-digestion.

I read the Times more than I'd care to admit, but I certainly think they could do us better by doing actual journalism about things that actively affect more of us instead of informing us on what our betters are up to so that we can hope to one day get our piece of a watered-down version of the same. I'd like to believe that there's a critique in the work somewhere, really, but I don't see it too much.

I feel brainwashed when I think about it.
posted by eyesontheroad at 6:23 PM on April 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


Academic salaries have such huge variation it's pretty pointless to talk about averages. I have a friend who's been making over $100K as a glorified adjunct for years, but he'd probably be lucky to break $60K if the dice had fallen a little differently.

Law, medical and business school profs make multiples of what the average humanities prof might pull in. I think huge salaries for law profs are interesting these days, given the implosion of corporate law.

Anyway I don't think any of them are buying yachts or $14M condos regardless.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 6:50 PM on April 14, 2015


I suspect these pieces have proliferated at The Times because people read them. Like, I actually clicked on and read all the links. I never do that. But the haterade just tastes too good, apparently. I'm sure many of you would say the same.

Not even the Gray Lady is above clickbait.
posted by seymourScagnetti at 6:55 PM on April 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


I would really like to see articles like this where the haul that's being showed off is coupled with a detailed analysis of who does what to produce that wealth. We're being shown a little of the cream, but not where they're getting the milk it's skimmed from.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:21 PM on April 14, 2015 [12 favorites]


Only the $14 million condo article quotes actual rich people. All of them are easily googleable:
John van Merkensteijn is a lawyer, runs an investment firm, and is a son of a super-rich car industry executive -- his wedding was covered in the Style section in 1991. His wife is a "producer" but just has some incredibly stupid B movies on IMDB ("only the Toxic Avenger and his morbidly obese sidekick Lardass can save Tromaville.").

Yovanka Bylander Arroyo is the widow of Christophe Arroyo, a hedge fund magnate who died while running a marathon at age 39 and got posthumous PR for donating all his organs. Yovanka works in finance herself (probably not super rich) and serves on a lot of nonprofit boards.

Katie Haggerty is a fashion designer and probably not super rich. Her husband Sean has too common a name to be googleable -- there seem to be several rich financiers by that name.

Jeffrey Srulowitz is a California real estate guy who apparently got rich by renting real estate to Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf franchises. He moved to NYC and acquired the franchise rights for the company for the Northeast, and is trying to expand it there. His wife is not googleable.
posted by miyabo at 8:33 PM on April 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


if it's a long way from the top, it's an even longer way from the bottom... there standing on a human pyramid which had 95% of Americans below them.

It's really not a pyramid -- it's a big flat line with all of us squished flat, and then a narrow but very tall spike for the genuinely wealthy -- the 0.1 percent and above, really. That mythical average full professor is doing a lot better than someone working at Target, but the difference in their economic lives is invisibly small from the perspective of serious wealth.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:34 PM on April 14, 2015 [7 favorites]


It's not earnings that make the wealthy wealthy. It's wealth, what they already have. Talking about income is silly when there are people who are billionaires.
posted by gryftir at 1:00 AM on April 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


brundlefly: I'm 34. How am I supposed to know what generational identity I'm supposed to shoehorn myself into?
*CTRL+F* "Joshua Glenn"
0 Results found

*Trots out hobby horse*

1944-53: [Boomers] Blank Generation
1954-63: [Boomers] OGXers
1964-73: [Generation X, Thirteenth Generation] Reconstructionists
1974-82: [Generations X, Y] Revivalists
1983-92: [Millennial Generation] Social Darwikians
1993-2002: [Millennial Generation] TBA
posted by ob1quixote at 1:11 AM on April 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


Eh, it's useful to know what the super-rich are up to because the merely wealthy do end up copying them a few years later.

unless paying me a living wage somehow manages to become a style choice, I don't really give a shit what the "merely wealthy" are doing, either
posted by NoraReed at 2:04 AM on April 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


miyabo - some incredibly stupid B movies ...Toxic Avenger

You say it like it's a bad thing! I wonder if she was promised some part in the movie production for providing funds, in true B movie tradition?

feste's wonkette link tried to put nasties on my computer, FYI.
posted by asok at 3:00 AM on April 15, 2015


Back in the 60s, my parents used to read the NYT wedding announcements to each other in funny voices on Sunday mornings and laugh and make snarky comments, an early form of the brunch hate read. It drove me crazy at the time because I couldn't understand what was so funny.

Then in the early 80s when I was a young person trying to make it on my own in NYC, there were much laughed about articles about how you couldn't have a decent night out for less than $100, or the unemployed Stock Broker, photographed in shadow, who had to make do on a sum I don't recall, but was definitely more than I was earning at the time. My friends regularly complained about being the first generation that would not make more than their parents.

I do think it has gotten worse though, and I pretty much avoid those Style articles, especially Modern Love, which I would not touch with a ten foot pole. I would be very happy if the whole genre died out.

At least one of the articles yoinks points out is from the news sections. The Styles and Real Estate sections are the guilty culprits. The article about who actually buys expensive real estate was pretty interesting.
posted by maggiemaggie at 6:34 AM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


and retirement, Boomer-style, will be a thing of the distant, distant past.

lol retirement

we're all gonna be working til we drop dead
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:45 AM on April 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


I always thought that the underlying, social motivation of this kind of writing (the reading of it) was more of a carrot-sweetening: "look at how great it is. Don't you want to be that rich? Wouldn't that be nice? Well, keeping working hard and you might get there! You certainly can't get there if you support any major social changes and wouldn't that be terrible!"

As with many things, it functions to maintain the status-quo.
posted by ghostiger at 11:47 AM on April 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


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