Where are the bears when you need them?
August 20, 2007 6:12 AM   Subscribe

Glamping. When you want to touch nature but you don't want nature to touch you.
posted by ShawnString (80 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
If someone can line these people up against a wall, I'll send out the invitations for the revolution.
posted by DU at 6:16 AM on August 20, 2007 [4 favorites]

Hooray for growing wage inequality!
posted by delmoi at 6:20 AM on August 20, 2007

I just knew the Bondicks lived in Concord. I was right. Anyone who'd spend $700 a night for a "camping" experience deserves the label "more money than brains."
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:24 AM on August 20, 2007

I have no problem with clever people separating silly rich folk from their money. If they don't spend it they just get richer and richer.
posted by srboisvert at 6:25 AM on August 20, 2007 [3 favorites]

DU: all we have to do is figure out how to get them to want to pay for the privilege of lining up against that wall...

Of course, they'd probably just pay someone to line up against the wall for them.
posted by papercake at 6:26 AM on August 20, 2007 [3 favorites]

How can it be that such vast financial success means you fail at life?

The kids wanted to go camping. At that rate, fast forward 15 years and they'll be here.
posted by -harlequin- at 6:29 AM on August 20, 2007

Get the fuck out of my wilderness, you valueless fucks.
posted by notsnot at 6:32 AM on August 20, 2007 [12 favorites]

hideous. thanks.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:34 AM on August 20, 2007

Someday they'll wipe out us Proles and the whole wide world will be "one big seamless, wonderful experience."

I feel sorry for people who want to experience life through Potemkin's lens.
posted by Nahum Tate at 6:35 AM on August 20, 2007

This is just really pathetic. I hope the bears are hungry.
posted by R. Mutt at 6:37 AM on August 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

I love how this whole article is based on the premise that a kid managed to ask his very rich parents for something they had no idea how to provide, and that this situation led to their doing something other than simply saying "no".
posted by hermitosis at 6:43 AM on August 20, 2007 [4 favorites]

So those kids are out in the woods (in the loosest possible sense of the term) probably for the first times of their lives, and all they can think to do is start selling shit?
posted by solipsophistocracy at 6:43 AM on August 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

You know, I'm a camper and backpacker and a former camp counselor. This story is so inspiring, really! The camping experience can be really transformative for kids, building confidence, self-respect, independence, initiative, and cooperative skills. The personal growth is evident in this little vignette:

Ethan Bondick, who watches his father buy and sell
businesses, decided after a few days that he no longer wanted camp butler Mark Duggan serving up the s'mores.

Instead, the first-grader declared that he had started his own s'mores business and hungry glampers should fork over $10 for each marshmallowy dessert. When his dad balked, noting that he was paying the vacation tab, Ethan negotiated down to $3.

But seriously. It's certainly easy to snark at the very rich, but it's just so sad what kids like this have already learned from the lived values of their families.

I used to do some child care and housesitting for a very wealthy family in my early 20s. I remember the day I finally came to terms with the idea that they had no use for my values; their world simply didn't require them. I used to follow them around the house with my basic reflexes going nonstop: put your toys away, bring your dirty dishes back to the kitchen, don't throw that you'll break it, don't waste that -- until I realized that those habits of what I call 'good behavior' are purely working-class and middle-class survival strategies. You don't need to be clean and considerate when you have a staff to pick up after you. You don't need to take care of your things when you can replace them - or better yet, get a better, newer one! - without caring about the cost. You don't have to care about waste because the supply of resources is inexhaustible.

So if you don't like having to walk through the cold from your $450 a night tent to the double shower/Jacuzzi bathroom with heated tile, just rent a log "cabin" for four times that much. God forbid you challenge yourself to grow, change, or see whether you are capable of tolerating less than ideal conditions if there is some chance you might have a transformative, new experience.
posted by Miko at 6:43 AM on August 20, 2007 [8 favorites]

This isn't all that different from retired people buying $5 million RVs and going "camping" at National Parks - the reason this offends a bit more, I think, is because the kid wanted to go camping and his parents were like, "ewww, icky, camping? No way, buster, that is totally grody." Think of the children!! Also, class envy.
posted by billysumday at 6:43 AM on August 20, 2007

Excellent headline, ShawnString.
posted by grouse at 6:53 AM on August 20, 2007

w/r/t harlequin: Now that you mention it, there probably will be more camping in some of these kids' futures.

It is a bit different, billysumday. It would be very rare for an RV to cost over half a million, and that's for a ridiculously tricked-out one, not your garden-variety retiree land yacht. Many of the 'fulltimers' who RV no longer maintain a home elsewhere; the RV is their home. They take part in the same park programs and outdoor activities as the people sharing the parks with them. Also, though the RV is self-contained wonderfulness, they're still staying in campgrounds that charge $20-30 a night, side-by-side with all kinds of other people, including poor ones, who don't offer them butler-made s'mores, but just go about their own camping business. So the differences lie in the expectation of service and a completely processed consumer experience.
posted by Miko at 6:58 AM on August 20, 2007

Also, class envy.

I prefer "class hate", myself.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:00 AM on August 20, 2007 [3 favorites]

Well the other point is that the RV 'retirees' are generally working-class stiffs who spent their lives saving so they could do things like that.
posted by delmoi at 7:01 AM on August 20, 2007

This isn't all that different from retired people buying $5 million RVs and going "camping" at National Parks

Because it's also not camping. Or even "camping." It's ""'camping*'"""

Going "camping" in a Four Seasons room under a tarp, as the woman in the video put it, with full room service and a luxury toilet is like going "bicycling" on a bike with training wheels on a motorized treadmill in an air conditioned room with back projections of mountains rolling behind you.
posted by pracowity at 7:03 AM on August 20, 2007 [4 favorites]

I'm glampin, I'm glampin, I'm cole cole glampin
I got a butler boy, I'm not trampin
I just came from Da tent, ya know
I'm on da go throw ya tank into metro
Live lyrics from the bank of reality
I kick da flyest dope maneuver technicality
To a dope track you wanna hike git out ya backpack
I'm in my Flav mobile cole glampin
I took dis g upstate cole glampin
Ta da poke a nose, we call da hide-a-ways
A pack of franks and a big bag of frito lays

posted by papakwanz at 7:08 AM on August 20, 2007 [4 favorites]

miko: That's a good point. I guess the response here just strikes me as a bit too insincerely angry. My assumption is that if the rich couple went off to Montana by themselves and slept in a tent for $700/night or however much and let their butler filet their salmon and so on, the reaction wouldn't be all that severe. But once you introduce the child, it becomes a full-blown travesty. His parents are evil. They are idiots. They are teaching him the wrong lessons. Well, obviously. They're rich, spoiled people born into rich families. And that little kid trying to sell you a s'more for $10? Yeah, he'll probably grow up to be pretty rich, too.

And, on preview: I prefer "class hate", myself.

Yeah, that's probably more accurate.
posted by billysumday at 7:11 AM on August 20, 2007

Once you people get over your little post-neo-marxist indignation against those with more money than you, can we focus on the real tragedy here:


I know who I'm lining up against the wall come the revolution.
posted by signal at 7:19 AM on August 20, 2007

Oh for fuck's sake, just use a golf course for this nonsense.
posted by malaprohibita at 7:19 AM on August 20, 2007

Well, that's where the anger comes from - it demonstrates very clearly exactly the ways in which class systems are perpetuated over time, through the inculcation and demonstration of a particular set of values and assumptions from one generation to the next, enabled in this case by a tourism industry run by people who are themselves eager to exploit opportunities to create their own wealth, and relying on a class of less well-paid workers to deliver the services they're selling.

It's not that different from $35,000 birthday parties or any other type of conspicuous wealth display, no. But the condemndation of such behavior by people with a better sense of the value of $10 is completely sincere. News like this will pretty much always draw this response, because it shows so clearly what different worlds people of different classes inhabit.
posted by Miko at 7:22 AM on August 20, 2007

Where are the bears when you need them?

Unfortunately, they're eating drunken Serbs.
posted by billysumday at 7:26 AM on August 20, 2007

Question: If you could be given that kind of wealth, but the price you pay is that you would likewise be that dependent upon it - transformed into being unable to function at even a basic human level without staff assistance, etc. Would you take the money if that were the price?

I am sorely tempted to take the money, but I hate the thought of the cost, and being wealthy is not a guaranty of permanent wealth (though it sure helps). I really don't know.
posted by -harlequin- at 7:29 AM on August 20, 2007

I was all ready to reverse-snark at this, to stand up for the people spending their money in the way they want, to applaud them for rising above tedious rituals of ersatz "hardship" played out in the name of an entirely false sense of frontiersman authenticity. Seeking comfort isn't a failing... I mean, God knows, after two days in a wet tent at Gastonbury this year, if Satan himself had approached me offering a heated tent with full butler service, my soul would have been his in an instant. And that's just from being in a muddy field, never mind up a mountain.

But no. Somewhere in between the bit about them being dropped off so they didn't have to actually do any hiking on their hike, and the bit about the family upgrading to the luxury cabin after two days, the staggering emptiness of their parade of non-experiences got to me. The article managed to not just suck all the joy out of the room, but to also rule out the possibility of any future joy as well. These people are Dementors. They must be stopped, for the love of all that is good and decent upon the face of this weeping earth.
posted by flashboy at 7:32 AM on August 20, 2007 [8 favorites]

Throwing a wrench into the question, how might a very poor subsistance farmer answer if the wealth and dependence in question was instead, my/your current situation?

Thinking about it that way, I think the questions just underline that I really like being me :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 7:33 AM on August 20, 2007

Unfortunately, they're eating drunken Serbs.

Don't blame the bears, poor dumb brutes. Drunken Serb flesh is sweeter, thanks in part to the pickling in beer brine, but its true sweetness results from the rich marbling of working class values.
posted by notyou at 7:43 AM on August 20, 2007 [3 favorites]

how might a very poor subsistance farmer answer

I think you'd have to ask a very poor subsistence farmer. Not being one, I don't know what they'd say.

The idea of having a lot of money is darn seductive. But I work with and grew up with a lot of people who do, and it took the shine off quite a bit to know what their lives are really like.

I hold with all those studies that say money influences happiness only to an extent. That is, it would be possible for me to be a lot more rich, but it wouldn't make me a lot more happy. All it could do would be to remove many of the stresses of daily existence which currently detract somewhat from my happiness, and provide a sense of security that would let me think more often about things other than procuring continued financial safety. It could also afford me more choices in the way of travel or education or places to live. And those are important things. But beyond that, it's still up to me to actually make myself happy, and surprisngly, happiness doesn't have all that much to do with cash on hand. Once you reach the income point at which all that is made possible for you, more money isn't really capable of adding to your happiness. The value of each experience of your wealth goes down because it is so common and easy to get. Perspective is lost and enjoyment is relative, as it always is.

It could also provide physical comfort. But that, too, needs to be kept in perspective. Physical comfort feels nice. But it's not always good for us. Taken to an extreme, if I pursued nothing but physical comfort, I'd lie on a divan or hammock all day, never lifting a finger to get work done around the house. I wouldn't exercise - that hurts and it's hard. I wouldn't travel - too unpredictable. I might not sleep well. It might rain or be cold. Choosing comfort as the goal for all life experiences means closing ourselves off to developing the parts of our characters that are strongest when we're not comfortable - sense of humor, humility, determination, independence, fortitude, patience, faith in ourselves and whatever else you like to believe has more meaning than yourself. People who have known lives of mostly comfort are, in many ways, like children - relatively undeveloped.

So I wouldn't take the money. I really like the feeling of capability and independence I have. If someone offered me the equivalent in time - which of course is impossible - then I'd have something serious to think about. But wealth is totally overrated, and comes with its own kinds of misery.
posted by Miko at 7:48 AM on August 20, 2007 [3 favorites]

I don't buy into all this class envy here. Rich people are people too. But what happened to the upper class of yore? Who are these petite bourgeouise? How did they inheret power in America!? Babying their children? Hah!

Our rich have become a bunch of nancy boys. How do they expect to keep their elite, moneyed position? Is this what our future dynasties will look like? I despair!

Rich children are to be shipped off to boarding school where they are to be hazed and picked on and beaten up by their elders, left to shiver in ancient unheated dorm halls, fed only gruel and ignored by their teachers, except for the occaisional caning. Then during the summers, they are to be sent to camps in the alps where they will go on forced marches through dangerous alpine terrain and risk death for their transgressions.

This harsh regime of cruel treatment will turn them into cunning sociopaths who will use every advantage they are given to its maximum potential, increasing their family's power and influence in the next generation.

It is my belief that babying rich children does not train them to use their priviledged position to their advantage, instead, they just grow up useless and squander everything that their parents worked so hard for. Its obvious that Bush senior was soft on young George W, or else we would have a very different president.

I do not disparage the rich or their dynasties, I lament that they have failed to turn out visionary captains of industry. Where is our generation's Howard Hughes? Our Henry Fords? Our Andrew Carnegies? Our Rockefellers? Our Kennedys? Will this coddling produce a new wave of Warren Buffets or Bill Gates'?

Look at Al Gore III! George W. Bush! Paris Hilton! These are the people who have every opportunity to make their ideas into reality, to change the world and mold it into their vision! instead the squander their great priviledge!

Why is our upper class letting us down so badly?
posted by OldReliable at 7:53 AM on August 20, 2007 [19 favorites]

Also, class envy.

I'm in no way envious of these people.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 7:54 AM on August 20, 2007 [2 favorites]

I mean seriously, no wonder the US economy is in the shitter, when the people who own the capital behave like this!
posted by OldReliable at 7:54 AM on August 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Going "camping" in a Four Seasons room under a tarp,

I think I would rather skip the bullshit pretense and just book a room at the Four Seasons. If you don't like camping (and I don't) why bother pretending, just skip the playacting and enjoy luxury the way Mammon intended it to be enjoyed.
posted by MikeMc at 7:59 AM on August 20, 2007

Look at Al Gore III! George W. Bush! Paris Hilton! These are the people who have every opportunity to make their ideas into reality, to change the world and mold it into their vision! instead the squander their great priviledge!

I wouldn't go that far. Only Hilton squanders the privilege, presumably because she has no vision, but she has managed to turn doing little of "value" into a career that spins quite a bit of money. Bush hasn't squandered the privilege - he's used it to the hilt, it's just that he's a moron who forgot to be careful what he wishes for, because he might just get it. Gore also has a vision, and seems to be working decently hard at it. His sights are set pretty high against a pretty hostile backdrop, so his privilege merely makes success a possibility, not a sure thing.

And you too - be careful what you wish for - the last thing we want is people like Hilton molding the world into their vision - I have to live in that world too! :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 8:17 AM on August 20, 2007

Old Reliable: is this better?

Accessory kids and their rich parents who neglect them

At least this kid's parents talk to him and respond.
posted by lysdexic at 8:26 AM on August 20, 2007

My disdain is not for people who live like this but for people who admire/envy/worship people who live like this. The people who deserve to be admired are those who are making an effort to live a sustainable existence. If we mere proles would just shift our focus and admiration to the people who are trying to add to the common wealth of the world the goal of most Americans would be one of high achievement than personal wealth.
posted by any major dude at 8:31 AM on August 20, 2007

Hmm. Nouveau riche spend their money in silly ways. Film at 11.
posted by Zinger at 8:39 AM on August 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

I meant Al Gore's son, not Al Gore, those two are a perfect illustration of this phenomenon.

In a more sensible time, a useless child with no prospect of benefiting the family or the world would have been given his remittance and sent off to some far off place never to return and shame the family name, while the fortunate sons of character and vision would become the face of their dynasty and 'brand' if you will.

Vice President Al Gore is of this latter breed, one who uses his position of power to make the world into the image of what he wants.

GW Bush is of the former, class, a weak man with no vision, who, worse than that, has betrayed his own class to become a slave to the petite bourgoise! His agenda doesn't help his own dynastic upper class, it helps the kind of people who waste their money on glamping and mcmansions.
posted by OldReliable at 8:49 AM on August 20, 2007

I don't understand the hate here.

There's been luxury lodges in US national parks since they opened, attracting wealthy people who want to see the wilderness but don't want to or know how to camp. Guided tours to lookout points and such. How is this vastly different than that?

Skiing has become like this, and nobody hates on it. You think skiing was always expensive resorts, and top shelf apré ski cocktails with other rich folk by the fire? Think there have alwasy been chair lifts in Telluride?

This is out of my price range, and a bit silly, but that's true of many things. I realized when I was about 25 that I don't really like camping, and I haven't done it since. If I were to visit a national park, I'd stay in a lodge or maybe even consider something similar to this. I live in a city, and have no inclination or money or space to invest in a bunch of camping gear I'd only use once or twice. Is it somehow sinful to spend money on certain things?
posted by jeff-o-matic at 8:56 AM on August 20, 2007

I certainly don't need to pay someone to light a fire for me, but if I could afford it, I'd gladly hire someone to follow me around and kill any mosquito that comes within 10 yards.
posted by itchylick at 9:02 AM on August 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Eh, as someone who has 'camped' in everything from leaky tents to fancy motorhomes, 'eh' is all I can come up with. Getting out 'camping', seeing beautiful things in nature, breathing fresh air, etc, are not, to me, intrinsically tied into suffering for it. Sleeping on the ground, frankly, sucks. Cold showers suck. Unless you enjoy walking, hiking for a zillion miles for a breathtaking view sucks.

I've been known to endure those bits of suckiness because the end result was worth it, but I don't see paying to avoid them as a terrible moral failing.

The only thing in this story that I found really sad was that the kid didn't want to roast his own smores until there was a way to turn a profit on it. Roasting marshmallows is the best part of camping--finding the best hot coals with no flames nearby, slowly turning your mallow to evenly brown it, figuring out how to brown the stick end of it properly. That is the joy of camping to me.

I guess, ultimately, what I'm saying is different people take joy in different aspects of the experience of camping. Some people believe it's only camping if you light your own fire instead of using a campstove. Some people believe it's only camping if you have to build your own firepit and collect the wood to light your own fire. Some people believe it's only camping if you hike into the backwoods before building your own firepit and collecting only non-impacting pre-fallen wood to light your fire. Some people believe that if your pansy ass needs a fire to keep warm, you're no camper at all. There's room for lots and lots of levels of comfort in experiencing nature, and these people can afford a higher one than me.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:03 AM on August 20, 2007 [7 favorites]

Oops. Nevermind :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 9:33 AM on August 20, 2007

Is it still okay to hate KOA kampers?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:35 AM on August 20, 2007

when it comes down to it, "roughing it" is closer to this luxury bullshit than it is to the experience of genuinely living off the land.

a camper brings everything with them from their industrialized homeland: mass-produced clothing, shoes, shelter, cooking implements and food. nothing that a hiker carries comes from the environment, and in most cases it's illegal to leave it there. if you, a modern, western, human being, are in the woods, you are a tourist. without your fancy REI toys, you're a dead tourist.

and believe me, i say this as a hardened wilderness traveller. i just don't have any illusions about the fact that i'm dependent on society, just like the rest of you.
posted by klanawa at 9:39 AM on August 20, 2007 [2 favorites]

I can definitely see it being a good experience to go to a resort like this, but it's rather different from the mild suffering of normal camping.

If you want the physical experience of living out doors for a week with whatever resources you can carry, do that. If you want to bring an SUV along, do that instead. It's just a different experience.

There's not exactly a problem with these people wanting to go "glamping" but perhaps they should be more open minded about what they are capable of instead of considering normal camping activities as beneath them. The most worrying part is perhaps their lack of willing to pursue self discovery which is hard to infer from this single article.
posted by public at 9:43 AM on August 20, 2007

"[I]f you're very rich... you should leave your kids enough so they can do anything, but not enough so that they can do nothing." -- Warren Buffett
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:14 AM on August 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Unfortunately, they're eating drunken Serbs.

Do not feed the bears yourself.

Actually I'm kinda dissapointed I wasn't in time to post the CNN link myself....
posted by ilsa at 10:24 AM on August 20, 2007

"It's not about experiencing what Lewis and Clark did"

Comedy gold.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:36 AM on August 20, 2007

Honestly, now, this would be the way to do Burning Man.
posted by Cookiebastard at 10:44 AM on August 20, 2007

Money may not buy happiness, but it damn sure rents it.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:06 AM on August 20, 2007

Huh, after ruining the housing market the rich have set their sights on ruining living in a tent too.
posted by elwoodwiles at 11:32 AM on August 20, 2007

This article reminded me of my mother's idea of roughing it: No wet bar.
posted by msali at 11:48 AM on August 20, 2007

There is way too much money being made by people who create nothing of value. This article is amusing, but in a very small way it's a sign of one of the main problems with American capitalism.
posted by cell divide at 12:01 PM on August 20, 2007

There are RV parks where your rig has to be less than 10 yrs old to enter. keeps out the riff raff who travel in vintage airstreams I suppose.
posted by hortense at 12:16 PM on August 20, 2007

Its the definition of bubble, Cell Divide.
posted by OldReliable at 12:18 PM on August 20, 2007

Here's the thing. I thought the luxory tents looked pretty nice. I actually dislike camping tents very much (mostly because I loathe shiny plastic fabrics; I have nothing against the larger tents which are made of canvas that are usually hung on platforms) so I've always preferred shacks or bungaloos or even just the grass if it's definitely not going to rain. I would happily sleep in those tents. But, really, a butler? A frikken maid? A cook?!?

Cooking for yourselves in the great outdoors is awesome. Personally I like it better when it's just an evening thing so you can bring relatively fresh items to cook rather than relying on dry or canned goods, although nothing, nothing tests better for breakfast than bear mush (cream of wheat) cooked over an open flame with a squeeze of honey.

Outdoor heaters are retarded. The whole point of camping is to be just a little bit cold. Snuggle down in your sleeping bag and think warm thoughts.

I think that our society has increasingly separated us from nature. As a kid, I remember spending a lot of time outdoors and in nature, even when I lived in a subdivision. There was the back yard, and there was a forest nearby, and even if all you have is a try as a small child you can get lost in its roots and just stare at bugs for hours.

We've stopped doing that, and it's wrong. We can sense that it's wrong, so we try to do something about it by connecting to nature again, but it's generally just on the surface -- think about how many people buy SUVs to make themselves feel outdoorsy. This is probably also a manifestation of that. This kid was probably feeling the longing for getting out into nature, but he was totally unprepared for it (as were his parents), kind of like a bird that's been caged up their entire life and then tries to fly south. It's probably not going to work very well.
posted by Deathalicious at 12:26 PM on August 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

...if money can't buy happiness, I guess I'll have to rent it...

woo hoo! i found the search function on yootoob!

posted by lysdexic at 12:52 PM on August 20, 2007

Cookiebastard: Honestly, now, this would be the way to do Burning Man.

You just made me cry a little, inside.
posted by Brak at 2:13 PM on August 20, 2007

I hold with all those studies that say money influences happiness only to an extent. That is, it would be possible for me to be a lot more rich, but it wouldn't make me a lot more happy. All it could do would be to remove many of the stresses of daily existence which currently detract somewhat from my happiness, and provide a sense of security that would let me think more often about things other than procuring continued financial safety...

Thank you, Miko. Next time I need an example of how dominant parties in power structures generate Stockholm Syndrome, I know where to link people.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:16 PM on August 20, 2007

Missing from the article is any indication of what, if anything, these people take back from their "camping" experience.

For most hikers/backpackers the change of environment is everything. In the mountains the laws of nature, unlike the laws of man, cannot be ignored with impunity. Klanawa nailed it "..without your fancy REI toys, you're a dead tourist." Even with the REI toys one needs a fair amount of sense and oftimes a little luck to avoid dead tourist syndrome. However within the inflexible constraints of nature there is enormous freedom - no check-out times, the kitchen never closes and you can have breakfast any time you want to stop and cook it.

And of course the big pay-off for the week-end hiker is that the change of scale and the absence of people provides a new perspective which we retain long after we are back in the crowded flatlands.

I don't envy these people their glamping, nor do I feel particularly critical of it (check out the Ahwahnee sometime - great place!) - but they seem to have missed the point.
posted by speug at 2:33 PM on August 20, 2007

Hey I'm all for glamping. Suck it haters!
*Lights cigar with $100 bill*
posted by Mister_A at 3:03 PM on August 20, 2007

That's well put, speug.

I don't object at all to the folks in this article not "roughing it" - in my teenage years I looked down on car campers as softies - today, I think car camping is the bee's knees. Wilderness all day and a run to the packy before dark. I also buckled under and went for the air mattress about three years ago - man, what a difference.

What I'm reacting most to is the jaded sensibility, limited worldview ("how much ya think I could get for this s'more?") and narrow tolerance for experience that I hear in the family's remarks. Like speug, I think their wealth has sheltered them to the point where they seem unable to open up enough to take in an experience of newness or difference from their normal daily life.
posted by Miko at 3:05 PM on August 20, 2007

Actually I'm thinking these people suffer true poverty.

God forbid some disaster or global warming or revolution or whatever hit and these people actually have to cope with life instead of throw money at it.

And I want to start crying for that little boy.
posted by konolia at 5:19 PM on August 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Actually I'm thinking these people suffer true poverty.

Actually, I'm thinking that these people are wealthy beyond the dreams of the vast majority of the world's population and that treating them as if they were somehow worse off than those for whom living in rough conditions in wilderness that would terrify these people to even contemplate is sickeningly offensive.

Enough with the fucking pity, of all things, for the poor, tortured wealthy. Save you sympathy for people who need it, rather than wasting it on the privileged elite.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:50 PM on August 20, 2007

Who said I had sympathy? (For the adults; that child is another story.)

It is a poverty of spirit that causes people to spend their money in such outlandish ways to insulate themselves from real life. Yes, they have wealth beyond the wildest dreams of probably all of us on this site. So what?

I read an article by the author of this today. If any of you have a copy of the latest AARP magazine, give it a read.

In HOW STARBUCKS SAVED MY LIFE: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else, Mike (as he likes to be called now) lost it all--the wife, the kids, the job, and didn't know what to do. He had never not had everything at his fingertips, and he was lost--literally and figuratively. Then one day, sitting in a Starbucks on the Upper West Side in Manhattan trying to figure out his next move, a young woman named Crystal said those magic words: "Would you like a job?" Surprised, Mike said "yes." And his life has not been the same since.
posted by konolia at 6:17 PM on August 20, 2007

I love to go a-Honda-ing,
With GPS (wide-band),
And as I go, my chums txting,
"Mojito, my good man!"

Glamp-ing, si! Glamp-ing, ja!
Glamp-ing, whee!
Glamp-ing, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha
"Truffles, Brie! Bar car far?
Mojito, my good man!"

posted by rob511 at 6:19 PM on August 20, 2007

This isn't even an original idea.

Anyway, most people in this thread are just jealous because they know that if they had that kind of money, they wouldn't waste it on stupid shit like this. I know that I, personally, would waste it on much cooler stupid shit. Seriously, you'd be blown away by how awesome my stupid shit would be.

What? I can't hear you. I'm in the basement, in my video arcade!
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:29 PM on August 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

That made me somewhat nauseated. If only for the fact that there is A) a new, stupid portmanteau ("glamping??"), and B) that some editor at the LA Times thought this was a worthy subject for an article.

Nothing would please me more than a Category 5 or equivalent disaster ripping these "camps" to shreds and these spoiled, spoiled people having to fend for themselves for days on end.

/consumed by bitterness, jealousy
posted by zardoz at 11:47 PM on August 20, 2007

this article is like the occasional "rich people living rich lives" thing you see in the new york times... so transparently provocative that it's not. see how the rich live! envy or hate them! yadda yadda.

the one thing i always wonder is, where do find the people who get quoted in these stories? they always come off like such assholes, but do they know what the tone of the article's going to be? either they're getting blindsided or they're ok with how they come off... which is even scarier!
posted by jcruelty at 12:05 AM on August 21, 2007

No different to medieval nobles in their pavilions. It's just calling it "camping" that makes it ridiculous, otherwise it would just be very rich people doing their rich people thing outdoors.

Evidently they have broader notions of what constitutes camping than the average Mefite.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:36 AM on August 21, 2007

either they're getting blindsided or they're ok with how they come off

Neither. They don't care how they "come off" - that is, how normal people see them. They think whatever they decide to do is just fine, and they would be mildly surprised to learn that we view it negatively. Then they would put that out of their minds and continue to think what they do is just fine, because our opinions don't matter.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:56 AM on August 21, 2007

which is the exact same reaction that most middle-class people would have about the poor.
posted by laconic titan at 5:55 AM on August 21, 2007

I love how this whole article is based on the premise that a kid managed to ask his very rich parents for something they had no idea how to provide, and that this situation led to their doing something other than simply saying "no".

Welcome to my Hell. I've been dealing with the fallout from this terrifyingly common phenomenon for the last two weeks.

I know I'm going to sound like an old fart, but I really think our society is raising a generation of kids who are going to be completely useless at adulthood.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:00 AM on August 21, 2007

Assholes like the people in the FPP are the reason that I can't afford to live where I grew up any more. Spent my formative years in Montana, before they started building the McMansions and screwing the property values. It was small, quiet, peaceful, friendly. Now that the "elite" have discovered it for themselves, they're dead set on turning it into a mirror image of the place they live now, but with Mountains. Thanks, assholes. The small towns in western Montana just weren't complete without a Starbucks on every corner.

jeff-o-matic writes "Skiing has become like this, and nobody hates on it. You think skiing was always expensive resorts, and top shelf apré ski cocktails with other rich folk by the fire?"

Uh, well, that also explains why I can't afford to go skiing now, doesn't it? Ski wear - the height of fashion - was blue jeans, sweater and gaiters when my Mom and Dad taught me how. Now, if you're seen on the slope with last year's Columbia jacket, you're snickered at. When I was young, my parents could afford to buy season lift tickets for a family of 5 on a teacher's salary, and still pay rent. Screw the fancy cocktails, man, all I want to be able to do is ski for a reasonable price and have a place to crash afterwards.

Deathalicious writes "I have nothing against the larger tents which are made of canvas that are usually hung on platforms"

Canvas is fine, unless you have to carry it. :) Old-school is great in some respects, but I'll take a flyweight tent any day of the week if I'm going backpacking.
posted by caution live frogs at 6:36 AM on August 21, 2007

To each his own, I figure, but I really think these people are missing out on the best part of the outdoors. Camp food tastes amazing because you hiked until you were exhausted and famished, and then cooked it yourself. The view from the top of the mountain is more amazing because you hauled yourself up there on your own two feet to see it. A night on the ground in a sleeping bag actually will be the best sleep you've ever had, IF you walked 12 miles with all your gear on your back to get to your campsite.

The secret to all of this enjoyment is that you earn every little bit of it through your own efforts. You put in some hard work, and you're rewarded not only with a tasty meal or a breath-taking view, but with a sense of accomplishment and a new-found knowledge of your limits - namely, that you haven't yet reached them. There's joy to be found in hard work; it's one of the greatest joys of camping. These people obviously don't have a source of that joy in their lives back home, and I can't help thinking they've cheated themselves out of an amazing experience by taking the work-free route even in the outdoors.
posted by vytae at 3:21 PM on August 21, 2007

I think the experiences of the truly wealthy come down to this:

1. If I want to do it, I can do it!
2. If I don't want to do it, I don't have to do it!

I realized this when dealing with my toddlers, who had decided that 5am was a good time to wake up. It suddenly occurred to me that, no matter how much money I had, even if I won the lottery, these kids would still be waking my ass up at 5am.

Then I realized I was wrong, as if I had enough money I could hire someone to stand watch for the early wakeups and deal with 'em while I slept.

Then I realized that since my kids go to daycare every day of the work week, I was a member of that class to a certain extent. So who was I to judge?

At the end of the day, we all avoid doing things we don't like to do, and hurry to do things we want to do. How much we can fulfill those desires is really the only measure of what wealth buys you.

So what does that leave for all of us to share? The enjoyment of those things we can't control. Someone earning a $5,000 paycheck over two weeks, just like the week before and the week before that, isn't nearly as happy as someone who wins $500 in a raffle, at least not in that moment. People fall in love with us, our kids decide we're worth hugging today, and you get a huge case of the giggles, and that's something we all share regardless of our socio-economic condition.

Is there a point to this? Not really except I thought it made a better and more relevant comment than talking about how much other people suck, no matter how much they DO.
posted by davejay at 5:05 PM on August 21, 2007

The experience of camping ought to include a certain amount of roughing it, of doing basic tasks for oneself and by hand, and of removing much of the insulation between the camper and nature. The rich folk discussed in the article are just pretending to go camping, like little kids pretend to go camping when they sleep in a tent in the yard behind their suburban home, twenty feet from Mom and Dad and Sparky and the kitchen and the toilet and the television.
posted by pracowity at 1:23 AM on August 22, 2007

Is this LOLRICHPEOPLE or is it OK not to be ashamed of my caravan-proud parents because they've got less money than the people featured in your link?
posted by l'esprit d'escalier at 4:03 AM on August 22, 2007

There is most certainly an element of LOLRICHPEOPLE, but that's not prohibited here. If we started to get it as much as we get LOLXIANS, the mods might get sick of it.

It's okay not to be ashamed of your parents, although you should be ashamed for using such an obvious straw man. No one said people who stay in five-star hotels or travel trailers should be ashamed, just that they aren't really camping. If they delude themselves into thinking that what they're doing is equivalent to camping, then they are missing some crucial aspects of it.

If they rob their children of those aspects, that is sad. If they teach their children that it is okay to charge their parents for s'mores then they have failed. I wonder if the Bondicks will realize this after reading the article, or will just think it is cute.
posted by grouse at 4:29 AM on August 22, 2007

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