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August 26, 2005

class issues and the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine

When a reminiscing alumnus uses the words "coxswain" and "regatta" in the same sentence, I still positively giggle, as if the speaker had instead declaimed "Here, darling, we bathe only in champagne."

Also see previous post on this topic.

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August 24, 2005

"do not bother me with your bourgeois gasoline woes whilst I am drinking my macchiato"

The (much recovered) cowboy pointed me towards this article in the Times Magazine about the impending oil shortage:
If consumption begins to exceed production by even a small amount, the price of a barrel of oil could soar to triple-digit levels. This, in turn, could bring on a global recession, a result of exorbitant prices for transport fuels and for products that rely on petrochemicals -- which is to say, almost every product on the market. The impact on the American way of life would be profound: cars cannot be propelled by roof-borne windmills. The suburban and exurban lifestyles, hinged to two-car families and constant trips to work, school and Wal-Mart, might become unaffordable or, if gas rationing is imposed, impossible.
Many New Yorkers are smug about such things; if there's no more oil, I guess Peoria and Denver and Duluth will just have to build subways!

I am reminded of a recent New York Magazine article about New Yorkers' opposition to a Wal-Mart in Rego Park -- some of it was ligitimate opposition from the grocery workers' union, or from activists, but much of it was urban snobbery. (I am certainly not immune to such snobbery, and would be embarassed by the presence of a Waltonesque monstrosity in my town; however, I balance my personal distaste of tacky things with the right of less well-off people to buy cheap cornflakes and parkas).

In any case, while the prospect of SUVs becoming too expensive to operate may delight many urban dwellers, worldwide recession is considerably less charming.

On an interesting engineering note, the article also pointed out (regarding the unfortunate fact that the Saudis have no obligation to tell anyone in any verifiable sense how much oil they actually have) that "the popular notion of [oil] reservoirs as underground lakes, from which wells extract oil like straws sucking a milkshake from a glass, is incorrect. Oil exists in drops between and inside porous rocks."

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June 3, 2005

who needs sidewalks or front porches? not i, said the fly

The latest article in the Times' series on class -- about the "class" of high-income people who regularly relocate to soulless suburbs where they must drive SUVs to their soulless country clubs -- is kind of horrifying. Not explicitly so, but sort of subtly, creepingly so. We need Arthur Miller back so he can write plays about the emptiness of their lives.


May 27, 2005

she also went on a steak diet she found in a Polish newspaper

This morning I caught up with the NYTimes series on class in America, and I was quite charmed by the Polish maid who'd had a heart attack. She was shocked to learn that part of her heart muscle was dead; after leaving the doctor's office, she lit up another cigaratte and commented, metaphorically, "You know, you have hand? Now I have no finger."


May 13, 2005

class in America? whatever are you talking about?

I rather enjoy the New York Observer. If you're going to be economically elitist (see previous comments re: the Times), at least offer up a collegiate-level writing style to match. An article in the Observer offers some highly thoughtful commentary on a topic that rarely begets much rigor of thought: Angelina Jolie's androgynous, man-eating appeal:
Despite her turn as gun-wielding British genius wonder woman Lara Croft...Ms. Jolie doesn’t exactly get the feminist stamp of approval. She isn’t uplifting in a Gloria Steinem sort of way.

But in an Ayn Rand kind of way, although better-willed, she constitutes complete freedom, both kindly and voracious. She’s a little libertarian and an altruist sex bomb, a man-eater and a boy-raiser. No one thinks Ms. Jolie would have their back. She’s a lone vessel.
Semi-related note: an article in the Times recently referred to Mayor Bloomberg's 22 year old daughter Georgina as "a competitive horse jumper." Oh, how the freakishly wealthy live. Competitive horse jumping is not a job, and twenty-two is really about time to have a job.

At least she's not appearing in "House of Wax."

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April 20, 2005

oh no, where did I put my stock portfolio and wealthy relatives?!

I got an email asking me to fill out some kind of survey for the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine. I got through questions about my household size and income, and then I got to "net worth"; I'll let the options speak for themselves:


April 10, 2005

economic elitism

I'm always hearing how women's magazines make women feel bad, but I think the New York Times does just as good a job. What the hell is up with the real estate section? Oh no, a building that once cost $15 million now costs $20 million! Look, here's a quote from a woman who thinks her $2,800/month one-bedroom in Murray Hill is a great deal. Who are these people? I find it much easier to live up to Cosmo's standards than the Gray Lady's. Toned abs, I can achieve; a Manhattan condo, not so much.

I hear all the time about pushes to include more "realistic body types" in advertising and magazines. Why don't we hear similar entreaties to portray people with more "realistic financial profiles"? Why are we so concerned about Vogue giving someone an eating disorder, but not at all concerned about the media and advertising making poor people feel bad?


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