Lion of the Blogosphere

Matthew Yglesias Vox article about Trump and Kushner

with 50 comments

Matthew Yglesias hates Trump, but nevertheless there’s some interesting stuff here.

As comedian John Mulaney put it, “Donald Trump is like what a hobo imagines a rich man to be.” Actual social and economic elites in the contemporary United States regard ostentatious displays of wealth as vulgar and low-class. What you’re supposed to do is be subtly snobbish about various things — from locally sourced produce at the lower end to unique experiential vacations at the high end — not just slap gold on everything.

. . .

When Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof dreams of life as a rich man, he says he’ll have “one long staircase just going up / and one even longer going down / and one more leading nowhere just for show.” Like most working-class people, in other words, he would like to have more money, but he doesn’t especially want to become a cosmopolitan urbanite with hipster tastes. He wants to be Donald Trump.

I’ve been telling you for a long time that the real reason the elites hate Trump is because he’s LOW CLASS. Finally, someone admits it, using those exact words. At the same time, this is why the proles connect with him and love him. The proles don’t understand Romney’s slightly-embarrassed approach to being rich. What seemed very proper to me struck the proles as being sinister.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 21, 2016 at 8:58 pm

Posted in Politics, Proles

50 Responses

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  1. …a cosmopolitan urbanite with hipster tastes.

    Who thinks “hipster tastes” is something to emulate?

    I’ve been telling you for a long time that the real reason the elites hate Trump is because he’s LOW CLASS.

    Yeah those Trump golf courses and hotels are real bottom of the barrel operations!

    This partly sounds like the self deceptions of pretentious, snobish wannabees and sissies.

    Often times prole just = more masculine and cosmopolitan urbanite with hipster tastes = sissy fag.

    Rifleman

    November 21, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    • “Yeah those Trump golf courses and hotels are real bottom of the barrel operations!”

      On Nov. 9th, I put on my MAGA hat, picked up my retired dad who doesn’t drive anymore, and went to downtown D.C. to the new Trump International Hotel. We dined at a restaurant therein in a state of extreme satisfaction. It wasn’t tacky or gauche at all. The hotel and restaurant were sophisticated and superior, from the food to the clientele to the service to the design and materials.

      I was the biggest rube in there with my red hat. The staff were all thrilled. Then we strolled around the National mall, and I was hoping my hat would stir up reactions but mostly people were too stunned to make trouble. That the incoming president got 4% in a nation’s capital seems without precedent in the history of democracy. George W. Bush got 9% in 2000 and 2004.

      Dan

      November 22, 2016 at 9:35 am

      • “That the incoming president got 4% in a nation’s capital seems without precedent in the history of democracy”

        The political class ON BOTH SIDES is ridiculously out of touch. That’s why the political class ON BOTH SIDES lost. I’ll bet they’re desperately trying to understand why they lost. Not so they can do better for America. But so they can do a better job of manipulating voters next time.

        destructure

        November 22, 2016 at 10:43 am

  2. …regard ostentatious displays of wealth as vulgar and low-class.

    ……..unless it’s black!

    And then it’s vibrant, diverse, exciting, creative, dynamic, proud, unapologetic, expressivve, swaggering, confident etc etc.

    ……….and you are a threatened, racist White supremacist for dismissing it.

    Rifleman

    November 21, 2016 at 9:24 pm

  3. Trump is because he’s LOW CLASS. Finally, someone admits it, using those exact words. At the same time, this is why the proles connect with him and love him.

    Trump is more of a wealthy jock than a prole. The difference between rich jocks and proles is that the former can swim in both elitist corporate circles and socialize with proles because of their personality and above average, but not spectacular, intelligence. Proles on the other hand don’t have the money or smoothness to socialize with the upper class.

    The Undiscovered Jew

    November 21, 2016 at 9:58 pm

  4. What makes Trump prole is that he’s a fundamentally HONEST MAN, and I don’t think he’s capable or desiring of being otherwise.

    He likes big fights, big laughs, big buildings, big vehicles, and big bosomy women that give him big successful kids. Local produce and all the rest is just bullshit.

    fakeemail

    November 21, 2016 at 10:02 pm

  5. Ahahaha,

    Trump may be prole…

    But at least he isn’t wasting money donating to elite colleges or art galleries or life science research into life expectancy extension.

    I actually find Trump’s prole taste encouraging and shows his psychological central tendency is a common man worldview.

    The Philosopher

    November 21, 2016 at 10:14 pm

  6. Lion,

    I enjoy your social observations but I really think that a lot of them are out of date now. Weiss was right. That article was excellent, even though I think that Weiss’s attitudes towards Israel are screwy. There’s been an earthquake.

    The hipsters are old hat. BLM is old hat. The new cause is Standing Rock. Trump destroyed the Bushes – do you remember them. He destroyed the Clintons. Did you see what she looked like? Pathetic!

    It’s a strange new world, Lion. Open your eyes! Smell the Trump coffee!

    gothamette

    November 21, 2016 at 10:23 pm

  7. Lion, your posts on class tend to be good, but you are wrong here.
    Trump is definitely not a prole.

    He is simply not a brahmin.

    There has been an ascendancy of the brahmins over the past 100 years because they are good at taking tests. Before that, the leadership caste among europeans was made up of the warriors caste.

    The brahmins hate the warrior caste because the brahmins live in a world that values only SAT scores and faking esoteric interests. Trump is an old-style warrior caste leader. The brahmins are scared that they are losing control, and that another caste is taking over…and they are correct. The returns on brahmin behavior decrease every year…low fertility, low income growth, the return of the warrior caste is happening worldwide…Duterte, Farage, Le Pen, Putin, etc… these are not effetê brahmins.

    jjbees

    November 21, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    • A leader of proles is still prole.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      November 21, 2016 at 10:41 pm

      • Once upon a time, the warrior caste was not prole. Things change.

        fakeemail

        November 21, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    • Trump is not “warrior caste”. He spent the last 40 years of his life partying in NYC, hanging out with models and celebrities, supporting Democratic causes, and whining about bad press coverage. He seems to thin skinned to be a warrior and too invested in the opinions of nobodies. Maybe he is some late blooming Prince Hal, but more likely he is just clever enough to see which way the political wind is blowing. His prole/guido sensibilities certainly have been an asset to him to help see how hollow the dominant political consensus is.

      Peter Akuleyev

      November 22, 2016 at 5:13 am

    • I totally agree. Trump is an Optimate..born to wealth, went to a military academy and was raised conservative. He is indeed a warrior king. One of the hallmarks of the Optimate class is that they are both feared and respected by their men (the proles) because they trust them. Proles don’t trust Brahmins because they are essentially bureaucrats.

      Brahmins are scared to death of Optimates because in the natural hierarchy of life the Optimates have the real power and authority. Trump and his family are Optimates par excellence. They may be “prole” according to modern swpl/Brahmin tastes, but historically they are not. Those that are unashamed of their own wealth and power are the true aristocrats.

      B.T.D.T.

      November 22, 2016 at 5:59 am

    • I totally agree with your analysis of the repudiation of the Brahmin caste. Moldbug writes a lot about this. Although they are smart, they are very weak-minded and are for the most part paper-tigers. From an American perspective, Trump represents a return of the Cavalier class to politics. He now has supporters from billionaires like Peter Thiel who are beta themselves but want the Warrior caste to run socieity.

      By the way, here is a new interview with Jared Kushner in Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenbertoni/2016/11/22/exclusive-interview-how-jared-kushner-won-trump-the-white-house/#3b94ace52f50

      Finally, OT but just to prove that the media is clueless and full of liars, everyone keeps referring to Steve Bannon at Alt-Right. I’ve followed the Alt-Right movement for years and I am 100% certain that Steve Bannon is not Alt-Right or a WN. He’s an old-style American nationalist. Media is so deceitful and lazy.

      JerseyGuy

      November 22, 2016 at 9:10 am

      • Without even a clear definition of “alt-right” it’s hard to say who is and who isn’t.

        Under the broad defintion, not a Trucon but hates SJWs, then that’s Steven Bannon.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        November 22, 2016 at 9:46 am

      • The Alt Right can be divided in to two broad groups: The Civic Nationalists and the White Nationalists.

        The Civic Nationalists want a pluralistic United States with a strong white majority. They want to encourage maximum possible assimilation of non whites but they have no objection to there being a non white minority as long as it is kept to under 20% or so of the population. The Civic Nationalists hold to a sort of implicit white nationalism but would have no problem with a non white leader as long as said leader shared their views. The intellectual forerunners of Alt Right such as Brimelow and Sailer were mainly Civic Nationalists as are most of us here.

        The White Nationalists want a monocultural white ethnic state, a sort of “White Japan” or what European countries were prior to WWII. They do not want non whites in the United States, period.

        If there is one thing that makes someone Alt-Right, it is the conscious desire for Western countries to maintain strong white demographic majorities. Beyond that point, the different Alt Right factions disagree on much, sometimes very intensely. But they all want to keep the West white.

        Steven Bannon is absolutely Alt Right. He just happens to belong to the civic nationalist faction as opposed to the white nationalist faction of somebody like Richard Spencer.

        Otis the Sweaty

        November 22, 2016 at 11:29 am

      • wherre did you hear that the civic nationalsits want a strong white majority? most of the alt-rght are the brietbart reading crowd and are basically racially colourblind. they just want to kick out the illegals bc the illegals break the laws but otherwise theyre cool with the mexicans just so long as they come legally.

        james n.s.w

        November 22, 2016 at 11:53 pm

  8. Yglesias needs another beating by the bruthas.

    Vincent

    November 21, 2016 at 10:54 pm

    • Thats what I was thinking.

      He name drops that *he* deserved to be at Harvard on merits unlike Kushner (even though frankly he wrote the worst of the three article on this topic between the Forbes one and the chick who used to work at the Observer).

      And Yggdrasil whines that Kushner is “hyperprivileged” unlike himself so is merely privileged, so thats ok. He is such an obnoxious prat.

      Lion of the Turambar

      November 22, 2016 at 1:28 pm

  9. Maybe, like many men, Trump isn’t particularly interested in home decorating but has been influenced by his eastern European wives. Look how gaudy these palaces owned by Russian oligarchs are:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2897053/Has-collapse-Russian-economy-finally-hit-super-rich-Sumptuous-palaces-owned-oligarchs-begin-appear-Moscow-s-property-market-70million.html

    Rosenmops

    November 21, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    • Trump’s living quarters are too opulent and gawdy for most:

      I thought it was odd that the Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe was the 1st foreign politico to meet with him.

      JS

      November 21, 2016 at 11:59 pm

      • I had a big LOL at all the moronic liberals sputtering that “Ivanka doesn’t have a security clearance and doesn’t know anything about national security so why was she even at this meeting and why didn’t Trump have State Department advisors there?”

        Tarl

        November 22, 2016 at 10:34 am

      • Trump isn’t officially the president yet. I just thought it was strange that he met with Mr. Abe. Are they good friends?

        JS

        November 22, 2016 at 8:29 pm

      • Puhleaze. Is it really unprecedented for world leaders to meet with President-elects? I doubt it. Kennedy and Khrushchev started corresponding in December 1960 before Kennedy was “officially the President”. Hit the ground running!

        Tarl

        November 23, 2016 at 10:43 am

    • I think it’s Trump’s personal taste – he emulates guidos. In New York in the 1960s-70s Italian-Americans were the toughest whites around, and Donald seems to have been influenced by them. For that matter, Russian Oligarchs are also mostly trying to be Tony Soprano. Trump’s first “Eastern European” wife was Czech, and Czechs tend to be like Germans culturally – not particularly ostentatious and value quality over gaudiness. I doubt Ivana is impressed.

      Peter Akuleyev

      November 22, 2016 at 5:07 am

  10. How is Lion enjoying the traffic around Trump tower?

    The Undiscovered Jew

    November 21, 2016 at 11:18 pm

  11. *Matthew Yglesias hates Trump*

    Matty actually liked Trump until late spring when his boss Ezra took him around back of the woodshed and let him know how things work at Vox. Since then, he’s been a rabid attack dog but not a very sincere one. It’s obvious that Matt’s attacks on Trump are not backed up by reason or evidence. They’re just made up to comply with the corporate policy.

    The announcement that Matt expects that hate crimes against Jews will be legalized as soon at Trump takes office was typical.

    owentt

    November 22, 2016 at 2:37 am

  12. I hope Tulsi Gabbard comes on as Secretary of State. Not only would she be a great fit for the position but she is exactly the kind of person we need to be recruiting to our movement.

    We all want to keep America white, but running on that explicitly is an electoral loser. We need as many “citizenist” PoC as possible in our ranks. It won’t help much with non whites, but it will really help us reach out to cuck whites.

    Otis the Sweaty

    November 22, 2016 at 2:56 am

    • Nah she won’t taint her future with the Democrats by serving in the Trump administration.

      Tarl

      November 22, 2016 at 10:37 am

      • She has no future with the Dems. She is anti war, anti Muslim, anti Wall Street and doesn’t hate white people. There is no place for her in the modern Democratic party.

        Otis the Sweaty

        November 22, 2016 at 11:16 am

      • She is a diverse non-Christian woman. Democrats will forgive her if they find it expedient. Besides, being anti-war is a point in her favor if she is a Democrat, and serving the in the Army offsets it.

        Quite honestly, looking at her overall positions, the Democrats would have been MUCH better off running her for President instead of Hillary, not least because (unlike Hillary) Gabbard is pretty damn hot.

        Tarl

        November 22, 2016 at 3:27 pm

      • I see little evidence that voters of either sex want “hot” female leaders.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        November 22, 2016 at 3:48 pm

      • When was the last time the person with the LOWER sexual market value won a presidential election? Even when it’s male vs male, the objectively more attractive guy is gonna win. People will vote for a hot woman like Tulsi before an ugly old woman like HRC.

        Tarl

        November 23, 2016 at 10:45 am

      • If voters preferred women over men, then the majority of elected politicians would be women.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        November 23, 2016 at 11:19 am

      • You keep missing the point.
        Voters prefer the more attractive candidate.
        An unattractive woman will lose to an attractive man. As we just saw!

        Tarl

        November 23, 2016 at 2:26 pm

  13. Cosmopolitan urban hipsters are just young white people experiencing social decline. Get neck-deep in debt for your useless degree, move to Brooklyn, set up a bodega, sorry, artisanal cupcake shop, wear the look of a manual laborer from 1900 with some ironic flourishes … Freshly added proles, in so many words.

    Glengarry

    November 22, 2016 at 5:43 am

    • Frankly, that is a much more positive way of dealing with poverty than depression and alcoholism.

      map

      November 22, 2016 at 1:48 pm

  14. Not only are liberals still convinced that they are winning, but they really don’t think Trump will change anything. From NeoGaf:

    “Sure the conspiracy sites will spread their bs, but truthfully, we’re likely looking a future with an even more fucked poor rural America who won’t see a wall, a limited response to illegal immigration and no Muslim ban in sight. ”

    Uh, what? There is no question that Trump is going to build the wall and wage war on the immigrant community. I’m not really sure why the Left is so convinced those things aren’t going to happen. Both are things Trump can do without Congress and are things that he has repeatedly indicated he planned to start on on day 1.

    The Muslim ban I always regarded as a gimmick that was necessary to win over the idiots who vote in the GOP primaries. Trump himself has walked it back big time, something he has categorically not done with the wall or for his plans of destruction of the immigrant community.

    Liberals never cease to boggle my mind. I can understand their PC, white hating views. I can understand why they thought they were on “The Right Side of History” before Trump’s election. But I cannot understand at all why they still think they are winning when they have been handed the greatest setback in their history as a movement.

    Otis the Sweaty

    November 22, 2016 at 5:56 am

    • They have high self-esteem.

      map

      November 22, 2016 at 1:50 pm

  15. Someone named Christopher Orr made similar comments in Atlantic. Trump is Rodney Dangerfield’s character from Caddyshack.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/09/cinderella-story-outta-nowhere/405547/

    “Pretty much everyone in America would like to have more money, obviously. What they don’t want is to think that wealth would fundamentally change who they are. This is a basic democratic credo. Most Americans don’t want to be rich so that they can develop a taste for fancy French cuisine to be enjoyed over polite repartee with their fellow snobs at the country club. They want to be rich so they can do whatever they want and never have to take crap from anyone. They don’t want to be Judge Smails, in other words; they want to be Rodney Dangerfield. (Yes, technically Al Czervik, though the character is essentially an extension of Dangerfield’s longstanding persona.)”

    Paavo Ojala (@popojala)

    November 22, 2016 at 6:58 am

    • Republican politicians can’t escape this by acting “elite” instead of prole. Democrats caricature all elite Republicans as Judge Smails – an evil, obnoxious, uptight, uncaring rich asshole.

      Like here!

      http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Mitt-Romney-or-Judge-Smails-170332786.html

      Tarl

      November 22, 2016 at 10:44 am

    • There is actually a fascinating documentary on Caddyshack you guys should check out. Bill Murray’s improvising and other acts completely changed the plot in the course of filming.

      What’s important to realize is that Judge Smails was not nearly as rich as Rodney Dangerfield. Moreover, Smails was a far more positive influence on the kid than any other character. Caddyshack was largely a hit job on the WASP country club culture.

      map

      November 22, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      • What’s the name of the documentary?

        Trump’s popularity is, like Rodney Dangerfield’s Al Czervik’s, is based on his ability to humiliate the ruling class, the elite. I bet a lot of Trump voters, and even people who didn’t vote for him, feel a rush at reading how horrified a lot of rich, powerful, famous people are. It is very enjoyable to see powerful people you fear to be humiliated.

        Clinton’s loss was major humiliation for most of the mainstream media, movie stars, silicon valley billionares, and everykind of powerful and rich people that average joe knows about. Immigration and other issues are still there, but being able to humiliate coastal elites is a major motivation for voting Trump

        Paavo Ojala (@popojala)

        November 22, 2016 at 10:02 pm

  16. OT: Democrat death threats to electors.

    Democrats are having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that they lost the presidential election. Now they are threatening to kill Republican electors unless they switch allegiance and vote for Hillary Clinton when the electoral college meets on December 19.

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2016/11/desperate-democrats-turn-to-death-threats.php

    Glengarry

    November 22, 2016 at 7:02 am

  17. OT 2: In retrospect, I wonder if much of the Hillary health antics, like being unable to walk up stairs, weird uncontrollable head nodding, falling into cars, losing shoes, inability to align eyes, disappearing for days (like after the election), and so on … was due to plain, simple public drunkenness? I was inspired to this by seeing photos of Hillary’s recent appearance, where she looks like death warmed over, or a binge drinker taking a break.

    We do have Dr Feelgood’s presence at her side as a sort of counter-example, but it still fits fairly well.

    Glengarry

    November 22, 2016 at 7:30 am

  18. “you’re supposed to do is be subtly snobbish about various things”

    That’s why so many people don’t like them. Not because they’re rich but because they’re jerks.

    destructure

    November 22, 2016 at 10:51 am

  19. As far as ostentatious displays of wealth are concerned, Trump’s a piker compared to the plutocrats of yesteryear, as described in Lucius Beebe’s “The Big Spenders.” Excerpt from the foreword follows:

    “Anybody,” said Jay Gould, “can make a fortune. It takes a genius to hold onto one.”

    “A man with a million dollars can be as happy nowadays as though he were rich,” deposed Ward McAllister.

    “Money has a tendency to buy happiness,” wrote Damon Runyon.

    “Money is something to be thrown off the back platform of moving trains,” was the stated philosophy of Gene Fowler.

    Each of the foregoing expressed at least a facet of the basic thinking of all but the most benighted men and women. There are proverbs and admonitions to the contrary, to be sure. “A fool and his money are soon parted” is learned by that mythical entity, every schoolboy, as early as he can read and write. Prudence and saving were advocated in ample abundance by Benjamin Franklin. The impending rainy day is part of every American’s subconscious awareness as is attested by the hundreds of millions of dollars in savings banks; but, by and large, the American people are a spending people just as, by and large, the French people are a saving people, unless, of course, they happen to have in hand someone else’s money.

    On the basis of the existing record it is safe to assert that, in the great American credo, a rich man is the noblest handiwork of God, and the corollary of the aphorism is that how he spends his money is the measure of the rich man.

    It is the purpose of this book to explore some of the ways in which Americans and, in a few cases, foreigners financed with American money have expressed the genius required for the rewarding expenditure of substantial sums of money.

    When in the early 1920’s an Armenian named Michael Arlen who was then living in England and later became an American citizen found himself on the way to almost overnight riches on the strength of a novel called ‘The Green Hat’, he was faced with the problem of how to spend the not inconsiderable sum represented by his first royalty check. His first impulse, which he happily was able to resist, was to pay his indebtedness to his tailor, who happened to be Henry Poole & Company Limited just off Burlington Gardens. He might also have paid his back rent which was mounting or even repaid some of the loans from kind friends on which he had been subsisting while waiting for fame to crown his slightly oriental brows.

    With great strength of character he was able to restrain himself from indulging such urgings of middle-class probity and went out and spent the entire sum in hand on the biggest, flashiest Rolls-Royce touring car with a body by Ward Park, in blinding canary yellow.

    “It gave me a new dimension,” he said.

    “All I want of the world is very little,” he later explained as his basic philosophy of life. “I only want the best of everything and there is so little of that.”

    […]

    Compared to such stimulating recollections of the belle epoque of big spending, the degenerate present, despite material abundance on a scale to dwarf the dreams of a Roman proconsul, offers a sorry comparison. Never have material prosperity and emergent good fortune in such radiant dimension crowned a nation’s destinies, never have diffidence and timidity suggested their enjoyment on a scale of more debased mediocrity.

    The details of what can only be regarded, by persons of taste and imagination, as an American tragedy came over the wires from Houston not long ago when a Texas oil tycoon named James M. West at last encountered the old fellow with the scythe. It wasn’t the fact of Mr.West’s demise, a matter we must all face sooner or later, that constituted tragedy: it was the details of his life as furnished by the Associated Press.

    Mr. West left an estate of $100,000,000, take or leave a few dollars, $290,000 of it squirreled away in silver dollars in a secret cellar in his home. He also left a fleet of forty-one Cadillacs and his favorite relaxation, which was riding night patrol in squad cars with Houston policemen.

    There you have the archtypical American millionaire in the years of the nation’s greatest economic affluence: more high-priced motorcars than he could possibly use, a taste for Skid-road adventure vicariously achieved, and such a terror of the times that he couldn’t feel secure without a hoard of hard cash in the cellar. His concern for minted coinage may have been prophetic but its suggestion of insecurity is none the less explicit.

    If this were an isolated example of men of great wealth it would still be a matter for tears, but when you realize that, with only slight variations, it may be taken as typical of an entire generation of American millionaires it becomes a national catastrophe.

    It may be argued that Texas millionaires are a specially inhibited and unimaginative breed, predisposed from birth to the inanities of football, drum majorettes, and private flying machines, and that elsewhere in the land rich men rise above this level of tastelessness and conformity, but the argument, alas, is not valid. Fords, Rockefellers, Morgans, Mellons, and Vanderbilts to a man are given to public good works and private lives of the most revolting probity. Among the inheritors of great names and great fortunes in America it is difficult if not impossible to find a living man who has given a dinner party at which nude chorus girls leaped from the innards of a lamb potpie.

    The great hallmarks of wealth and character that once set rich men apart from their inferiors — affairs with stage favorites, love nests aboard oceangoing yachts, private railroad cars, racing stables, vast retinues of domestics, collections of bogus old masters, membership at Colonel Edward Bradley’s Beach Club at Palm Beach, titled sons-in-law, custom-made motorcars, cottages at Newport and mansions on Fifth Avenue, a nice taste in Madeira, and fêtes champêtres around swimming pools into which guests in evening dress precipitated themselves at frequent intervals — all are gone with the wind. And don’t talk about poverty and income taxes and the hard lot of the well-to-do. There are men in Texas who could buy and sell J. P. Morgan, Jim Hill, and Jay Gould all rolled into one, but they are poltroons to a man, scared beyond measure of having fun. Instead of fancy-dress balls of revolting dimensions at the Waldorf-Astoria they are a pushover for family foundations. Instead of scandalous associations with French actresses, busted silk hats, and champaign bottles on the lawn, they prefer to be known as “plain as an old shoe.”

    […]

    There is no moral to this recital of a few of the more lighthearted gestures of a departed generation of the millionaires except to point out that they will live in fragrant memory. There are ten times more millionaires today than there were when Morgans, Mellons, Hills, Astors, and first-generation Fords trod the earth but only the merest handful are known to the public, and there isn’t an authentic magnifico in a carload.

    […]

    Walter Lord, an accredited commentator on the rich and their tribal rituals, inclines to the belief that the years of the ortolans came to an end with the loss of the Titanic where so many of the well-to-do of the world departed under auspices of signifcant decorum and gallantry. Their curtain call from the sloping sun deck, he maintains, was the final salute of a generation that knew how to spend money splendidly both in this world and on the threshold of the next.

    In this context it would seem little short of churlish in a British politician of the time to announce that “paying twenty-two hundred dollars for a single suite for a five days’ voyage is without any qualification utterly indefensible and morally wrong.” It may be the merest casuistry to point out that, for the occupant of the suite, the trip was of longer duration than had been planned. In any event the passenger in question could have done better for himself had he wished, as did Emile Brandeis, an Omaha department store owner, who paid another $4350 for a private promenade deck.

    Nowhere, it has been remarked, is moderation so debilitating and destructive of character as in the expenditure of money. The decision to spend excessively on the caprices of their choice is what lent the stature of greatness to most of the people who will be encountered in this book. It was they who validated the lost art of being rich.

    Lucius Beebe
    1966
    Virginia City

    Alex

    November 22, 2016 at 12:42 pm

  20. The rich were much better people when they had ostentatious displays of wealth. The stuff that money buys makes life both easy and comfortable and it sufficiently signals status without a lot of effort. Plus, it’s relatable because who would not want to live it up? It also allows you to be a nice person and thus be uncharacteristically decent.

    But subtle snobbery about hipster tastes is a lot of effort and it isn’t any better than what Trump is doing.

    map

    November 22, 2016 at 1:28 pm

  21. Either Lion or a commenter made a similar point on this blog earlier in the election season: Donald Trump has lived his life the way proles imagine they’d live if they won the Powerball.

    Hermes

    November 22, 2016 at 5:52 pm


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