Saturday, April 11, 2009

Barack Might See A Glimmer, But All These Idiots See Is Glamour; Spare Me--Time For A Smackdown

Time for another round of Smackdowns from the Dept. of Nance. I'm sure all of you Loyal Readers recall that, should the Dept. ever become a real government entity, one of the duties I am fully ready to discharge with all alacrity would be to hand out Smackdowns for Rampant Stupidity that I see roaming free among the residents of our fine Country.

This latest Series O' Smackdowns was prompted by an article I read in my Mighty Cleveland Plain Dealer this morning before tackling the crossword puzzle (avec le stylo, naturellement!). At the risk of upsetting anyone, allow me to first state that it involves discussion of The Economy, which, for those of you just tuning in, is having a Bit Of Difficulty At Present. In that It Sucks.

Okay. So.

Here is the headline, which is just irritating enough that I had to put my coffee down in order to be certain that it did, indeed, say what I thought it said: Some Are Spending Less For The Fun Of It.

I immediately had to read this article. In a state of highest dudgeon. Because I live in Ohio, a state which was in Recession long before it was declared that the country was in one, and in a metropolitan area where our tax base was built on steel, shipbuilding, manufacturing, and automobiles. So you tell me. (Michigan, I feel your pain. You know?)

In this article, Becky Martin, age 52 (and old enough to know better) has gleefully cut up 10 credit cards, begun borrowing library movies rather than renting them, and put in a garden. "It's fabulous!" says this real estate investor and wife of a plastic surgeon, whose home sits on the 12th hole of a Cincinnati country club. "I'm enjoying this!" she says, even though her family is "comfortable."

Oh, Becky. Becky, Becky, Becky. Come over here, Becky. I have something for you that's also quite fabulous. It will give you a brand new perspective on Life In General. It's called The Reality Tour, and there are no golf courses at all. At the end of it, there is a Little Surprise.

The article goes on to chat about Cooper Marcus, age 36, of San Francisco, who has gleefully cancelled the family Netflix, his premium cable package, and his wine club membership, too, all in his quest to be part of The New Frugal For Fun Movement. He even uses an app on his iPhone to find cheap gas! Oh, that Cooper! He just laughs it all off, saying, "I'm frugal and loving it!" Imagine, having to go and get your wine yourself! Now that's cutting back!

Hey, Cooper? That iPhone? How much are you paying for that, per month? Wanna feel even more frugal? Here's a phone for you! And a little something extra.

I don't know about all of you, but I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

Like the auto executives who showed up, palms upturned and tin cups at the ready, on Capitol Hill after alighting from their private jets, ready to beg for a bailout, these pseudo-skinflints Just Don't Get It. Whereas they're cutting back on fancy coffees and manis and pedis, some families are cutting back on college and a car and medicines and rent. It's not a little contest and it's not a hobby. It's survival.

Some people, the writer of the article included, need to Get Out More. The tint on those limo windows must be awfully dark, or those lenses awfully rosy. Either way, get in line! I'm all warmed up.


  1. Did they list Cooper Marcus' address? If so, I'm ready to do some ass kicking.

  2. My Lil Sis lives in San Fran, and those Yuppie Scum really think cancelling the NetFlix is a hardship. I'm surprised he cancelled the wine club membership, too. BTW, don't forget Sx3 tomorrow...this seasonal salute even features a Real Prize!

  3. Yeah, the hardships and the fun aspect ... such crap. So many people are not having any "fun" at all. I daresay back in the day, no worthy reporter or news service would have even considered such fodder, but now what's news? Often it's crap like this just to stir everyone up, to get readers and commenters.

    You also have the likes of Suze Orman telling everyone to try to "live on half" because you don't know what's coming. While there's truth to that last part (and I do think all of us would do better if we got back to more basics), we need these folks with the excess income to keep buying. That realtor wife of the plastic surgeon needs to hire a gardener and pay him well ... that would be one more person employed who could spend money and contribute to the economic recovery.


  4. Shirley--I'm just outraged and resentful that the "haves" see what they're doing as a hobby and fun when the rest of the country are doing it as a survival mechanism. It's why there is a new wave of what the media are calling Populist Rage. I was at first bemused and then downright furious when the republicans started touting themselves as the Party Of The People (a la Joe The Plumber and all that bullshit)because I knew it was crap. This excerpted piece really puts it into crystalline perspective.

    FSK--Oh, you're welcome!

    MelissaB.--I'm assuming that you are not calling your little sister "yuppie scum"... ;-)

    Mikey--I'm sure there are lots of Coopers out there. And, sadly, everywhere. After all, Becky was from Cincinnati. Sigh.

  5. Nance--I get it. These people are clueless about what sacrifice means. The folks who are cutting costs for the novelty take the focus off of many who are truly suffering. Those of us who are facing times and making decisions we never expected to make should be outraged by such folks. Thanks for sharing that article. The "takeaway" message was excellent. So many people will just hear the Republican talk and believe it on face value.

    On a brighter note, I'm loving the sidebar bunnies of late. Today's Sunday Morning show ended with a couple minutes of bunnies. It was great.


  6. I saw the same article in the NYT and felt the same way. Come on! Wish we could all be having such fun. If they really want to relish their cutting back make their "hurting" do some good, let them find a family who is REALLY on the edge and help them out. Think of how much fun they'd have. (Good Lord...!)

  7. RD--Welcome to the Dept. and thanks for commenting. What a wonderful idea you have: why don't these dogooders really embrace this newfound altruism and donate money to a foodbank or sponsor a family in need. Reminds me of the Right-to-lifers who would rather hassle women at an abortion clinic than offer to babysit the children of poor moms that need childcare for the kids who are already here.

    Shirley--Oh, I know YOU get it. I'm so tired of the people who don't and the media giving them a forum. Like CEOs who bitch and complain about how they "earned their money." I'm sure that many of them actually work, but where is the parity? Are they actually saying that what THEY do is far more valuable and difficult than what I do? Or what an oncologist does? I realize that it's an almost impossible call to make, but let's get real: if your company's stock has fallen by more than 80% under your leadership or you've taken a bailout, I've gotta think that you're not really worth a few mil at this juncture.

  8. Regarding the pay for CEOs in your comment, that's a pet peeve of mine. NO ONE is worth as much as these guys make, whether they're successful or not. NO ONE. That they make that much while their employees struggle is obscene. Ever heard of a rich autoworker? I mean, the guy in the factory who might be furloughed at any time? No? Me neither.

    Regarding the article, I'm kind of glad that people are spending less, that there is some awareness that the conspicuous consumption of the last 20 years was just too much, and we can ALL do with less. At the very same time, I agree with GFE that pulling too much out of the economy denies hard working people of jobs to work hard at, thus exacerbating the problem. The most annoying thing about the article, to me, though, isn't that they're cutting back, but that they're being obnoxious asshats about it.

  9. j.@jj.--I agree with all of your cogent comments, with the exception that they're not just being obnoxious asses, they're treating it like a lark. And the press is, too. Certainly, the conspicuous consumption was ridiculous--and I remember the articles about little kids insisting upon designer clothes (thank you media!)--but the Beckys and Coopers of the world didn't have to be the focus. Why aren't "people like us" ever interviewed? So that "we" could say something far less objectionable and far more intelligent and sensible, thus showing the country that it hasn't been taken over by idiots and morons.

  10. Ortizzle2:51 PM

    I think Becky needs to give up manicures. Then maybe the real pain of the recession would sink in. Better yet, perhaps she should apply for a job at McDonald's (just for the fun of it), and get turned down because she's too dim-witted to work the cash register. (I'm still chuckling at your suggestion for a basic phone for Cooper.)

  11. ORTIZZLE!! You are back! Oh, how we've missed you. I have a phone much like the one I've suggested for Cooper. I HEART IT. As I tell everyone--IT'S. A. PHONE. If I want to take a picture--which I never, ever do--I will use a CAMERA. If I want to listen to music--which I also never, ever do--I will use a RADIO or my IPOD SHUFFLE THINGY (once I find it). If I want to send someone a message--which I often do--I WILL USE MY COMPUTER EMAIL PROGRAM. But when I want to talk to a person--which is what a fucking phone is FOR--I will USE. MY. FUCKING. PHONE.

    PERIOD. okay then. yikes.

    no wonder you never come here anymore. LOL LOL LOL LOL

  12. Nance, go see this bunny pic. I thought of you when I saw it. (sidebar to the left:

    Sorry, but all bunny pics make me think of you. I love the teacup bunnies you have there. :)

  13. This is a public service message that everyone should hear. Thanks for saying it!

  14. al--just doing My Job. LOL.

    j.@jj--even THAT bunny pic!? hee hee. i'm just flattered that you think of me. thank you.

  15. Dear Becky, What happens when people give up plastic surgery?

    Yeah, this makes me nauseous too. Since the great Crack House debacle, life at Chez V has changed dramatically, BUT we do have steady income. In the last two months, I have been trying to overcome the overwhelming Fear Factor in this economy and loosen my purse strings a bit, in part to make sure some of the small downtown businesses I love survive and the people that work there have some breathing space too.

  16. The sheer thought of how much smacking down needs to be done exhausts me. Thanks for letting us help you. No one could do it alone! My kids were shocked to learn that they have a birthday budget and a clothing budget. Somehow we had hoodwinked them into thinking they got what they wanted, but it took much parental conspiracy to create this illusion. Groceries are through the roof. And for the first time in history, our local food bank is nearly empty and the town is truly begging for donations. People are making decisions between heat and food and prescriptions and food, and even with insurance the copays keep going up and up.


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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