Monday, September 10, 2007

Keep America Rolling, Suckers!

As the gap between rich and poor in the U.S. drifts closer to Third World proportions with each passing year, at least American plebeians can do their part to uphold the virtues of extravagance by working harder for not much more money, buying more crap and watching more rich people on TV.

Quoth Heather Haverilesky in today’s Salon:

It's been obvious for years that Veblen's standard of pecuniary decency -- the minimum amount of conspicuous consumption one must maintain to be considered acceptable -- keeps inching higher and higher in this country, until Americans consider themselves struggling unless they're taking luxury spa vacations or redecorating that unbearably tacky half-bath. These notions aren't formed out of thin air, though. As a scan across the dial this fall makes clear, the TV doesn't just celebrate the supreme excitement and importance of money, it presents a lavish lifestyle as the norm, while casting average Americans as its money-grubbing guinea pigs, poised to stab each other in the back in the pursuit of the material wealth it taught them to covet in the first place.

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