Occasional (biased) New York Times reporter Ginia Bellafante lamented at the lack of traction gained by recent cultural portrayals of the greed of the "moneyed class," in her Sunday "Big City" column "Rich as the Devil, But No Gordon Gekko." The text box: "Recent pop culture efforts to render the moneyed class in all its moral vacuity have gained little traction." Yes, that same morally vacuous moneyed class that the Times avidly caters to. Bellafante wrote of the new TV show 666 Park Avenue:
The show stands as the latest in a series of pop cultural products created in the years of the downturn to render the world of moneyed New York in all of its aesthetically tantalizing moral vacuity -- big, art-filled apartments, avaricious judgments. But it is arguably indicative of how temperate the ostensible class wars have actually been that few of these efforts have gained any real traction or approached the status of cultural obligation.
Bellafante wondered where the leftist backlash was:
“Stop Beating Up the Rich,” reads the title of an article in the current issue of Fortune magazine. But one is compelled to ask: Is anyone throwing punches? The recent one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street served only to remind us how little has really changed.
This summer, a survey from GlobeScan, a research company that works for corporations and nonprofit organizations, revealed that 58 percent of Americans agreed with the statement “The rich deserved their wealth.” By comparison, the international study revealed that just 45 percent of Britons and 31 percent of the French felt that way.
And economic disparity, especially in New York, is hardly diminishing. Last week, census numbers showed that the median income for the lowest fifth of New Yorkers was $8,844, down $463 from 2010. For the highest, it was $223,285, up $1,919. The wealthiest fifth of Manhattanites made more than 40 times as much as what the lowest fifth reported, a gap that widened over the previous year. Isn’t the devil in the differentials?
Yet the Times itself, despite its liberal reporting in support of Occupy Wall Street, is quite comfortable pandering to its rich liberal readership, morally vacuous or not. Ezra Dyer reviewed the 2012 Ferrari FF car under the June 3 headline, "Family Travel at the $300,000 Price Point." The lead: "Imagine you are heading to your ski house in Aspen with a couple of friends and a weekend’s worth of luggage. The forecast calls for snow. Do you grab the keys to your practical family vehicle or climb into your Ferrari?" Paging Karl Marx!
Jennifer Kingson tackled the pressing middle-class issue of luxury dog houses on June 28: "Many of them have carpeting, heating and air-conditioning, indoor and outdoor lighting, elaborate music and entertainment systems. Some are even eco-friendly, with solar panels or planted green roofs. In fact, the only superfluous accessory in the modern doghouse may be the dog."