quiddities and agonies of the ruling class - a rolling new york times thread

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not photoshop

Tracer Hand, Thursday, 14 May 2009 22:55 (twelve years ago) link

Noticed that earlier today. My heart was not immediately bent.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 14 May 2009 22:55 (twelve years ago) link

is this thread sponsored by gawker

s1ocki, Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:01 (twelve years ago) link

The only problem was money. Having separated from my wife of 21 years, who had physical custody of our sons, I was handing over $4,000 a month in alimony and child-support payments. That left me with take-home pay of $2,777, barely enough to make ends meet in a one-bedroom rental apartment. Patty had yet to even look for a job.

Found it very hard to read past this paragraph for the reason of my head being filled with visions of these two idiots burning in an eternal lake of fire.

naturally unfunny, though mechanically sound (Pancakes Hackman), Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:01 (twelve years ago) link

the best part of that photo is the kid on dog in the background

ultra-generic sub-noize persona (Matt P), Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:04 (twelve years ago) link

little orphan annie back there

ultra-generic sub-noize persona (Matt P), Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:05 (twelve years ago) link

^yea srsly i didnt even notice that at first

johnny crunch, Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:05 (twelve years ago) link

guys do you realize what this means? the economic crisis is even affecting rich people! this means it is really newsworthy!! it's like when straight people started getting hiv!!!

Tracer Hand, Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:35 (twelve years ago) link

what's a quiddity?

Philip Nunez, Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:36 (twelve years ago) link

think of the barefoot girls laying on dogs on the porches of brick homes in silver spring, md. x-post

ultra-generic sub-noize persona (Matt P), Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:36 (twelve years ago) link

“I feel as if I am finally at home,” she exclaimed as soon as we moved into the house. She could settle down and do the things she had always been best at: making a new home, nurturing her children and loving me.

Tracer Hand, Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:38 (twelve years ago) link

But eventually:

The frosted-crystal shade on a beloved Italian floor lamp was cracked. The dog had gnawed the leg on her Biedermeier chair.

Tracer Hand, Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:44 (twelve years ago) link

The Khaki Class

man, i love collages (J0rdan S.), Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:44 (twelve years ago) link

Thread of ;_;

Dom P's Rusty Nuts (Noodle Vague), Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:46 (twelve years ago) link

I can't really join in on any rich-people schadenfreude here, because it sounds to me like this guy is not of some far-distant social class, and the $4k alimony/child-support + take-home of $2.75k equation actually does sound pretty rough to me -- what's weird about it is to read the contention that this felt like a natural situation to wind up falling into; I suppose at that age and social situation it might, but of the many people I know who take home around that much money a month, I can surely tell you that not that many of them expect homes on it, and I'm not even just talking about the ones in New York.

nabisco, Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:52 (twelve years ago) link

I mean, judging by that equation we might estimate an income in the general neighborhood of $100k a year, which is certainly pleasant but not some sort of distant class of wealth and privilege whose travails I might comfortably laugh at.

nabisco, Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:54 (twelve years ago) link

On one hand -- ugh, fuck this guy.

On the other hand, I have to give him credit for a little reality check. I just paid off the last of my credit card debt and I have a fixed rate mortgage, so I need to quit waking up at 4 a.m. and worrying about money.

On the 3rd hand, nice work of him to pull his story together and sell it to W.W. Norton.

resistance is feudal (WmC), Thursday, 14 May 2009 23:56 (twelve years ago) link

you've got three hands? surely you can swing a book deal out of that.

macaulay culkin's bukkake shocker (bug), Friday, 15 May 2009 00:04 (twelve years ago) link

it's true, nabisco - he never really was that rich, especially by the standards of the new york times - but he sure lives and writes like he is. which is of course where the trouble started. getting a monthly keelhaul from the ex didn't help, either - i wonder if he writes about that in his book? - but i think this man's most basic problem was imagining that a take-home of $2500 monthly was enough to buy a half-mil pile. it's enough to make a casual reader think that the financial crisis really is a result of damn fools like him. in any case, this thread isn't for schadenfreude per se - but don't let that stop you - it's a record of what kinds of voices the new york times tends to lean on.

Tracer Hand, Friday, 15 May 2009 00:44 (twelve years ago) link

i'm struck by his weaselly evasion of responsibility - despite the mea culpa undertones, he makes his wonderful new lady friend sound like a spendthrift bitch and says that his total lack of financial awareness was a symptom of the "same infection" that brought low the titans of industry. fat chance, ed.

Tracer Hand, Friday, 15 May 2009 00:47 (twelve years ago) link

i think this man's most basic problem was imagining that a take-home of $2500 monthly was enough to buy a half-mil pile

not enough OTM in the world for this

butt-rock miyagi (rogermexico.), Friday, 15 May 2009 01:22 (twelve years ago) link

loooool @ tracer hand: voice of the underclass

(Palm) springs sprungs (Lamp), Friday, 15 May 2009 01:26 (twelve years ago) link

I had assumed we would start by renting a house or an apartment, but it quickly became clear that it was almost easier to borrow a half-million dollars and buy something.

languid samuel l. jackson (jim), Friday, 15 May 2009 01:28 (twelve years ago) link

n.e.way: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/14/garden/14aaron.html

ny times does seem to have a thing for pictures of the sprawled daughters of the leisure class in front of their itlianate mansions

(Palm) springs sprungs (Lamp), Friday, 15 May 2009 01:29 (twelve years ago) link

sorry Lamp i missed the part where you had a point

Tracer Hand, Friday, 15 May 2009 09:16 (twelve years ago) link

my takeaway from this article is that our "elite" journos are often just as ignorant and greedy as the rest of us humps -- not to mention that i feel a bit smug seeing how shitty the media's coverage of the whole real estate/subprime mess was.

Pull Slinky and Make Me Fart (Eisbaer), Friday, 15 May 2009 14:40 (twelve years ago) link

The Khaki Class

lol South

"the whale saw her" (gabbneb), Friday, 15 May 2009 14:45 (twelve years ago) link

i don't know crap about this guy, nor do i care, BUT

when i was 22 i dated this very cute but not-very-smart guy. it was long distance, so we wrote a lot of letters (this was in the lol 90s). in one letter he told me that being with me made him feel "quidity". i smugly laughed a little because i figured that he meant "tranquility" and wow was this guy adorable for not being able to use a dictionary. then i looked up the word "quidity" and realized that it was real (although not what he meant, i am 100% sure)

this thread is the first time i have ever actually seen anyone use this word. the end.

figgy pudding (La Lechera), Friday, 15 May 2009 14:46 (twelve years ago) link

maybe he was like "wow she thinks my made-up word means something.. what a dim-bulb"

Tracer Hand, Friday, 15 May 2009 15:08 (twelve years ago) link

what do you think he actually meant?

Tracer Hand, Friday, 15 May 2009 15:09 (twelve years ago) link

pretty sure he meant tranquility, like comfort (i remember this from context, but really this was a long time ago and i can't remember much about the situation aside from this strange misused word)

figgy pudding (La Lechera), Friday, 15 May 2009 15:14 (twelve years ago) link

Megan McArdle on the piece. Judge for yourself.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 15 May 2009 16:19 (twelve years ago) link

Actually I kind of like her points?

But not someone who should be dead anyway (Laurel), Friday, 15 May 2009 16:28 (twelve years ago) link

ya i mean... not really sure why this piece is as contempt-worthy as some are making it out to be. it's kind of brutally depressing.

s1ocki, Friday, 15 May 2009 16:29 (twelve years ago) link

It is in a 'there-but-for' sense for sure. Not that I was ever going to try and be an economics reporter for the NY Times, but as time has passed I'm beginning to think the soundest piece of advice I've ever received in regard to writing was something J. D. Considine told me years ago -- 1993 or so -- in response to a random e-mail or two I sent him. He pretty much said, "Freelancing and journalism is very hard work and you should only pursue it on a full-time basis if you are willing to stick to that level." I'm honestly glad I heeded that and I think what you see in both pieces, regardless of whatever else feeds into their respective situations, reflects that.

At the same time, I'm trying to put my finger on what still jars about McArdle's response and it seems to be this sense of keeping up with the Joneses as paramount driving factor/potential excuse. At what point is leisure travelling to Europe, for instance, a 'minimum necessity' -- and I speak as one who's been there a number of times now. Still, I realize it's a sliding scale, says the person who has participated in a CSA thing with a local farmer for some years now.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 15 May 2009 16:37 (twelve years ago) link

Literal translation: quiddity = whatness

anatol_merklich, Friday, 15 May 2009 16:43 (twelve years ago) link

Ned, I read her response as being more about the foolhardiness of ever thinking ANY of those things are necessities. She seems to be (gently) chiding that whole tendency?

But not someone who should be dead anyway (Laurel), Friday, 15 May 2009 16:50 (twelve years ago) link

Yah... she's just sayin' that you hang with people for whom this is true, you wake up with fleas

butt-rock miyagi (rogermexico.), Friday, 15 May 2009 17:17 (twelve years ago) link

I think maybe something to add to McArdle's response is that we have this general cultural tendency to view attention as somehow related to money, a connection that really falls apart when it comes to writers of all sorts -- it's very easy to withhold sympathy from people writing about their woes in public, as if they're coming from a position of privilege or just courting attention, but in plenty of cases they don't have much concrete privilege and writing about their experiences is just, you know, work.

he never really was that rich, especially by the standards of the new york times - but he sure lives and writes like he is. which is of course where the trouble started. getting a monthly keelhaul from the ex didn't help, either - i wonder if he writes about that in his book? - but i think this man's most basic problem was imagining that a take-home of $2500 monthly was enough to buy a half-mil pile.

Yeah, exactly -- although if I had to summarize a problem here it would basically be that a middle-aged family-man homeowner with a decent salary expected to continue living like a middle-aged family-man homeowner with a decent salary, even after a divorce that meant the bulk of his income was going to support a family home occupied by other people. This is an unrealistic and dumb expectation to seriously act on -- you'd think that $4k would be a good monthly reminder that situations done changed -- but I can totally have sympathy for the situation itself; that would suck. It would be painful to have to support the family home you used to live in and have to support yourself and your new family on a fraction of what you're earning.

nabisco, Friday, 15 May 2009 17:47 (twelve years ago) link

The other thing is that -- while he can't and doesn't come out and say this directly -- his one list of charges makes me suspect a bunch of money was getting borrowed to maintain a certain lifestyle for the kids

nabisco, Friday, 15 May 2009 18:00 (twelve years ago) link

I thought he said that very directly just by listing all those expenses! (I note though that he does seem to say even more directly that his wife did that too.)

Ned Raggett, Friday, 15 May 2009 18:02 (twelve years ago) link

Haha yeah, I guess the unsayable "direct" thing I had in mind was like "these KIDS were bankrupting us (that's right, Alex, I'm talking about you)"

I was going to jump past boggling at the beach house rental and wonder about the $700 at J. Crew, but I guess if you needed, like, one good suit and some decent sweaters for Christmas presents ... the world really does hold you to your socio-economic status, doesn't it -- even beyond nobody wanting to be the guy who gets divorced and suddenly has to start showing up to work in cheap suits, it'd be tough to be the guy making $100k who's like "I got you a candy bar for Christmas!"

nabisco, Friday, 15 May 2009 18:22 (twelve years ago) link

yeah the erm narrative here is anyways at least partly "but banking professionals who should be my Friends and Advisors assured us it would be alright!"?

However fishy such blanket blame is in general, I'm not sure it's entirely misplaced re how things rolled out this cycle. At one point around 2006, I momentarily had a crazy amount of money in my account due to family property reorg stuff, and was by phone promptly invited to an "advisement meeting" with a dude at my bank, who tried to convince me he had the correct %ages I should place my assets in (all mediated by said bank, obv). (I still was in net debt though!) I was all very cynical and noncommittal, which is not due to my deep insight or anything, just because my current boss worked in a bank in the early 00s and has spilled much shit on how those outfits operate(d?). (My fave morsel: the guys who construct the deals don't actually inform the salespeople abt all potential downsides and builtin fees, as this may hurt their sales!)

I don't think this guy deserves much point-and-laugh, btw, though it is obv somewhat funny he writes on economics.

anatol_merklich, Friday, 15 May 2009 18:55 (twelve years ago) link

I don't know that that's a big surface narrative, given the "I wasn't duped" and the bit about how a banking professional's refinancing maneuvers actually worked to carve down some debt

nabisco, Friday, 15 May 2009 19:00 (twelve years ago) link

it's about even someone who should have known better made some really dumb mistakes, which is always a story worth telling imo

s1ocki, Friday, 15 May 2009 19:11 (twelve years ago) link

Literal translation: quiddity = whatness

A weird thing about "quiddity" is that the first definition, "essence", seems to be the opposite of the second definition, "a trifling point". So it can either refer to the essence of something or a minor, trifling detail? Confusing. I have a feeling that it's a word that's rarely used correctly.

o. nate, Friday, 15 May 2009 19:13 (twelve years ago) link

my point is that there are hundreds of thousands of people with stories just like this who don't write for the new york times and have six-figure salaries who are perhaps just a leeetle more representative of the mortgage fallout going on right now - my pointing and laughing is at the editors, not this poor schmuck

Tracer Hand, Friday, 15 May 2009 19:17 (twelve years ago) link

well, they wanted a personal, first-perosn story, so going with a new york times writer... kinda makes sense, no?

s1ocki, Friday, 15 May 2009 19:19 (twelve years ago) link

he will die at some point

cool app (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Friday, 15 May 2009 19:22 (twelve years ago) link

I can understand buying one (1) unnecessarily expensive watch

i sure definitly can't! it's 2021 who the fuck needs an expensive time piece?

(•̪●) (carne asada), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:06 (two months ago) link

They’re neat. NB I don’t mean $30,000 I mean like $1,000

Canon in Deez (silby), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:08 (two months ago) link

i’m buying a modded seiko for like £110 which feels insanely decadent to me

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:11 (two months ago) link

lol people really do live in different worlds

(•̪●) (carne asada), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:11 (two months ago) link

i'm into weird seiko stuff too

maf you one two (maffew12), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:12 (two months ago) link

I thought about getting a watch when I was teaching and didn't want to look at my phone during class (no clocks in the classroom), but I'm not sure I could deal with the wrist weight now

rob, Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:13 (two months ago) link

uh yeah, expensive for me is $250

John Cooper of Christian rock band Skillet (map), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:15 (two months ago) link

$20 Casio MQ24 love em

maf you one two (maffew12), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:17 (two months ago) link

as i mature into my years of extravagance, reaching the echelons of the 50-60k / year salary enjoyed by late career archivists in the great state of utah, i will have to be actively discouraged from buying tacky dad stuff like a $250 watch.

John Cooper of Christian rock band Skillet (map), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:17 (two months ago) link

I don't have a $1000 watch by the way I have a $35 Timex and a $150 Swatch automatic watch neither of which I've worn in like a year because time no longer exists

Canon in Deez (silby), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:17 (two months ago) link

$35 timex are grebt honestly

John Cooper of Christian rock band Skillet (map), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:18 (two months ago) link

well there's a lot to be said for putting your mouse on top of them so you don't go inactive on the work messenger/monitor

maf you one two (maffew12), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:18 (two months ago) link

they are! You can get $6 NATO straps for them and change it up xp

Canon in Deez (silby), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:19 (two months ago) link

i really just need a chrono for running. yep, custom straps are the way to go.

John Cooper of Christian rock band Skillet (map), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:19 (two months ago) link

if your watch can't spell boobless upside-down, i dont want to know about it

G.A.G.S. (Gophers Against Getting Stuffed) (forksclovetofu), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:20 (two months ago) link

just imagine the horrible human cost of implementing a wealth tax on these psychos. think of all the mom-and-pop auction house owners who would still be able to conduct business as usual, but might not be able to buy thousand-dollar watches weekly to let off a little steam. plus there's all the huddled masses of Uncut Gems characters yearning to score big on the secondary market. our country is headed off a cliff fast.

this honking's on a bobo (Doctor Casino), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:30 (two months ago) link

I've wanted a watch for years, but hate anything on my wrist. In fact, I hate all jewelry— we don't even wear wedding rings.

it's like edging for your mind (the table is the table), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:32 (two months ago) link

hate anything on my wrist. In fact, I hate all jewelry

seriously, same here! Why idk, but it really bugs me.

sarahell, Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:36 (two months ago) link

I spent $1000 on a pocket computer with a clock in it that also handles my email and phone calls. Fuck a watch.

but also fuck you (unperson), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:41 (two months ago) link

yeah but it doesn't have any tiny gears or springs!

Canon in Deez (silby), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:41 (two months ago) link

yesterday's advanced technology is today's quaint affectation

Canon in Deez (silby), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:41 (two months ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=le2eB2xtvBQ

NO SPRINGS!!

this honking's on a bobo (Doctor Casino), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:44 (two months ago) link

I like the *idea* of a watch, a beautiful one-of-a-kind timepiece. In practice, no fucking way.

it's like edging for your mind (the table is the table), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:45 (two months ago) link

in the pre-cell phone days, I briefly had a pocketwatch attached to my chain wallet. At the time, I was doing a bunch of manual labor and it got banged against some industrial shelving and cracked.

sarahell, Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:52 (two months ago) link

I spent $1000 on a pocket computer with a clock in it that also handles my email and phone calls. Fuck a watch.

― but also fuck you (unperson), Tuesday, March 23, 2021 10:41 AM (eleven minutes ago)

HOLD UP ... YOU SPENT $1000 ON A PHONE??? ...

sarahell, Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:54 (two months ago) link

tbh probably 85% of my engagement with my space age supercomputer $600 phone is either checking the time, listening to the radio, looking at maps of my own city or sending "electrical mail". could ditch the phone and replace it with a $5 radio, a $30 road atlas, a few books of stamps, and a $250 watch and still have a few hundred bucks left over

nobody like my rap (One Eye Open), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:58 (two months ago) link

i use my awesome $200 computer phone to send messages to other people's phones, talk to them in real time, answer technical questions of random strangers, like things, and take screenshots of funny things on the internet

sarahell, Tuesday, 23 March 2021 18:04 (two months ago) link

HOLD UP ... YOU SPENT $1000 ON A PHONE??? ...

Almost, yeah. Bought an iPhone XS for myself and an iPhone 11 for my wife, last summer. We were paying for them bit by bit with the phone bill for 6-7 months, but some money fell from the sky last month so I paid 'em both off in full.

but also fuck you (unperson), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 18:07 (two months ago) link

1k+ for the top of the line iphone w/all bells and whistles and case and warranty and whatnot has been apple's business model for years.

G.A.G.S. (Gophers Against Getting Stuffed) (forksclovetofu), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 18:11 (two months ago) link

yes, but that's a business model for assholes and people who get their jobs to pay for their phones. ... It's like buying a new car vs. a used car with like 10k miles.

sarahell, Tuesday, 23 March 2021 18:17 (two months ago) link

n.b. I have done fairly well as an owner of shares of Apple stock

sarahell, Tuesday, 23 March 2021 18:18 (two months ago) link

I'm a freelance journalist. A smartphone is a business expense.

but also fuck you (unperson), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 18:19 (two months ago) link

yeah, but it's still $1000 ... idk dude, you are generally posting about being relatively low-income and the need to be frugal. If the $1k phone is your special treat, then I can respect that.

sarahell, Tuesday, 23 March 2021 18:22 (two months ago) link

I mean, my laptop is from 2013, my wife's desktop computer is from 2011, our car is from 2009, so...I guess it kind of is, yeah.

but also fuck you (unperson), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 18:29 (two months ago) link

my last phone lasted for five years; my attitude is buy top of the line and then amortize. (nb, the phone i bought last week was $650 all in i think and it better last me until the next republican president)

G.A.G.S. (Gophers Against Getting Stuffed) (forksclovetofu), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 18:30 (two months ago) link

phones aren't amortized, they are depreciated. Amortization is for intangibles.

sarahell, Tuesday, 23 March 2021 18:31 (two months ago) link

i'm feeling pretty intangible myself these days

G.A.G.S. (Gophers Against Getting Stuffed) (forksclovetofu), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 18:50 (two months ago) link

(i meant amortize the capital cost over the usage time tbh but point taken)

G.A.G.S. (Gophers Against Getting Stuffed) (forksclovetofu), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 18:51 (two months ago) link

i only get android phones that are a year or two old when i get a new phone because top of the line androids and iphones are just too expensive for me. and phones aren't get any more durable as the years pass afaict

《Myst1kOblivi0n》 (jim in vancouver), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 18:54 (two months ago) link

xp - yes, I know what you meant, but the term for that re a phone would be depreciation. If you were talking about points on a mortgage loan, that would be amortization.

sarahell, Tuesday, 23 March 2021 18:59 (two months ago) link

NERD!

Canon in Deez (silby), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 19:22 (two months ago) link

the number of times i check the time i gotta say it’s nice not to fish into my pocket. small but big, if you know what i mean. a thousand dollar device not necessary for this operation

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 19:26 (two months ago) link

lol. I haver had my Android phone since November of 2017. Only thing I've noticed is that my pictures aren't as sharp as they used to be. Oh well.

it's like edging for your mind (the table is the table), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 19:28 (two months ago) link

if I can't correct the misuse of the term amortization in the quid/ag NYT thread ...?

sarahell, Tuesday, 23 March 2021 19:39 (two months ago) link

Amortize deez

Canon in Deez (silby), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 19:50 (two months ago) link

(I haven’t had lunch yet)

Canon in Deez (silby), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 19:50 (two months ago) link

That's actually an interesting question -- would you amortize deez in the sense that it could be perceived as an entitlement, which would be intangible, or would deez, as a physical thing, be something that would be depreciated, like a breeder horse or cow?

sarahell, Tuesday, 23 March 2021 20:02 (two months ago) link

I don't think it would qualify for depletion like you would take for mineral deposits or timber ... even though, biologically, deez do deplete over time

sarahell, Tuesday, 23 March 2021 20:03 (two months ago) link

deez are appreciated

mookieproof, Tuesday, 23 March 2021 20:18 (two months ago) link

table: try putting scotch tape over your lens. For real.

too much agonizing in here. let's talk tactics.

maf you one two (maffew12), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 22:06 (two months ago) link


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