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December 13, 2006

The Rich v. The Super-Rich

Remember when folks were wondering if the next front in the class war would be between the rich and the super-rich? Who knew the first shot would be fired on The View?

December 13, 2006 | Permalink

Comments

I hope most people have more money than the president of Czekoslovakia, since he hasn't existed since 1992.

Posted by: SP | Dec 13, 2006 3:52:08 PM

Oy - Honestly that show gets nuttier and nuttier with each passing day. :) I think the sociologically interesting thing is that it captures the protestations of differentiation among well-off people ("I'm not rich," "My friends aren't all rich," "we like to go to the mall, too"). I think there's some distinct embarrassment around being wealthy (particularly, for want of a better descriptor, among lefty creative types), and what it means. I also think the rich vs. super-rich thing is a bit overrated and overstated; yes, some highly conspicuous consumption is appalling these days, but as Barbara points out to Rosie, some of this distinction making is ludicrous, when everyone in question is doing very very well.

Posted by: weboy | Dec 13, 2006 4:42:59 PM

That was irritating.

Posted by: Stephen | Dec 13, 2006 4:47:48 PM

Hilarious. I especially loved Barbara's puckered look when Rosie started talking about her paintings and such. It's like, how dare you tell these people that I don't live an ordinary life. I remember Bob Novak being similarly called out for being, you know, a rather rich man who doesn't exactly stand shoulder to shoulder with ditch diggers.

Posted by: Steve | Dec 13, 2006 5:26:35 PM

That's just wonderful, especially since Rosie - being merely rich, and nouveau-riche at that - doesn't have the, er, discretion to know that these are things that simply aren't talked about, dahlink. It's a cultural distinction, too, not just a difference in how many zeroes are on the bank account.

Posted by: jkd | Dec 13, 2006 7:44:28 PM

It reminds me of what Chris Rock said: Shaquille O'Neal is rich. The guy who signs Shaq's pay check is wealthy.

Posted by: Todd | Dec 13, 2006 8:18:02 PM

What a slag rosie odonnel is.

Kind of like her bodyguards can have guns, but the regular folks shouldn't have em. And she can make fun of other races, but other white people aren't sophisticated enough to be able to make fun without hating. Her rich freinds aren't like the bad rich people.

What a disgusting slob.

Reminds you of those rich Dems who attack other rich people for being rich. Well, rosie is a rich Dem. But I was thinking of people like Kerry.

Posted by: Captain Toke | Dec 13, 2006 8:37:19 PM

Shorter Toke: "I got nuthin'." What a sad little person you are.

It's like, how dare you tell these people that I don't live an ordinary life.

I note the profile of Lou Dobbs in the New Yorker, which mentions in passing that this self-proclaimed champion of the Mexican-haterlittle guy lives on a rather large horse farm and dines out on the 'fifty-six dollar Dover Sole' at the Four Seasons' Grill Room.

The obvious response to dull Tokes who trot out the 'hate the rich' line is this: why do the ultra-rich of the Bawa Wawa persuasion -- those with wealth and influence -- get so uptight when it's pointed out? You'd think they'd be proud of themselves, because in America, your bank balance is supposedly an index of your worth.

And why is it that the people who stand up most for the rich-and-powerful are people like Toke, who quite obviously make as much each year as La Wawa dispenses in Christmas tips to the staff.

Posted by: pseudonymous in nc | Dec 14, 2006 7:20:52 AM

Yikes, Barbara's face would curdle milk from 50 paces! I could actually feel my skin starting to crinkle up.

Good for Rosie, sticking it to the pompous old witch. Barbara must be under the absurd delusion that she is "one of the people", at least within her on-air persona (but not when it's contract time, of course). She is too up tight to admit that she enjoys her life and the privileges of wealth. Boo hoo. It's the kind of socially inept scenario that could have been navigated with a simple shrug and a laugh, but she got so defensive that she helped make Rosie's point instead.

Posted by: GP | Dec 14, 2006 8:56:02 AM

You must get past your jealousy first. Then, you can focus on the fact that Bawa Wawa wasn't born with all of that wealth, nor was Bill Clinton nor was Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, etc.

And then you come to realize that you defend the rich bacause you defend a system that will reward you if you have the drive an ability to make really good money. Being really, really rich is difficult anywhere, but in the US, becoming well-off middle class is attainable for anyone who really has the drive.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Dec 14, 2006 9:00:45 AM

Fred, that's a nice sentiment - it simply isn't true. And even to the extent that it is true, it leaves out a lot of people - who with some amount of assistance or encouragement could also succeed. And it also leaves out that if you fail to make it to the "well-off middle class" here, your life will be amazingly difficult; we shouldn't have to punish those who don't do well.

Second, what strikes me about the conversation - and the responses to it - is that a lot of people buy into Rosie's "woman of the people" thing. I happen to like Barbara Walters' honesty more - I think she's circumspect about her wealth, and is honestly careful about leaving the impression that she's somehow not like other people (even though, and I suspect she gets this, she is). Whereas I find Rosie's reluctance to admit to being also wealthy just the sort of thing you get from some rich liberals - as if, somehow, they get to claim "common person" status whiole still being well off... and that's just too easy. Most of us don't, routinely, lunch with Meg Ryan. If you lead a privileged life, you should be comfortable enough to admit to it, I think.

Posted by: weboy | Dec 14, 2006 9:32:37 AM

"It reminds me of what Chris Rock said: Shaquille O'Neal is rich. The guy who signs Shaq's pay check is wealthy."

Todd -- I thought the same thing.

Posted by: KL | Dec 14, 2006 10:15:48 AM

I think the commenters here are misinterpreting Barbara's anguish. She isn't embarrased to be known as wealthy per se--wealth, after all, is the essential fact of her social circle. She is perturbed that her wealth has been pointed out on TV, to her audience--the rubes to whom she would like to appeal to as a "regular" gal.

Posted by: Mark | Dec 14, 2006 11:36:17 AM

Having real art on the walls is a sign that Barbara Walters has taste and culture in addition to money. I don't have a problem with that. I'd rather see someone spend their money on something worthwhile of that sort than blow it on visits to the mall.

It's sad that our society condemns people more for using their wealth to enrich their lives in intellectual ways than we do if they throw it away on disposable crap.

Posted by: Magenta | Dec 14, 2006 11:45:36 AM

Interesting to note that Baba Wawa counts Mr. Henry Kissinger as one of her "closest friends".
I have seen The View on actual television exactly once - I was home after a wisdom tooth extraction and flipping channels in a medicated daze and was stunned to see Ron Jeremy on the teevee. He was having a sit down chat on The View. Baba Wawa refused to speak to him or even make eye contact with him, and later in the show she even said aloud something like "you'll notice that I didn't talk to him or make eye contact with him". Yeah you are some piece of work, Baba.

Posted by: sprocket | Dec 14, 2006 11:56:40 AM


Sprocket -

Ron Jeremy?!? Your kidding. The last time I saw him in anything - um, best not go there. What in the hell would they have to talk to Ron about on the daytime talks?

Posted by: DuWayne | Dec 14, 2006 12:18:58 PM

Well, DuWayne, I think he answered some questions about how he got into "the business" and for how long and what else does he do, etc. It was all pretty tame. He enjoyed talking about the rock videos he had cameoed in and stories about being recognized everywhere. Seems like they screened a minute or so of a documentary that had been made about him.

Posted by: sprocket | Dec 14, 2006 12:40:53 PM

I enjoyed Walters' stare of death to O'Donnell. But I can't say I'm a fan of The View, based on the very few clips I've seen. The bigger issue for me, beyond whether someone's rich or not, or nouveau riche or old money, is what they do with the money, such as charitable giving.

Posted by: Batocchio | Dec 14, 2006 12:47:44 PM

Baba Wawa refused to speak to him or even make eye contact with him

Well no, I don't expect it'd be his eyes with which she'd be trying to make contact.

Posted by: Dan | Dec 14, 2006 2:50:01 PM

Weboy-
"Whereas I find Rosie's reluctance to admit to being also wealthy just the sort of thing you get from some rich liberals...'

Did you not watch to the end where she says "I'm rich, I admit it, I'm rich, I'm Rich."

WTFV as they say.

Posted by: John I | Dec 14, 2006 3:40:00 PM

She's breaking the first rule of the Class War. You DO NOT talk about the Class War. Even if you're only mentioning skirmishes between castles.

Posted by: eRobin | Dec 14, 2006 5:06:55 PM

You must get past your jealousy first.

Do you always comp the first session, Doctor 'Fred'? I suspect that with that kind of psychological insight, you'd need to.

She is perturbed that her wealth has been pointed out on TV, to her audience--the rubes to whom she would like to appeal to as a "regular" gal.

'The View' is Babawawa's equivalent of the Victorian practice of 'going slumming', or Marie Antoinette's milkmaid dressup.

I have to wonder whether the ass-clench about wealth is bound up with the whole praise-Jebus thing, because if you believe the books, he wasn't really that big on the rich. On the one hand, there's an industry built around the O.T. 'pray for wealth'; on the other, there's the lurking remembrance of that fat camel.

Posted by: pseudonymous in nc | Dec 14, 2006 6:01:38 PM

Fred, that's a nice sentiment - it simply isn't true. And even to the extent that it is true, it leaves out a lot of people - who with some amount of assistance or encouragement could also succeed. And it also leaves out that if you fail to make it to the "well-off middle class" here, your life will be amazingly difficult; we shouldn't have to punish those who don't do well.

Are you saying that all who are not at least middle class have an "amazingly difficult" life? All trades people and working class should just go out, then, and shoot themselves! Why try!

How brainwashed are you?



Posted by: Fred Jones | Dec 14, 2006 6:11:19 PM

"Having real art on the walls is a sign that Barbara Walters has taste and culture in addition to money."

Magenta, by writing that sentence you have shown you know nothing about taste or culture. Go back to reading your Vanity Fair.

a connoisseur is just a rich man who shares the tastes of other rich men

Posted by: C. Greenberg | Dec 15, 2006 5:08:00 AM

a connoisseur is just a rich man who shares the tastes of other rich men

agreed. Why would it make a rat's ass to Magenta how the rich spend their money? She hates the rich, unless they fulfill some stereotype she has hardwired in her brain.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Dec 15, 2006 7:00:12 AM

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