Off on vacation for a week, so great to be back here on the lawn, but really, you know, I was never gone. Thanks to my colleagues over on Frontburner, the D Magazine blog, my presence did not fade.
Last Friday D Editor Tom Rogers penned a long item he called, "Jim Schutze's Class Envy Gets the Best of Him," about something I had written the previous week making fun of rich people and their worries over the Nasher Sculpture Garden getting too much sun. Rogers said:
"I think it's because Schutze desperately, truly, really wishes he had some money. He wishes he'd studied at St. Mark's and SMU. He wishes he'd gone into real estate or finance. That's why his vision is so clouded. If you read him with any regularity, you'll notice this. All rich people suck -- because he is not one of them. Somewhere, deep down, Jim Schutze wishes he could buy a condo at Museum Tower. It's the only explanation that makes sense."
So how would I answer that? I can't say anything bad about SMU without getting into big trouble with my wife. Plus, I think she may be with Tim on how nice it would be for me to have more money. So let's just say this: enough about me.
What about the poor rich? This is where Tim's message is truly passionate. He makes the case that an attack on the rich is an attack on all of us: "Listen, this problem doesn't involve [only] rich people," Rogers writes. "It involves us."
One shivers. I must admit, I found something vaguely stirring in that sentiment, a sort of very vaguely Hemingwayesque, For Whom the Bell Tolls kind of thing. I think I get it.
If people can make fun of the rich with impunity, then why couldn't they make fun of poor people with impunity? What's to stop them from mocking even the middle class? We could all wind up being made fun of, and ... well, you know. What the hell?
I think Tim is saying that it's got to stop somewhere. In this way, the rich are the canaries in the coal mine of mocking. By standing up for them, we stand up for ourselves.
As I said, I only think I get it. Sort of. And you know, even if I do get it, it's just not the journalistic cause for me. Sorry. But why shouldn't it be for Tim?
I'm serious. Why couldn't Tim use his magazine as a bully pulpit for the protection of the rich? They could do all sorts of things. They could run a kind of box score on an inside page citing instances in the previous month when some asshole like me has said something cruel or unfair about the rich.
I wouldn't object to that. I can see the fairness. Rich people have a right to victimhood, too.
They could publish pages and pages of photographs of rich people being nice and having fun, smiling at each other, showing that these are just regular people who happen to have a lot more money than regular people.
Well, wait. It's been a while since I looked closely at D. Give me a second here. I'm scanning it on-line as we speak. OK, it looks like Tim is out ahead of me on most of this. It appears they are already doing most of the stuff I am suggesting.
Well, then, here's a bit of business advice I might offer them. It looks as if Tim and his boss/owners, the Allisons, already have built up an excellent track record on defending the rich, sticking up for them, showing that D Magazine is the kind of publication the rich can count on. In my mind I see a picture of rich people sitting around the Dallas Country Club with their muddy golf cleats on the necks of illegal immigrant groundskeepers socking down gin and tonics groping each other's spouses and saying, "At least D Magazine has got our back."
Given that reputation, which the magazine has worked so hard to establish, why shouldn't Tim and the Allisons put it to good use and maybe make some moolah for themselves off it? Come on. This is America.
Why couldn't D Magazine go out and visit with some of these rich people and see if the richies might want to come across with a little cash for the old magazine operation? I speak of "investment opportunities in publishing," of course.
Gosh. They're so sharp over there. I bet they've beaten me to the punch on that idea, too. I can't get ahead of these guys, can I?