Monday, June 11, 2007
Class Conscience Irony
On Sunday, I read the entire New York Times. It was a wonderful experience and it will now happen every weekend. I feel smarter, if not more depressed. I read everything and took great interest in the NYTimes Magazine. Titled "The Money Issue," the Magazine tackled issues of a globalized labor market, the ability for growth and shrinking inequality, and even gave the cover the wonder-boy of the anti-poverty movement John Edwards. (read it here)
These articles are all very interesting, well researched, and I really cannot say much in the way of commentary on them with out an in depth analysis--that I really don't want to get into on a Monday morning while trying to cut back on coffee (it isn't working in case you were wondering)--but I would like to speak to irony of the advertisements in what clearly is a presentation on poverty, inequality and the ridiculous disparity of wealth in this country--and why it is a bad thing.
My partner brought up an interesting issue as she read the article on Unionizing Paradise. This piece explained the problems of the laborers on an exclusive island community. Lots of money, not so many scruples was the main idea. But scattered throughout this and the rest of the articles were ads for luxury apartment buildings, financial planers, and private airlines.
After dismissing this particular aspect as not important, I returned to this dilemma as I read the story about former Sectary of the Treasury and President of Harvard, Lawrence Summers. But before reading more of the magazine I said to my very intelligent and smart and beautiful partner, "it doesn't really matter what advertisements are in this magazine; the content is solid." (or something equally as pompous and erudite.)
However as I jammed to my subway mix on my iPod heading to work this morning, I was bombarded by "Live Elegantly" ads coupled with information about stagflation and how to increase the wages of the lowest 10% of workers. There is a problem here.
The Magazine assumes the only people who are reading these pompous and erudite treatments of major issues are the people who should "give a lot of money away" according to Daniel Handler. I for one would love to give a ton of money away, but at this point in my life I can't afford to do so. I am also sure there are armchair economists without trust funds who are interested in these issues. There might even be college students out there who need to read these articles for class, most of whom aren't going to "reach out and touch the sky" in Tibeca anytime soon.
It is possible that no one at the Magazine thought this through, I just found it, with the help of a very astute observation from my partner, strange.