Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Shopping Holiday!

You may have noticed that Megan McArdle, a week after scolding parents for buying their children toys in hard times, has created a list of Christmas presents. They have been culled from her very well-stocked kitchen, which is evidently filled with expensive gadgets. She also lists some less-expensive items for the little people, for which we give the generous Miss Megan thanks.

Anyway, Happy Holidays, everyone, I have a lot to be thankful for
this year; my family is safe and healthy, my dog is adorable and affectionate,
my job is amazing, my friends are so great I occasionally suspect that I am
actually in an indie film, and in the new year, I'll be taking up residence
in a great new house in Bloomingdale. All of my worries are the best
sort: the kind I can't do anything about, and therefore have no reason
to fret on, beyond making emergency provisions. I know a lot of you
are probably suffering from the financial crisis, and others from the
general tendency of life to hand you a lot of lemons and no sugar to make
lemonade with. But I hope that all of you have some good thing to be
thankful for.

I suspect she sees herself as an extra-large version of Parker Posey, winsomely charming one and all while oozing with Upper West Side exclusivity. It's a wonderful life for Megan. Sure, a lot of her friends are going to lose their jobs as magazine and newspapers close and cut back, but Megan works for David Bradley, who runs The Atlantic as a vanity press and pays for it out of pocket. No, Megan, it's not that the magazine is cheaper to run than a large newspaper. It's the deep pockets that fund it, instead of depending on advertising revenue. I wouldn't be quite so sanguine, however, if I were Megan. Thomas Friedman's wife lost about 90% of her shopping mall fortune. It could happen to Bradley's consulting empire also, and the expensive toy you work for could easily be the first thing to go.

It's wonderful that her family is well and that she and her massive dog can both fit in her cute little car, although the effect must be somewhat trippy. And it's exciting to move, even if you have to share a house because your stock portfolio has tanked, because you believed your friends and fellow elites at investment banks. What Megan doesn't get, and probably never will, is that the ruling elite worked her over too. Her credit limit will go down, just like the undeserving poor person might lose credit. She might not only lose her job, but might see most of her entire industry disappear, like one of those overpaid union-supporting auto workers in the Midwest. If she loses her job she will lose her house, like all those feckless minorities who traded votes for low Fannie Mae mortgages, who should have stayed in the rental class, where they belong. And all those carefully worded posts supporting the ruling elite and the monied class will have done exactly what Megan wanted them to do; enrich the wealthy at the expense of everyone else.

Nero fiddled while Rome burned; Megan McArdle went shopping.


spencer said...

She already lost her down payment because of her fellow elites (or, more accurately, the people she perceives to be her social equals but who look down on her as much as they do me). She may be book-smart (and even that is debatable, but I'm willing to entertain the idea that she is based on the fact that she went to schools with good reputations), but overall she's pretty dumb.

Susan of Texas said...

It's a puzzler. The only explanation I can find is that she only uses her brain when necessary, and she hasn't found it necessary for a very long time.