Sunday, May 13, 2012

Text and Context

In today's New York Times, William Deresiewicz writes, among other things
The lie goes on. The poor are lazy, stupid and evil. The rich are brilliant, courageous and good. They shower their beneficence upon the rest of us.
I don't know who writes about the poor that way. As for the rich, the Sunday Styles section of today's Times leads off with an article "The Last Empress", on Bunny Mellon. I cannot be bothered to read it--it is in the Sunday Styles section after all--but if I were out to demonstrate someone's faults, I would not lead off with pictures showing her next to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The lead story in the Travel section includes
A friend mentioned the Fisher Island Hotel and Resort, on a small, highly exclusive private island two miles from South Beach, the kind of place where oligarchs and Oprah Winfrey buy and sell $15 million condos.
 An article in the NY/Region section "Still Flaunting the Luxe Life", seems to have reservations about some sorts of display; yet the non-flaunters seem to do their shopping less at Ikea than at ABC Carpet and Home.

I don't particularly imagine the rich to be brilliant, courageous, and good. Yet if I took what I can read in the New York Times more seriously, I suppose I might begin to imagine them so.

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