We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Rich People Don't Watch Football

by Jamie Johnson from Vanity Fair.  

Jamie is our Saturday morning guide into the lives of the rich who we seldom encounter in our everyday lives, except of course on TV. But these latter are mainly celebrities, people who are newly rich who are not really accepted among "The One Percent" as one of them. 

We rarely, if ever, meet rich people in the flesh who spend much of their time at their various homes and playgrounds in such places as Aspen, The Hamptons, Nantucket, Davos, Dubai, and Monte Carlo. And when they travel between these places they don't fly coach, probably not even 1st class, because they often use or charter private jets. Nevertheless, they are our fellow Americans and we need to keep in touch with them as best we can.

Theirs is a rather insular world free of the obstacles and much of the everyday frustrations that the rest of us put up with. For example, I doubt that any of them would ever endure the humiliation of going through security checkpoints at airports and being scanned or patted down by TSA's gestapo. 

Today we learn from Jamie that this crowd doesn't really go in for football (American football). He doesn't really know why, but I surmise that they are much too genteel to appreciate the sweaty roughness of tackling somebody or swilling down "Buds" while watching this on TV.
...indoor games like bridge provide the kind of competition rich people like to engage in during leisurely weekend hours. In certain circles, a fabled bridge player enjoys far more cachet than a Heisman Trophy winner. And if the card champion happens to speak beautiful French, then you are finally talking about the kind of consummate sportsman polite society can truly embrace.
By the way, if you haven't seen Jamie's excellent film, "The One Percent", you simply must do so. As a member of this set, he has access to them and their world which can shed so much light on their perspectives and values.