Recommends: 6 Things Rich People Need to Stop Saying

Today's Recommends is another article, cross-linked from a commenter at Shakesville: 6 Things Rich People Need to Stop Saying. My favorite bits were this:

Or, as Hamilton Nolan at Gawker put it, "'Sure, it's an objectively large sum of money,' they say. 'But it is far smaller after I spend it.'"

and this:

You can reply that if some other field paid more, you'd have just simply switched to it and been equally successful, due to your smarts and determination. You know, like how the smart and determined Michael Jordan was equally successful as a basketball player (six titles, $70 million a year) and baseball player (batted .202 in the minors) and team owner (his Charlotte Bobcats are currently 4-28).

and this:

So to sum it up: If you make good money, but have to work 80-hour weeks to get it, you're still lucky. Just swallow your pride and fucking acknowledge it.

Oh, heck. The whole thing is my favorite part.

OPEN THREAD BELOW! What have you been reading/writing? 


valarltd said...

I've been editing and formatting my lesbian collection ADVENTURESSES. It will be available at the authors' collective, theLiterary Underworld, Amazon and from the publisher, Inkstained Succubus (no link as we are having website issues at the moment. They will be resolved before the April 1 store launch).

Putting in 1000 words a day this nest week on my post-apoc biker gang novel, or Terror of the Frozen North (gay roaring 20s Arctic expedition).
Finishing up Field of Blood by Eric Wilson. I like Eric bunches as a person, but I'm really struggling to finish this. If Valley of Bones isn't noticeably better, I'm not finishing the series. Also reading Talk To the Hand and Laurell K Hamilton's Danse Macabre.

Dav said...

I think it was "Now go kill the Nazis with your bootstraps" that warmed the cockles of my heart.

I do think it's worth discussing how we expect rich to look (i.e. no money concerns at all) vs. how it *feeeeeeels* (i.e. still not able to get everything you want). But that should be an accounting of the expectations of how it would be to be rich, not an explanation that really, no one on the face of the planet is wealthy. We're all middle-class!

My personal line for middle class is whether I can type my income into one of those budget calculators and get any numbers that make sense. If I have to multiply the rent and food figures in order to have any hope of living, I'm on the wrong side of things. Also, if your discetionary budget after essentials like transportation/housing/food is actually a negative number or something ridiculously small.

I'm not sure what my line is for wealth, though, and I don't think wealthy people do, either. I'd like to try it, though. You know, just to see how it feels. For research purposes.

chris the cynic said...

The thing that gets me is their total lack of understanding that the non-falsehood based arguments they make apply to everyone else as well, only more so.

I visited some friends at some point* and it happened to be the day that rent was due. When all was said and done they worked out that after paying rent they would have 18 cents left. 18 pennies, and that was it. This was after searching everywhere in their apartment to find every last coin or bill.

To say that there's less money after one spends it as if those with lower incomes don't understand it is to reek of privilege. The poorer you are the better your understanding of the difference between the amount you make before and after expenses. To think that someone could be poor or middle class and not know how much of a difference expenses make is to be totally disconnected from reality.

And yet, there they are. Making the argument. "Well, after I've paid my unavoidable expenses It's really only eight to twelve times what you make in a year, so I'm really not rich." No. When your net income after necessary expenses is something that would be a sizable gross income, that means you're rich.


*A couple weeks ago I suppose, but my sense of the passage of time is a lot like Bella Swan's would be if she didn't have an Edward to keep her grounded. So it can be hard to tell. Maybe it was just one week ago, maybe it was three. No idea. [Added:] Actually I remembered a co-occurring event and that tells me that it was almost exactly two weeks.

Lonespark said...

Oooooh! Good news!

Silver Adept said...

I was linked to that particular article by someone else and went through it nodding - it's a really good example of how Privilege works that most people can wrap their heads around, because they're usually on the other end of it, instead of being on the privileged end.

Good to hear there's publication on the horizon. Can't say that I've had a whole lot to link to in my own writing, but I've had other good things in my life, so things balance out.

hapax said...

I actually managed to post something to my LJ this week -- a "What I've been reading" post and my thoughts about a possible archetypal triad for women, based on the books of Kristen Cashore.

But mainly I want to give a heads up for another round of ARC giveaways -- mostly YA fantasy fiction from the past year -- that I'll be posting in the next couple of days.

Kubricks_Rube said...

What have you been reading

I finished up two books yesterday- Mr Fox by Helen Oyeyemi, which I highly recommend, and Pulchritude, which I'm happy to say I very much enjoyed. My wife and I continued reading A Son of the Circus together, and this morning I started The Left Hand of Darkness.

Gelliebean said...

I started reading "The Shining" yesterday, and it has been absolutely amazing so far.... I only started reading Stephen King about a year ago (until I did, I just thought he was the literature equivalent of boogieman horror flicks, don't ask me where I got that idea) and have been blown away by his characters.... The day before that, I read a couple of fun regency romances by Eloisa James.

Will Wildman said...

I haven't updated my blog in a little while, although I do have one post half-written about an argument I had with a sexist on International Women's Day, which I will try to finish soon - I need to go back and actually reread some of the facebook posts involved, which hasn't been a particularly enticing task, but I'll get around to it before overlong.

In the meantime, if you're looking for graphs and theology and latin and unemployment and that sort of thing, Heresies of Mammon is my own post about why I am atheist but not antitheist, and comments and protests are welcome.

depizan said...

My personal line for middle class is whether I can type my income into one of those budget calculators and get any numbers that make sense. If I have to multiply the rent and food figures in order to have any hope of living, I'm on the wrong side of things. Also, if your discetionary budget after essentials like transportation/housing/food is actually a negative number or something ridiculously small.

I'd set the line a bit higher than that. To me that sounds more like just barely working class. And is far too dependent on circumstances beyond income. I mean, by your definition, I qualify as middle class and I live in a studio apartment with a kitchen so small I can't open my fridge all the way, drive a 24 year old car, and work at a job that will max out at $12 an hour. (And had my raise this year completely eaten by the increased cost of health insurance.) If I'm middle class, this country is so hosed I don't know where to begin.

And that's the thing - I don't think we should set the lines low. Somehow that seems like playing into the wealthy evil people's hands. (Though I can't at present articulate exactly why... maybe because it makes it easy for them to claim things are better than they are? "See, lots of people are still middle class! Everything's fine." "But we're all in the lowest income bracket on everything that asks!" "So? You've got food.") I know there are people in other countries who have it far worse than USians (and we should do our best to help them), but in a country like the US, middle class should be the old American Dream.

Dav said...

I guess it depends on how many lines we're drawing in the class box. (Insert joke about the three classes in the U.S. : lower middle class, middle class, and upper middle class.) And a lot depends on benefits and safety nets and mobility as well.

If I'd been more careful about writing that post, I'd have something in there about quality of life: can you live in housing that's safe, appropriately sized, maintained and heated and clean, with electricity and water and internet and a phone, for 30%-ish of your income? Are your groceries of adequate quality, quantity, and security? Does the "transportation" part of your budget adequately cover emergencies, repairs, and eventual replacement of your vehicle? Because, yeah, it's not just that those numbers need to make things work in the short-term, but over time. And they need to work at a level that doesn't crush you. (Does this seem like the least everyone should have? Yes. At the same time, it requires a tremendous quantity of money to get there.)

But on the other hand, I'm not a fan of lumping myself (I'm about where you are) in with those who have much more significant infrastructure issues. There's a difference between where I am and where a migrant farm worker probably is, and it seems disrespectful to claim we're just the same. Not because I object to being called poor, but because it minimizes the privations that she's subject to that I'm not.

Ana Mardoll said...

Ha. I read this last night after moving over several truck loads to my parents' garage. I was tired enough to think "Pulchritude... that's a pretty name for a book... oh yeah!" Haha.

I'm so glad you liked it. I have a little OMG LIFE PINNACLE ACHIEVED moment any time someone says they liked the book. And then the cats give me a *look* for squeeing as loud as I do. :P

depizan said...

Which is why "poor," "middle class," and "wealthy" can't be useful boxes. There have to be more dividing lines. Or, if we don't want there to be, then something has to be done so that where we are is the bare minimum. Lumping us in with, say, my parents - who really are middle class - is just as problematic as lumping us in with the migrant farm worker. The boxes are too big to be descriptive.

And, frankly, it would take a hell of a lot less money to get everyone to where we are if we had decent public transit (I shouldn't need a car when I can walk to work, but using the bus to get my groceries would take longer than walking to the grocery store - which is over 2 miles away. And without a car, I couldn't do much after work due to lack of evening buses.) and universal health care. Though, I also rather think that the extremely rich should prove they have souls and fork over their absurd amounts of money to help us get there because, really, who in blazes needs to have the kind of money they do?

Rikalous said...

I just finished reading Benighted, and kudos to Kit for it.

I'm currently Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which a friend lent to me, and the original Pride and Prejudice so I can follow all the changes.

icecoldblank said...

I read that same Cracked article, and loved it. It should be required reading for anyone who writes off more in taxes than the average middle-class family makes in a year.

I just finished reading The Handmaid's Tale. Holy wow, so good. I've been taking my time with it, because it was just so engrossing, I wouldn't let myself read more than two chapters a day. That also gave me lots of time to think about, really think about it, and I just love any book that makes me want to ponder all the day long. 

I also read an interesting short story online, called ILU-486 that seems to be garnering a lot of attention. I like that it is speculative fiction, and very relevant to things happening these days. I don't like that it feels like it could be reality in a very short amount of time.

And I've recently started my only little deconstruction/analysis of a vampire story, only I went with The Vampire Diaries. I'm only a couple of entries in, and my method is a little more haphazard than Ana's Twilight decon, but I'm enjoying it all the same. Linky!

That's all I've got for this week!

Dav said...

Yes, living in a city with public transportation is enabling in all kinds of good ways. (Even better: my city has grocery stores that *deliver*.) I'm moving soon to Sprawl, U.S.A., and will have to break down and get a car, and it's rather alarming - I have no idea where I'll cough up the extra funds. Especially since living in the one area of town where there's decent transportation means a radical increase in rent . . . I knew I was in trouble when I told my future employer that I had no car, and their response was a delightfully bemused "Bob! Bob, come over here and listen to this!"

Although I confess that I'm rather looking forward to being able to *just go* places - even with good public transportation, there's extra work involved in getting places, and I'd like to see what it's like just to go to a state park and go hiking, or just to pop to the grocery store for milk. I think some of my tendency to "collect" quantities of food and supplies is a reaction to how difficult it can be to go buy stuff when your life revolves around a time schedule. And, of course, inter-city transit is really, really grim here: your options boil down to flying, Amtrak (often more expensive than flying and sometimes excruciatingly slow), or Greyhound. I actually like Greyhound fine, but it's not exactly the most workable thing ever.

I'm constantly bewildered by the resistance here to better public transit. I just honestly can't grasp the viewpoint that infrastructure is at best useless, and at worst harmful. But then, I can't fathom what I could do with millions and millions of dollars.

depizan said...

Oh, I know what I'd do with millions and millions of dollars, but it would involve lots of charity and campaigning to fix infrastructure and get universal healthcare. Or building a portal to ideal conservative land and shoving all the conservatives through. But the first is probably more useful. Also kinder.

I've found that there's both something freeing about having a car and something freeing about being able to get places without needing a car. I keep trying to figure out how I can get groceries effectively on foot. But I'd need some sort of all-terrain cart for that.

Dav said...

I'm guessing from the "all-terrain" part that a market cart of the awesome vintage variety wouldn't work? ( That was definitely on my wish list until I discovered delivery. If you're just on sidewalks, they work great. Not so great for dirt roads/gravel/etc. (Short patches of lawn are okay.)

Silver Adept said...

@Dav -

Infrastructure is invisible to the wealthy. Infrastructure problems are also usually invisible to the wealthy, because they can throw money at their problems to fix them. Which leaves the people who need infrastructure and complain most about its problems to be the unwashed poor. And they can't stop complaining about how it takes a crapload of money to fix that infrastructure, money that they don't have, but the wealthy people do, and so those poor people keep clamoring for the rich to pay more taxes to fix the infrastructure. Which is, in some of their minds, the poor pressuring the government to steal their hard-won money to do something that has no immediate tangible benefit to them.

So they fight infrastructure projects because it doesn't make them immediately richer and because it gives the poor a sense of entitlement to their money.

At least, that's one of the arguments I've seen put forward by conservatives in the U.S. Your particular mileage may vary.

ZMiles said...

What I'm reading:

I just reread the Twin Spica series to prepare for the final volume, which has just been released in America. It's a really sweet series, and I'm finding that it works a lot better when I read it all at once because then I can actually remembered the plot arcs from volume to volume.
(Brief plot summary: the story follows Asumi Kanogawa, a girl who wants to be an astronaut. She is accepted into the Tokyo Space Academy, where she must train intensely to be one of the very few students that will be selected to go into space upon graduation. She's assisted in her journey by the friends she meets there -- the peppy Kei, the cold and reserved Marika, the sardonic Fuchuya (whom she knows from her hometown), and the easygoing Shu. She is also friends with the ghost of an astronaut who died in a rocket crash, who helps her train, gives her moral support, and counsels her. Despite the series having a lot of serious elements -- one prominent element is the rocket crash which killed Asumi's mother, the astronaut, and others and set back the Japanese space program by several years, and another is about a genetic condition that some of the characters may have that could stop them from going into space -- the series manages to remain very gentle and sweet without wandering into saccharine territory.)
I'm also reading Jim C. Hines' Goblin series. It's about Jig the goblin, who finds himself roped into adventures that he wants no part of, and his efforts to remain alive. The first book is a Dungeon Crawl perspective flip; a team of adventurers shows up in the goblin den looking to loot and get a bunch of exp. points, and we see Jig's perspective on them as he's dragged along (they need a guide and he's standing nearby). The second book is what I'm in now.

As for writing, in addition to some papers for the graduate lab I work in (ten pages in about a week), I'm continuing on various fantasy stories. They span a pretty wide gamut, which I like because I can practice working in a bunch of different areas. I finished a rough draft of one involving two Russian soldiers trying to find the legendary Firebird before the St. George Dragonriders lead the British to victory in the Crimean War. I'm working on another which involves a bounty hunter chasing after an elf into a forest, and a third which is about a producer of a dishonest restaurant expose show getting his comeuppance when he targets a restaurant run by the fae.

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