Another mixed grill.

Because I have another ridiculous day ahead, an all-bloggage Wednesday, and we’ll try for something better by tomorrow, eh?

A contributor to the Times of London considers the problem of celebrity culture:

First and foremost, there is the opportunity cost of interminable second-hand gossip; preoccupation with celebrities is an appalling squandering of human consciousness.

The centuries of prattle, of air time and screen time, the miles of column inches are a sickening misuse of the gift of life, of health and adequate nutrition, of freedom from oppression, of the access we now have to the world of knowledge and the arts. They are stolen from thought about, or discussion of, things that are truly important or worthwhile; fighting poverty, disease and the iniquities and injustice of the world; the profound joy afforded by literature and the arts; questions about the meaningful purpose of life.

The celebrity culture is a black hole sucking up light. It is not only a manifestation of the cretinisation or tabloidisation of our culture but further cretinises it.

There’s a certain kind of scold who loves to tell you your dirty little pleasure is something to be ashamed of, that it’s wrong to read People when you could be reading something with a long subtitle. And then there’s the kind who makes a single moment spent contemplating Paris Hilton sound like a crime against the cosmos. Raymond Tallis is the second kind.

What were we just talking about yesterday? Oh, right: Pay cuts. Ahead of the curve, again. Meanwhile, on Wall Street:

Workers at 23 top investment banks, hedge funds, asset managers and stock and commodities exchanges can expect to earn even more than they did the peak year of 2007, according to an analysis of securities filings for the first half of 2009 and revenue estimates through year-end by The Wall Street Journal.

Whose compensation do you feel better about? The average paycheck at Goldman Sachs, at $743,000, or the airline pilot at $34,000? Come the revolution, let’s carry our torches together.

And now I’m off to Troy, which at the moment feels about as far away as the one they rolled the horse into. Have a great day, all.

Posted at 9:01 am in Current events |

47 responses to “Another mixed grill.”

  1. John said on October 14, 2009 at 9:12 am

    You’ll know its revolution cause there won’t be no commercials/When the revolution comes

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  2. MichaelG said on October 14, 2009 at 9:35 am

    Celebrity photos? Nice timing. There’s one of Maria Shriver talking on her cell while wheeling her Escalade through the streets of Ellay and one of the new and improved Jaycee Dugard.

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  3. del said on October 14, 2009 at 9:48 am

    I grew up with a cold-era wariness of the harm wrought by peasants storming the castle — beware the serfs, they warned the schoolkids. Poets warned of “the fool red fury of the Seine” following the guillotining in the French revolution. Watch the riff-raff was the lesson.

    Now such fears seem unfounded. Since the “Reagan revolution” it’s seemed to work the other way — beware the Beat Down is really what they should warn the kids.

    Pretty heavy thoughts for Wednesday morning — I’d better return to Moe’s cool link about the piano stairs from yesterday.

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  4. coozledad said on October 14, 2009 at 10:11 am

    $743,000 a year? Well that’s just freedom.

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  5. moe99 said on October 14, 2009 at 10:12 am

    I’m glad you saw it, Del. I always hesitate to post late at night in the comments, because folks are moving on, but that particular video was great fun. Those crazy Swedes!

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  6. Peter said on October 14, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Yeah, well YOU try to make ends meet in Manhattan on $743,000.00 a year!

    No, seriously, you should try it – I’m thinking it should be pretty easy.

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  7. Dorothy said on October 14, 2009 at 10:51 am

    I subscribed to PEOPLE years ago, and my husband hated that I did so. He wasn’t being self-righteous, just opinionated. He nicknamed it “Fuck Up Your Life Magazine.”

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  8. Jolene said on October 14, 2009 at 11:04 am

    California peeps: What’s up w/ you? Am looking at some scary pictures of mudslides, weather-related traffic problems, and such. Are you OK?

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  9. Sue said on October 14, 2009 at 11:18 am

    PEOPLE is the gold standard, of course, read by informed, with-it individuals worldwide. Personally I feel sorry for those subhumans who read US and InTouch; don’t they know what they SAY ABOUT THEMSELVES, reading that trash?
    Here’s a question I haven’t seen discussed anywhere: Assuming we get a health care reform bill passed this year, it will take three years to implement, according to what I’m hearing. So, since there will be no measurable benefits for awhile, what are the odds of a midterm election bloodbath? Should I just vacuum under my bed and start hiding now? I’m not sure I can handle the equivalent of an 11-month-long town hall meeting.

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  10. Jolene said on October 14, 2009 at 11:28 am

    Sue, I’ve been wondering about that too. Although I’m not sure of the details, I understand that the proposed changes are not scheduled to go into effect until 2013. That means we’d be going through both mid-term elections and another presidential election before people have any experience whatever the new arrangements the new legislation.

    Seems like that delay also leaves a lot of time for corporate mischief. Am not sure what form that might take, but I wouldn’t bet my retirement fund against providers and payers taking actions to protect themselves from the cost of reform.

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  11. Danny said on October 14, 2009 at 11:39 am

    He nick­named it “Fuck Up Your Life Magazine.”


    Jolene, I’m fine. We’re not getting the rain down in Lo Cal and we didn’t burn up this year. Not sure about So Cal, Mary’s area.

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  12. Danny said on October 14, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Sue, I’m guessing that the midterms will be fine for the Dems. Probably about 2/3’s of the stimulus money will be released shortly before.

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  13. Jeff Borden said on October 14, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    The midterms will reflect the economy. If there is a sense the worst is behind us and things are looking up, I expect the Dems will see some erosion in the House. If the economy is still woeful, I believe the Reps will pick up quite a few seats. Many, many people vote with their wallets.

    I’ve been enjoying the talk spurred by news that Rush Limbaugh would be a minority investor in the St. Louis Rams, though some stories I’m reading suggest the group he is affiliated with has only a longshot chance at buying the team. I’m something of an agnostic on the topic. Baseball was embarrassed for years by the racist and anti-Semitic ramblings of the she-ogre Marge Schott, who owned the Cincinnati Reds. Plenty of black players donned a Reds uniform despite her prehistoric views. Which makes me wonder how many black NFL players would pass up a fat paycheck rather than play for a team where the big loudmouth was a minority owner. I’m guessing not many. Careers in the NFL are cruelly short –averaging about 3.5 years– so choosing to sit out a season on principle would be very, very expensive. Also, I’m not sure if the Rams would not have legal recourse to require a player to fulfill his contract.

    My dislike for El Rushbo is mighty and strong. I hate that he makes a boatload of money by inciting the worst elements within us, but that’s capitalism in the good old USA. Perhaps if he did get involved with an NFL team, where the vast majority of players are black men from modest backgrounds, he might evolve into a more enlightened character.

    As a minority investor, he would have zero say in running the team, setting policies, etc. So, hell, let him buy in. The responses of the players would be truly interesting to watch.

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  14. Sue said on October 14, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Danny, the report on stimulus money in WI mentions that most of the money went to the public sector. That’s not going to translate into “thank heavens police and teaching jobs were saved”; it will become “the pigs are at the trough again and taxpayers got screwed”. These are the times that can take a rather reasonable amendment designed to help seniors plan future care and turn it into “death panel legislation”.
    So a magical release of money, timed to coincide with an election, sounds suspiciously like the supposed “pre-election drop in gas prices” myth. Which, myth or not, didn’t really help incumbents last November.
    An unprecedented political climate these days.
    If anyone needs me, I’ll be under my bed.

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  15. Danny said on October 14, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    That’s not going to trans­late into “thank heav­ens police and teach­ing jobs were saved”; it will become “the pigs are at the trough again and tax­pay­ers got screwed”

    Nah, it’ll more likely translate into the public employee unions funding a bunch of commercials for the DNC candidates.

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  16. LAMary said on October 14, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    “…Nah, it’ll more likely trans­late into the pub­lic employee unions fund­ing a bunch of com­mer­cials for the DNC candidates.”

    Sort of like the way the Republicans give out tax cuts right before elections. Unfortunately, most people who vote for Republicans don’t realize those tax cuts aren’t for them. Also, I think spending stimulus money on things like teachers benefits me and many other people, a lot more than cutting capital gains taxes does. Another also? Not all of us vote based entirely on self interest. I think the last election proved that.

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  17. John said on October 14, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Additional bloggage:
    A Baptist Church near Asheville, N.C., is hosting a “Halloween book burning” to purge the area of “Satan’s” works, which include all non-King James versions of the Bible, popular books by many religious authors and even country music.
    “I believe the King James version is God’s preserved, inspired, inerrant and infallible word of God,” Pastor Marc Grizzard told a local news station of his 14-member parish.
    Church leaders did not respond to Raw Story’s requests for comment, but the website notes they will be providing “bar-b-que chicken, fried chicken and all the sides” at the book burning.

    This is not near Coozledad, but near where I would love to live.

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  18. Dave K. said on October 14, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    LA Mary…thanks for saying it well, before I even had a chance to quit shaking my head and thinking “Danny, Danny, Danny…”. And while I’m at it, Danny, your little LSD story from a couple days ago about the H.S. dance and the gym floor opening up and dumping people into the swimming pool…? “Really…….?!!” (But Joe thought it was “…funny, funny stuff…”).

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  19. Connie said on October 14, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    I sort of feel that way about the King James version myself, in a bring back the poetry kind of way. I sometimes attend Christmas season services with various friends and family, and the Christmas story just plain sounds wrong in the versions used today. Not a soul is sore afraid.

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  20. MarkH said on October 14, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Dave K., you didn’t see the movie?

    Jeff B. #13 — That was the long way around the barn just to say, “it’s all about the $$$$$$”. Rush could be the equivalent of Jerry Jones in ownership of the Rams, or any other NFL team, and no one’s going anywhere. Even the players that don’t have agents to direct them are smart enought to know where their bread is buttered. And as for the Rams enforcing a contract with a player stupid enough to try and bolt when free agency doesn’t loom, well, let’s just say he’s probably an expendible 3rd-stringer anyway. Anyone’s who’s paid a modicum of attention to pro sports knows it’s all about the…what was it Cuba Gooding kept repeating to Tom Cruise? If the Rams (and the NFL) let Rush on board, he won’t be head coach for sure, but he’ll have more to say than zero, imho.

    Mid-term elections: many shoes are left to drop between now and Nov., 2010: dust starting to clear from health care reform; Pakistan/Afghanistan/foriegn affairs in general; economy, etc. But, I say, voters desert blue-dog Dems, for starters, republicans gain big, and could take the house. Dems hold the senate, but bullet-proof 60 seat majority is gone. Much can happen between now and then, of course, but Chris Dodd is a goner.

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  21. nancy said on October 14, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Connie, I can’t remember where I heard this, but I have a vague recollection of a Christmas service where the scripture was read as, “…and they were sure afraid.”

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  22. Jeff Borden said on October 14, 2009 at 3:41 pm


    I read a Tribune column after posting that says there is no way the NFL will let Limbaugh near a franchise. Roger Goodell already is saying they would not want a “divisive” figure involved with pro football (paging Michael Vick to the irony is dead phone) but more important is the statement by the owner of the Indianapolis Colts, Jim Irsay, who says he would never vote yes. I imagine there are other owners who feel the same way.

    I honestly don’t care if El Rushbo invests or not. He’s already getting tons of publicity –as if he needed it– and that’s money in the bank to him and his show. But this may be one case where his harsh words have consequences.

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  23. Danny said on October 14, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Dave, I guess it ain’t a good joke if you have to explain it. As MarkH points out, it was a reference to a movie. Specifically, the scene from “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

    EDIT: Hey, your niece thought it was way funny too. Get with the program, Dave!

    Mary, I’m a little surprised. Living in CA, we both have a front row seat for how powerful the public sector unions are here when it comes to political advertising that plays fast and loose with the truth. I’d put the California Teachers Association lobbying and campaigning (read disinformation) efforts up against any organization one would care to mention. If you don’t believe that what they are peddling is self-interest, well I dunno what to tell ya.

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  24. Danny said on October 14, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Irsay.. AHHH!!! Him and his father both!

    Yes, I’m grumbling about Mayflower moving vans in Baltimore still.

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  25. LAMary said on October 14, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    How effective has the CTA been? They didn’t back Ahnuld.

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  26. Danny said on October 14, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Ahnuld rode in on the coat tails of Gray Davis. There was no stopping that train.

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  27. Jeff Borden said on October 14, 2009 at 4:28 pm


    Well, as someone who used to root for the Cleveland Browns, I also have reason to hate the Irsays. If they’d have kept the damned team in Charm City, the state of Maryland would never have gotten involved in luring away Art %$@*#@ Modell and the Browns.


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  28. brian stouder said on October 14, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Well, shoot.

    The BREAKING NEWS just now is that Limbaugh got dropped from the consortium looking to buy the Rams.

    I could care less – but it would have been fun to continually point out how Limbaugh became a socialist – considering how many units of government (including the state of Indiana) have plowed billions (with a “b”) into stadiums and so on, to keep (or lure) their teams; plus the NFLs “Share the Wealth” approach to business, as opposed to, you know – “free markets” and all that rot.

    oh well – maybe next time

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  29. Danny said on October 14, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Jeff, I’m in TOTAL agreement. I give my friends back in B’More endless grief about rooting for the Ravens. One of my buddies has season tickets and I’m always explaining to him how they stole that team from Cleveland … Just. Like. Indy.

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  30. Jeff Borden said on October 14, 2009 at 5:07 pm


    I don’t recall the circumstances of the Colts move, whether the team was drawing well or not, etc. What I DO know is that every Sunday home game, more than 75,000 Browns fans would file into a decrepit, tumbledown football stadium that always reeked of urine and didn’t even have hot water in the restrooms to cheer on teams that usually went 3-13 or worse. Art Modell was such a terrible businessman that he lost money, but he refused to sell the Browns to other local investors. He got the sweetest plum of a deal imaginable in Baltimore. . .and STILL had to sell the team. I’ve never been able to embrace the “new” Browns. Watching the NFL is kind of a guilty pleasure for me. . .as we have discussed here before the savagery of the hits and blocks and now all the stories coming out about the increased rates of dementia among former NFLers who have suffered concussions. . .but I rarely get too carried away. If the Bears are playing, I’ll watch, but I’m not living and dying with them.

    I covered the Chicago Bears as a business for more than 11 years, so I’m familiar with the NFL and the way it does business. It is something of a socialist league because all teams share in the big money items like the national TV deals, sponsorships, etc. Local teams are allowed to pocket all the money they earn from skyboxes, parking, in-stadium advertising, naming rights, etc. without sharing.

    It’s a formula that has worked very well and created a great deal of parity within the league. Contrast that with Major League Baseball, where the Yankees make more money from their cable TV fees alone than most other teams earn from all sources of revenue.

    Anyhow, good on your for chiding your old pals back in B’more. What Maryland did is exactly what Bob Irsay did sans Mayflower moving vans in the night.

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  31. Dexter said on October 14, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    From one tubbo to another: sorry, Filippa Hamilton, but you are much better suited to work in a cheese outlet store or whatever, than to model clothing anymore. I mean really…years of raking in the cash from Ralph Lauren and then you let yourself go like that…ballooning up to 120 pounds?! I mean, lay off the Twinkies and ham sandwiches fer chrissake! At 5’10” you should be no more than 80 pounds like that Weather Channel woman, Betty Davis, who disappears from the TV screen when she turns sideways.
    So Filippa? Do as I say, not as I do. Google “watercress”, OK? I don’t know what it is but it what Twiggy lived on. Never heard of Twiggy the model? She had the same body structure as the starvin’-lookin’ aforementioned Ms. Davis.

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  32. Sue said on October 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Twiggy was so 60’s, Dexter. Think Kate Moss, whose diet consisted of cigarettes and mineral water. Until she graduated to cocaine, also an approved nutrient.

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  33. Sue said on October 14, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    And this of course calls for a few lines from one of those movies that I KNOW I shouldn’t like, Zoolander:

    ‘[after he pokes a girl with a pin]
    Mugatu: Oh, I’m sorry, did my pin get in the way of your ass? Do me a favor and lose five pounds immediately or get out of my building like now!’


    ‘Matilda: I became…
    Hansel: What?
    Matilda: Bulimic.
    Derek Zoolander: You can read minds?’

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  34. LAMary said on October 14, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    …Ahnuld rode in on the coat tails of Gray Davis. There was no stop­ping that train.

    Both times? I can understand why, though. I mean, Arnold did cut the car registration fees in half. For a little while. Until he doubled them again.

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  35. crinoidgirl said on October 14, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    I mean, honestly – her head’s too fat!

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  36. brian stouder said on October 14, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    Dexter’s ref to the size 4 model is one of the more bizarre stories of the day. The Proprietress began this thread talking about such publications as People Magazine – and I’ve gotta say – what media outlet wouldn’t have LEAPED to have the “get” that People got, with regard to Jaycee Dugard?

    Hurrah for them, I say

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  37. MarkH said on October 14, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    This oughta gladden the hearts of most here (me included):

    Additionally, this is about the best thing I’ve read about the White House vs. Fox News dust-up:

    I mean, really, folks, when you’ve got virtually all the rest of the media on your side, why even think of going there?

    And, Brian’s right, Rush is out, as was inevitable; too much attention being paid to the wrong subject, Checketts & Co. surmised, properly. Too bad, in a way, as it would have made great theatre, and, for you Rush-haters, you could have watched as the ever more intense heat from the public spotlight hastened his melting as a player in the public forum (perhaps). Like you, Brian, my caring on this issue is down at about the rat’s ass level. Which means I COULDN’T care less, as opposed to COULD care less.

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  38. brian stouder said on October 14, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Well, go figure.

    Not sure why, but suddenly BOTH Grant and Shelby decided to accompany me to James K Galbraith’s lecture! Dunno about them – but I thought the lecture was marvelous and thought-provoking. He took a brief, informed look at our late crash, and the government’s too-small reaction, and at the road forward from here – and all in terms that we could all understand.

    Among other interesting concepts discussed were IBG/UBG*, the interesting state of play at Goldman Sachs, the incorrectness of terminology like “stimulus” (which brings to mind amphetamines in a needle!), and the essential nature of government debt**.

    Julie – you missed a goody! We bought a copy of one of his books – The Predator State (subtitled “How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too”) – and had him sign it to Shelby. I joked with him that I may never be able to get her to come out in the rain to see an economist again, whereupon he inscribed it with a warning for her to “be careful about economists”!

    *I’ll Be Gone/You’ll Be Gone, often said in washrooms in the glass towers, as in – don’t worry about the wreck and ruin that’s coming to this bank and our country, because we’ll be outta’ here by then

    **He actually, and entertainingly (and seriously) stated that public debt is a positive good. Most of it is an automatic response to the crisis – unemployment benefits and the like – and mostly all of it softens the crisis for real people, and breaks them from falling into actual hunger, unlike in the last big crash, in 1929….sort of a sideways update of Gordon Gecko’s “Greed is good” soliloquy

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  39. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on October 14, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    Not root for the Ravens? The only professional sports team named for a poem? C’mon, that’s pretty sweet. (And i get to read that for a kids’ story night at our downtown creepy mansion on Oct. 24th!)

    They and the Knicks make the only two teams named for works of literature as far as i can think of, Poe and Washington Irving the scribes in question.

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  40. Deborah said on October 14, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Dexter, When I was in junior high and early high school I was alarming skinny. I hated it, at the time it was super cool to have curves and I had none. Then when I was a junior in high school Twiggy became popular and suddenly my body type was in. I was happy about that, but still looked pathetic on the beach (and I grew up in Miami, FL). I still don’t have curves (in the right places anyway).

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  41. Deborah said on October 14, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    I’m on vacation in New Mexico and today my office laid off 6 more people. The last time this happened I was in Finland on vacation and they laid off 10 or 12 people that time. I’m going to quit going on vacation. Hopefully I’ll have a job when I get back. They laid off every other person in my department so far. I expected to have gotten the axe a long time ago. Times are tough in the design world.

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  42. Joe Kobiela said on October 14, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    Forgive Brother Dave K, he was dropped on his head when he was little.
    Do you think we would be hearing such a out cry over investing in the NFL if it was Al Sharpton or Jessie Jackson??
    Ken Levine’s last two post are extremely funny.
    Pilot Joe

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  43. Danny said on October 14, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    Mary, here’s something funny. I read your last comment and I thought: “Crap, who DID he run against in the last election?” Total blank. I’m going to blame it on the fact that I think I’m coming down with some bug. I have the heat behind my eyes and am feeling weak.

    Who did he run against? I too lazy to search.

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  44. Danny said on October 14, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    Yeah, Joe, I thought little send up of Frank Capra meets Ken Kesey and Hunter S. Thompson was kind of cool. But I was wondering if someone would think I was tellin’ lies.

    Deborah, maybe it’s the vacations that are saving your job. You know, outta sight, outta mind. When you go back to work, I’d try to avoid eye contact. That’s a general rule I follow.

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  45. crazycatlady said on October 15, 2009 at 1:58 am

    I used to buy tabloids for fun. But when Princess Diana died being run down by tabloid photographers, I never spent a penny on those rags again.

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  46. brian stouder said on October 15, 2009 at 9:56 am

    by the way, one more post script about Galbraith’s lecture about macro economics and our late crash: at the book siging table I asked him why we haven’t seen more suits and ties get perp-walked out of those glass towers, and he told me that more than 1000 people were arrested and tried in the wake of the S & L crisis 25 years ago, whereas less than 100 have been arrested in our current crash.

    Things that make you “hmmmmmmmm”

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  47. LAMary said on October 15, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Phil Angelides.

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