November 26, 2008

"We Hate Your Kids, The Poors, The Panic of '08, Journalismism, New York Times, The Rich."

Tags on this Gawker post -- "The Infuriating New Face Of Poverty" -- about a truly absurd NYT article headlined "To Buy Children’s Gifts, Mothers Do Without."


save_the_rustbelt said...

Come to Michigan or Ohio, and I will show you real poverty.

Desinger jeans? God almighty, has everyone in Manhattan gone brain dead?

Tibore said...

Well, in the NYTimes defense, the story is really about the impact of such decisions on retailers. It's not supposed to be a sob story of people cutting back. That's why it's in the "Your Money" section.

That said, the story does come off as a whiney one about supposed hardships of people that in reality are actually well off, despite the fact that it's not supposed to be that. The headline sure as hell doesn't convince me otherwise. As I read the piece, I couldn't help but think "Where's the 'Out of Touch' tag"? Because it sure feels like it was written by some well-heeled writer observing other well-to-do families; it just felt so insular.

Bissage said...

"It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times."

-- Stupid Monkey

Henry said...

It's like The Gift of the Magi and The Little Matchgirl put together. Except for the pawn shop and freezing-to-death parts.

Freeman Hunt said...

Well, now who are we to judge how tragic the story really is without a picture of how fabulous those designer jeans looked on Ms. Hunt?


This is just a badly written article about family budget cutbacks affecting the fashion industry.

George M. Spencer said...

I've read anecdotal comments on-line from people who say the malls are filled with people shopping.

Those are the folks who haven't gotten the message yet.

This will be a long wrenching re-adjustment, destroying and creating entire new industries, intensifying the creation of new winners and losers. For example, yesterday one of the big NY book publishers announced it was enacting a 'freeze' on buying new manuscripts. Say what? That's like a bread company saying it's not buying more wheat. The whole publishing-on-paper model isn't ending, but it's going to have some radical shift that will continue the dislocation from the old industry model to the new on-line one. Multiply that for a zillion other businesses.

Whether this will be a depression or not no one knows, but it will not look like the one in the 1930s. It will look different.

MadisonMan said...

The only thing missing is a picture of McKenna's (oy, what a name) Mom clutching her pearls and wailing how tough things are.

I notice there are no books in the pile of plastic crap McKenna is getting. Color me surprised.

Meade said...

With typical good humor, Freeman makes a point - fashion and consumer buying drive the economy. A downturn in the men's bra market? - you've got a pretty good indicator of a recession. Take away fabulous-looking women in designer jeans and, well yeah, now we're talking serious depression.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Stories like this and attitudes that we are in a depression make me want to scream. People today have no idea of what hard times or sacrifice are all about. Talk to anyone old enough to have experienced the Great Depression and get a clue.

Boo hoo.... McKenna can't have the latest plastic crap and Mom can't buy the latest designer jeans (made in Honduras).

Can McKenna eat food at least 2 times a day? Does McKenna have a warm place to sleep that she doesn't have to share with other adults and children? Does McKenna have shoes that fit her feet, that weren't hand me downs from 3 older siblings and that have to be lined with newspaper to keep the holes in the sole from letting dirt in? Does Mom get her hair done at a salon instead of having her husband cut it with whatever shears are available. Does Mom have to ask for cast off clothing from charity? Does Mom have to try to make a pot of beans and salt pork last for a week for food to eat and scrounge for vegetables from harvested fields? Do they live a car, live in a tent or travel trailer and have to move from place to place just to find a job?

NO??? the STFU you selfish ignorant bimbo.

The author is right. If we do have another Great Depression, it will be because we deserve it......and it might actually make us a better srtonger people.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Whoa typos.... evidently not enough coffee. It's early here folks.

Shanna said...

Desinger jeans? God almighty, has everyone in Manhattan gone brain dead?

Every time I read an article in the NY Times that discusses money or sacrifice it is ridiculous. I know there are real poor people in NY, but apparently nobody who writes for the NY Times knows any of them, and everybody knows reporters just interview their friends.

There was one the other day about somebody trying to cut back on energy prices, while buying 500 dollars worth of dog beds. There was one about food prices, where somebody bought 4 cans of 8 dollar artichokes! These idiots have no clue. They need to hire somebody at that place who has met a poor person at least once.

Ah Pooh said...

Perhaps the NY Times was trying to exhibit a sense of humor - maybe that's just above their pay grade.

ricpic said...

Good time to buy stock in Levi Strauss.

Beth said...

Whoa typos.... evidently not enough coffee.

Just be thankful you HAVE coffee!

Just kidding, but not entirely. I bought a little coffee maker for my office. No more trips across campus to the Starbucks. I'm cutting back on the frills.

kimsch said...

The Mills Mega Mall here, Gurnee Mills, will open at Midnight on Thanksgiving for the Black Friday sales. It's anchored by a Sears Grand, Bass Pro Shop, Penney's outlet, Burlington Coat Factory, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and more.

We were out last weekend, to Costco, Petsmart and Walmart and all three were packed.

This is the third time I'm posting this. I keep getting the conflicting edits error... :(

PatCA said...

I will never forget the Oprah-fied infomercial for Messiah and President Elect Obama. One of the "tragic" stories was about a widow who is just so worried about money she is counting on Change She Can Believe In to help her.

Yet she is obese. Yet she has acrylic nails.

Her avoirdupois and her acrylics are in peril! For God's sake, do something, Obama!

MadisonMan said...

I never shop on Black Friday. Who needs the aggravation of a manufactured "event" -- lots of overtired cranky parents buying the things they "have" to have.

I'll spend the morning making turkey soup, probably.

George M. Spencer said...

As for all those shoppers, do they know that credit cards rates are going up, up, up?

"In recent years, banks have sharply raised interest rates and penalty fees on credit cards. As the economy tanks and banks' mortgage-related losses balloon, some banks are stepping up such increases to boost revenue. Bearing the brunt are consumers for whom a jump in rates and fees can make it tougher to pay their bills at a time when household budgets already are being stretched.

"Revolving debt — most of it on credit cards — is soaring, topping $970 billion in September. The average household now owes $10,678 in credit card debt, up 29% from 2000, according to, a research firm.

"And more borrowers are paying their credit card bills before their mortgage bills, credit bureau data reveal, an alarming shift that suggests people are walking away from mortgages and using credit cards to get by.

"Borrowers are also piling up card debt for other necessities."

Miss a payment? You'll probably see your rate go from under 10 percent, if you're lucky, to as high as 27 percent. Then you'll be a debt slave forever......

Henry said...

Taking a larger view, this strikes me as another example of the difficulty The Times has writing about upper class mothers.

Sometimes they are portrayed as narcissistic obsessives, crowding the sidewalks with their designer strollers and upsetting coffee shop decorum with their noisy toddlers.

Other times they are naive reactionaries, smugly setting back the women's movement.

Here the attempt is made at a sympathetic portrayal, but the tone is off and the result is grating -- the mother heart in designer jeans.

This upperclass mother thing -- it's still a mystery.

holdfast said...

During the election there was a great skit on SNL (despite the presence of wooden "actor" James Franco) - it was about an assignment meeting at the NYTimes, where they were finding people to go to Alaska to dig up dirt on Palin, and it turned out that only one of them had ever left Manhattan (he fell asleep on the E train and went to Queens). Although obviously an exaggeration, there really is a lot of truth to the idea that these writers (and many of their readers) really do live in a bubble.

Bissage said...

I cried because I had no designer jeans until I met a child who had no Doodle Pro.

kjbe said...

True, hitting bottom provides the opportunity, but I'm struggling with the "if there's a next Great Depression, we've deserved it" thought. I'm not a big believer in anyone deserving anything, good or bad. If we get there, by the choices we've made, I'd prefer to say that we've earned it. There are metrics in earning something. Deserving something sounds like a judgement.

Geoff Matthews said...

Actions have consequences. Spending more than you make, inflating the value of investments, these have consequences. A depression may be one of those consequences.

If it is, then the USA does deserve it.

David said...

The NYT is lost in space. Beyond stupid, beyond parody.

Mark said...

While admittedly the NYT article is pretty comical, did any of you read the comment thread? I did and the urge to beat every one of the commenters with a tire iron was overwhelming: the smugness, the snarkiness, the poorly-hidden hope that whatever upcoming economic trouble will Bring The Whole Corrupt System Crashing Down... I'm glad I usually don't read Gawker.

Freeman Hunt said...

The Doodle Pro is probably one of the most used toys in our house. I am asked to draw octagons and write words, usually "No," dozens of times a day. I had to forgo a designer hair elastic to buy it.

Anonymous said...


I couldn't get past the first two paragraphs.

Instead of buying her daughter plastic crap, maybe mom should buy herself a clue.

Donna B. said...

Of course the story comes off as whiny, but I think it's quite accurate. Economic slumps don't hit the middling well-off nearly as hard as they hit the poorer folks.

Maybe that's not even true. I remember my Dad saying about the Great Depression that he didn't realize it was a big deal because they were poor before it happened.

You do have to have something to lose before a loss has an impact.

This year, we made our Christmas plans while gasoline was near $4/gal. We decided then that we'd rather spend the money on being with each other than on gifts. Just because gasoline has gone down hasn't really changed our minds so much. We are enjoying the non-stress of not having to think of what to buy for each other.

And we're really enjoying the extra freedom to spend a little more on the children.

From Inwood said...

To paraphrase Wilde, a man would have to have a heart of stone not to laugh at this woman's plight.

The reporter thinks that she is the Dickens, Chekhov, or O. Henry of the 21st Century.

Hey, the UWS Marie Antionette: "let 'em wear Target".

Anyway, these stories will not appear next XMAS when The One is POTUS.

From Inwood said...

Um, make that "Antoinette"

dick said...

I liked it that in my family the adults bought one gift for their significant other and that took care of all the adult gifts.

Any other gifts were for the kids and tended more to the practical than toys. There were some toys but not too many. We got more fun from things we made up on our own than we did from the toys.

All makes me think that I was blessed with the childhood I had.