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9.24.2009

L2E Vanity Fair: The Rich Have Feelings, Too



Letter to the Editor: Tom Wolfe
Original Vanity Fair Article

Tom Wolfe wrote an article in the September issue of Vanity Fair, which I am just now getting to. (Yes, I know a tad late). Wolfe does an excellent dramatization (with truth to it) that parodies the rise and fall of those overly wealthy motor execs at the height of the recession, when resulting to begging for government bailouts forced them to downgrade from private jets to commercial aircrafts—like we, the taxpayers, that they were requesting the government strip of our money. Do I sound bitter? I’m not bitter.

So in the first person narrative of an imaginary motor company exec, Wolfe rants and raves about the beauty of flying out of general aviation airports in the company’s private jet, from New York to Washington D.C. Washington for goodness sakes! Wait, do I sound bitter again? I mean this imaginary exec boasts of the in-air chauffeurs and servants who are basically string puppets bowing at the feet of the CEOs and top level employees.

What killed me was the reference to female flight attendants as “Geisha girls in the sky,” prepared to succumb to any and every passenger’s flights of fancy. Disgusting...umm ya. But above all, I almost fell out of my chair when the climax was building, and Wolfe’s imaginary exec was forced to take his first flight aboard a “commercial aircraft.” He spoke of the porters as zookeepers and the security checkpoints were the detestable innards of a colon, each line reminiscent of the dark abysses of hell. Hello! Dramatic enough?! In fact, this imaginary pompous exec even termed them as blobs, folding over like fat rolls, one on top of the other! And if that weren’t enough, the crash and burn of the whole experience was when his company’s CEO , Corky McCorkle (fake name of course), was degraded in the airport lines because he was treated like us “regular folk,” and eventually asked to resign from the company, without putting up so much as a fight. The moral of the story: “Rich people have feelings too.” Ha! Now that’s classic.

Kudos to Tom Wolfe…I enjoyed it.

Favorite Quote: “It’s almost like seeing a guy show up at the soup kitchen in a high hat and a tuxedo. Couldn’t you all have downgraded to first class or jet-pooled or something to get here?” Said by congressman Gary Ackerman when CEOs from GM, Ford, and Chrysler showed up in Washington with hands out for bailouts.

Favorite New Definition: “Tarantula,” a term from 19th century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche used for people who are consumed by resentment. Nietzsche called it one of the human’s deepest and darkest motivations, cultivating a grade of people who are unable to be great men themselves and so burn with a feverish fervor to destroy the reputations of those who are.


Read the original article here