Gee, I dunno -- brush up on job skills, figure out where the remaining $10k/month after the alimony stops might get you another place, decide whether you want to be a kept woman with some rich guy paying for your shit or not. Christ almighty, this is not an existential dilemma, except for these narcissistic assholes who think they're entitled to all their toys and privileges just because they're so damned special. But it is a decision to be made, and to paraphrase some smart guy, her choice not to make a decision in a more timely manner still qualifies as a choice.
We know why most people have no savings and have continuously refi'd their homes to make ends meet -- because they are not paid enough money at their jobs to get them by, much less ahead, because income disparity is a sport in this country. But if you're paying an interest-only mortgage on a $2.2 mil house, and not putting away a dime of your household income, you're a fuckin' moron. Maybe you can take it in the shorts and live in a measly one million dollar house, live within your means, sock away part of the difference. If she thinks she's terrified now, wait till she sees what the other 99% of the country have already been going through, how they live day-to-day. Since her life has been a lark anyway, perhaps she can continue down that road and make some serious cash, instead of dumping it into her money-pit boutique.
I'm not sure why we're supposed to feel much sympathy for people who lived as if they thought gravity would never apply to them, and to his credit, I don't think Stein sympathizes much beyond the normal bounds of friendship. Still. This is a person who, despite what she thinks, has options beyond the literal destitution that faces a lot of Americans right now. It's just that she may have to work for her living, and live within her means, which is actually easier to do when your income is earned rather than merely glommed or absorbed. Better to eke by on macaroni & cheese on your own than to fuck some guy with a platinum card 'cause he takes you to Le Dome.
But what's really kind of hilarious is Stein's pale hints to his son, who sounds like a bit of a layabout:
I guess the rich really are different from the rest of us, because in my family, you don't get married until you have some means of supporting yourselves, unless of course you knock her up and have to do the right thing. But it's funny that Stein, who began his career in the Nixon administration, and has pontificated on "conservative" values ever since then to the passive mass of rubes, has himself apparently raised an overprivileged veal. Young Vealstein is capable of getting Daddy to put him through finishing school and pay his way through life until he lands a sweet gig as Jonah Goldberg's intern, but apparently unable to fathom the very idea that his own father and grandfather made their careers propounding -- that there is no free lunch, that all your toys and treats are not entitlements, but must be earned.
It's hard to find much besides disdain and embarrassment for people whose raisin-detree is preaching the values of hard work and thrift to the peons, yet are completely incapable of passing those things on to their own progeny. Rules, as always, are for little people, the better to keep them from waking up and crashing the gates.
Stein's "kids today" plaints fall on deaf ears here. I started working when I was thirteen, pushing around a roto-tiller bigger than myself in 100º heat for three bucks an hour. I give far less than a fuck about Junior's Blackberry and cell privileges, or if he has to work a night job to get through school. You just know Stein's inclination is to use his connections to get the kid a gig at one of the winger welfare clinics, but like his profligate female friend, Stein has to decide whether he wants his kid to actually contribute something of value to society, or just be a puling, useless pud who never has to earn an honest living.
Now, Rich's countermelody initially sounds the usual anti-fat-cat tocsin as if he assumes Obama is serious about doing something meaningful about it all.
Ahem. I don't recall Obama even asking "Paris Hilton" to set aside childish things. Instead, he seemed to be referring to it in the collective sense, as if we were all in this together. And we're not; I have no interest in bailing out bookies. The problem is, unless there is proportionate accountability -- that is, rather than spreading the pain and making sure everyone gets a fat dose, real accountability is doled out according to the level of venality or stupidity that caused the problem -- Obama's homilies are a meaningless rhetorical wave.
The millions of Americans who played by the rules, worked hard, paid their bills, lived within their means, kept their eye on the ball, should not be asked to pay for John Thain's $1400 wastebasket. Thain should either be pushing ass out of prison for the next few years, or figuring out how to live out of that fucking wastebasket, rather than simply having to recalc his net worth from eight figures to seven and figuring out how to get by on such a pittance, while the rest of us bail out his worthless ass. I hear a lot of complaining about them, but so far, no substantial proposals for what to do about them. These people are thieves; fuck 'em.
It's not entirely unfair to bring up a useless cipher like Paris Hilton (whose hotel chain, let's recall, was snapped up by the Blackstone Group before the latter's insolvency), a person whose very presence is a reasonable indicator of the malignant narcissism of the culture overall. There's a broad streak of self-regard, without any self-awareness, undergirding popular culture and perception. That does need to change, and it appears that it will, much to the unwitting chagrin of people like Ben Stein's hapless acquaintance, unsure of life on the outside without weekly mani/pedi visits and therapeutic shopping sessions on her sugar daddy's titanium card.
This is the moral and intellectual paradigm, this rigorous asceticism that Stein and his ilk have been tediously preaching about ever since their Atlas Shrugged circle jerks back in college. Well, some of us knew these things already without being lectured by hypocrites, without going through life expecting everyone else to pick up the tab when it came due. It's their soggy biscuit; let them choke on it.