The confusing state of luxury

Cover of "Stephen King's The Stand"

In Stephen King’s The Stand, one of the characters ponders the uselessness of certain disciplines in the United States’s modern economy. Traversing a world ravaged by the superbug Captain Trips, where only a few survivors remain to produce life’s barest essentials of food and water and struggle to fend off extinction, an advanced degree in ancient American Indian studies becomes a frivolous luxury item. Economic reality is forcing self-indulgent nations of the European Union to confront their own unproductive lifestyles and make major changes in the complacent charade of unsustainable luxuries they call their economies. But instead of being ravaged by a virulent superbug, they’re ravaged by the glorification of the Seven Deadly Sins as high art worthy of the fullest exploitation. The European Union isn’t alone in this.

The United States still has very productive sectors of the economy, but mass lethargy is consuming more of the population as the worship of entitlement persists. The inability to discern luxury from necessity drives cults of personality emanating from the supreme navel gazing that has replaced serious thought in this country. Only over this foundation could the cultural phenomenon of people who are famous for being famous exist. This includes the current President of the United States.

Having propped up then taken advantage of this phenomenon to help put Obama in office, Maureen Down of the NY Times suddenly laments this current state of affairs. She begins her latest column with a litany of the cracks and fissures in the crumbling infrastructures of the Obama presidency, ranging from liberal disappointments to internal party mutiny. Getting to the crux of her concern:   Continue reading