Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote this:
Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different.
William Gibson took it a step further. First with the Tessier-Ashpools in Neuromancer and then with Virek in Count Zero, his argument was that they weren’t really human at all anymore (or that they won’t be in the relatively near future).
This weekend the big story has been the appalling racist rantings of the LA Clippers’ billionaire owner, Donald Sterling. As the story has unfolded, those of us looking underneath the surface story might have reason to reflect on Fitzgerald and Gibson.
If you’ve listened to the audio, you hear Sterling telling his girlfriend that he doesn’t care if she associates with blacks so long as she doesn’t embarrass him by doing it in public.
“I think the fact that you admire [Magic] — I’ve known him well, and he should be admired,” Sterling replies. “And I’m just saying that it’s too bad you can’t admire him privately. And during your ENTIRE FUCKING LIFE, your whole life, admire him — bring him here, feed him, fuck him, I don’t care. You can do anything. But don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games. OK?”
Wait – she can fuck him and he doesn’t care?
Now, understand that while we’re talking about Sterling and his girlfriend, he’s also married. And Mrs. Sterling apparently knows all about the mistress.
Donald Sterling’s wife of more than 50 years describes his alleged mistress as a gold digger who seduces older, wealthy men and persuades them to shower her with gifts, according to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on March 7.
So, to sum up: They’re married. And he has a tootsie on the side. And she knows all about. And he doesn’t care if the tootsie is fucking black men. In his house. And she apparently is suing the tootsie to get their stuff back but is not suing him for divorce.
Do I have it about right?
I know that not everybody is like me, and I don’t judge. But the more I learn about this crowd the more it seems like Fitzgerald and Gibson were onto something. Whether or not “the rich” are like “us” I can’t really say, but these particular rich aren’t like the people I know and me, of that much I’m certain.
It’s a shame that the rich don’t do Jerry Springer, huh? Because this would be a flamethrower.