A lot of people are upset with Donald Trump because he doesn’t believe that lower taxes are the be-all end-all of human flourishing. What he seems to think instead is that upper middle-class white liberals can probably afford to pay just a wee bit more every April.
I agree that they have too much extra cash on their hands. I am not a libertarian. Some appetites are intrinsically disordered, and it is the proper role of the state to rein them in. For example:
Recent Stories in Culture
1. Luxury jogging strollers
I see these all the time in my home base in Alexandria, Va., where I live well below the median income level. The Cult of Health plus the commodification of childrearing = evil.
2. Adult "sleepaway" camp
I’ll let this paragraph from the "Our Story" page at Camp No Counselors speak for itself:
We arrived at the camp in Upstate New York with no expectations and left the weekend recharged, alive and inspired by the amazing circle of new friends that we had all made. I watched in awe as we disconnected from our day-to-day lives and truly connected with each other, collectively becoming carefree kids once again. Epic dodgeball showdowns, tug of war matches, stellar slip ‘n slide runs, dance-offs under the stars and of course, Color War, became our weekend currency.
3. Expensive athletic wear
Like the Russians, I am a proponent of banning most forms of athletic wear. Many of you, especially the editor of this publication, may disagree with this extreme stance, but I defy anyone to explain to me why our tax code should reward people who spend more than $200 on exercise pants.
4. Dog hotels
To be honest, this whole post could have been about dogs: dog clothes, dog strollers, dog car seats, premium refrigerated dog food, dog yoga, and so on. There is something about the psyche of the late capitalist conspicuous consumer (LCCC) that will never make sense to me; I defer to the wisdom of scholars. Anyway, it was a tough call, but I think dog hotels are probably the worst of the lot—probably.
"D Pet Hotels offers modern 5 star luxury dog boarding, accommodations and amenities for your most precious companions while you are away on work or play": Satanic. Make them pay!
5. Candles that promise "a rich tapestry of scent"
Wow, glad those matches come gratis.
Let’s just say that "Black Brunch" has been the highlight of my year so far. Spending $100-plus on sushi and (usually bad) sparkling wine cut with orange juice is gross any time of day, but for breakfast? I’ll stick with sausage, eggs, toast, coffee, and, no doubt, coronary heart disease.
7. Apple Watch bands
The only thing dorkier than an adult with a whiz-kid device out of some Cartoon Network show is the same adult buying an expensive band for it because he wants to pretend that it’s a normal watch.
8. "Home Delivery + All Digital Access" New York Times subscriptions
I once left the bar at the Kennedy Center, where someone else was buying me expensive drinks, because I heard the words "Frank Bruni’s column."
9. Fancy versions of normal foods
Yes, food again. Caviar tacos, $60 hamburgers ("sauteed foie gras, shaved truffles, and black Perigord truffle sauce"), French fries with goat cheese and raspberry sauce or wasabi ketchup: there is too much money in the hands of people whose idea of a good meal is an expensive version of a lowbrow or childish one. Call the tax collector!
I had to check Wikipedia to make sure they still haven't broken up. Two-hundred dollars to see these losers? Ugh. If you’ve been led astray by Pitchfork, I sympathize. But trust me: Pavement, Guided By Voices, Dinosaur Jr., Modest Mouse, Neutral Milk Hotel, Archers of Loaf, Apples in Stereo, Incesticide-era Nirvana, Hole (yup!)—there was a lot of great indie music in the ’90s. Thom Yorke didn’t write any of it.