The Problem with the New Culture War is Being on the Side of the $50,000 Fish Tank


Within a stone’s throw* of Ground Zero, Manhattanites are building $50,000 fish tanks so they can watch thousands of dollars worth of fish swim around. This fun ’n’ lurid offense against the dignity of hominids and aquatic vertebrate alike is the subject of an adorable story that we should probably designate as When People Have Too Much Inequitably Distributed Wealth Here At The End Of Civilization, Chapter 54. (This is what’s often terrific about the Times’ “Home & Garden” section, by the way-it adroitly handles rich people topics that Styles too often gets all tangled up in, what with Styles’ trademark combination of resentment and lust.) So in their $4.1 million two-bedroom, which will probably retain some of that purchase price’s value, our gays like Ryan Nickulas are living the dream of inventing new ways to spend their money. (To be fair, those sort of gays also give money to gay homeless youth programs! So!) Anyway, it’s fascinating how this sort of thing comes to pass, and more fascinating to note that luxury spending of the recent past is un-regretted-and that current luxury spending is chugging along just fine. The other day a luxury car dealer told me that he had just sold a $1.5 million two-tone Maybach convertible. (Mmm hmm, the back half opens up.) That just isn’t right. But the real problem with all this is since everything is all Us V. Them Culture War right now, we have to be on the side of the fish tank owners. I guess? (I mean, did you or did you not recently spend $9 to $12 on a cocktail, my dear New Yorkers, in what would have been the shadows of the Twin Towers* ?) Complicated!