Playing Poor, the National Pastime

It’s the best proven technique: “I can’t imagine Fox News Channel or friend of Fox News Channel having some fancy ‘launch party’ at a fancy NYC upper east side address with a bunch of celebrities for a new cable news show,” says Greta van Susteren. (A patently untrue thing, as those of us who were there for the last one will recall.) She now makes north of a million dollars a year; I’m sure she’s never been to a fancy party with celebrities in her life. (She also works for someone who rents out his boat for $300,000 a week, you know.) This poor-acting is maybe something she picked up from her husband’s time working for Sarah Palin — Palin (and Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck) all love to play the Common People, even while their annual salaries are literally in the tens of million a year. It’s sort of maddening! Not because they shouldn’t be rich, because, why not, but because it hasn’t actually seemed obvious to everyone in America that millionaires are impersonating them while telling them what they should think as fellow working people! (I feel this way about Bill Clinton somewhat too, to be fair.) What’s really nuts-making is: if we live in a country with so much class resentment against rich people — on both the “left” and the “right” — why can’t we actually use it to gin up some class warfare? It is probably because everyone can’t tear themselves away from the teevee.