Rich people are being demonized? Boo hoo

You would never guess from all the talk of demonization that the rich enjoy perhaps the strongest PR machine on the planet, far beyond their entourages of agents, publicists and assorted image-makers. The mainstream media, for example, are not owned by collectives of busboys and taxi drivers, and even the “liberal” outlets among them are not pitched toward the impecunious. They may snicker when the occasional hedge fund manager is brought to justice, but they’ve been equally snarky about populist actions against the rich, such as the ongoing occupation of Wall Street, which is newsworthy if only for the levels of brutality it’s elicited from the NYPD. Or did you know that the Transportation Security Administration just won union representation this summer? Probably not, because that’s “labor news,” which has been all but supplanted by “business news.”

In fact, if you keep your ears open, you can hear the praises of the rich ringing out almost everywhere. Evangelical Christianity, for example, once harbored an ancient biblical bias in favor of the poor, but now, at least in its high-profile megachurch manifestations, it has abandoned the book of Matthew for a “prosperity gospel” that counts wealth as a mark of God’s favor…

Flaunting is fashionable again, even when it flouts common sense. The Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer is selling a diamond-accented, gold- or titanium-covered smartphone for $6,700, although it’s technologically less capable than a Samsung for about 2 percent of that price. Or for excess on a scale beyond wretched, consider Daphne Guinness, profiled at length in this past week’s New Yorker, who is apparently best known for wearing clothes, which she draws from a wardrobe of 2,500 garments, 450 pairs of shoes and 200 handbags. On the day she was interviewed, she wore a high-collared, presumably bespoke shirt by uber-designer Alexander McQueen, “a pave diamond brooch,” silver sheaths on two of her fingers and “custom-made sparkly silver Mary Janes, with a three inch platform under the toe” — not the heel, the toe. Well, to each her own, but she might as well walk around Manhattan wearing a sign saying “My husband stole your pension.”