Wednesday, December 26, 2012

There's a big scandal in Rich People World today. Evidently sad regular-person Callie Schweitzer was Facebook Friends with Randi Zuckerberg -- Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's sister -- but didn't fully comprehend the privilege and responsibility that entailed. When Randi posted a holiday snapshot of a casual sibling scene, silly Callie tweeted it, without realizing that Randi's post was intended for a select few while Callie's went out to the entire unwashed world.

Needless to say, artisanal shit is hitting the fan.

"You reposting [this photo] to Twitter is way uncool," Randi wrote. "Genuinely sorry," Callie replied, perhaps after discovering a flaming Birkin bag full of dog poop on her doorstep.

While others will wring their hands about privacy and irony, the rest of us will seize the opportunity to gaze into a rarefied world that ordinarily locks us out. It's clear from the hubbub that this is an extraordinary opportunity to inspect ├╝ber-rich American life that we're probably never going to see again, so let's take squeeze every bit of information out of it.

This is quite unlike any Christmas we know, since we don't see any beer cans and the men are wearing shirts with sleeves. These are people from society's highest echelon: they have an oven on top of their oven, presumably so their stuffing doesn't get cramped, and they probably don't cry when they see the AFTER photos in Sears Cabinet Refinishing ads.

Clearly there are benefits to being related to one of the world's richest men, because the scarcest of the world's riches are available to them. In the upper stove, a wildebeest roast cooks. In the lower is a chupacabra steak. The dog is a special breed that has a face on both ends, and Mark has just given them iPhones with working maps.

These people rejoice in their privilege. The hunky dude in the black t-shirt is married to Mark's pregnant sister, I'm thinking, because he couldn't get further away from her without adding another wing onto the house. He used to be just another married guy until Mark bought him a Harley Davidson and he became the world's four millionth accountant/outlaw.

Mark's two sisters, on the left and right, hear pings on their iPhones and discover notes from Amazon saying they've just been given $2.7 million dollar gift certificates. The sister on the left is picturing herself in a new Miata. The pregnant one is seconds away from ordering the book, Why Do Husbands Cheat? Sadly, the book will arrive too late, because in ten minutes her hubby is going to putter back to that truckstop where they serve artisanal S'Mores and keep tilting at the windmill of Getting A Waitress To Let Him Touch Her Boobs.

Mark's personal assistant, in red, gasps at his tweet that extra help has been hired and this year she won't have to eat out front with a hose in her hand to keep the neighbor's Moodle from stepping on their lawn.

Perhaps your forehead furrows when you examine the kitchen. You're just getting over your Massive Island Envy when you notice that right next to the big faucet for big vegetables there's a small faucet for small vegetables. Why is there a brown towel crumpled on the countertop? Because just out of view there's an Asian woman named Thaksincha who's giving everyone foot massages after every fourteenth step.

Oddly, though, after about half an hour spent analyzing this photo, our envy fades. These folks aren't in any better shape than we are: They drink from mismatched glasses. They join J. Crew focus groups just to get experimental sweatpants. They have hairstyles designed to stay out of the way when they puke. When their brussels sprouts are finally done they're going to discover that you can't repurpose a plastic dog toy as a trivet.

We pause and wonder. Are they, indeed, better off than we are? Are their lives more enjoyable because of their untold wealth? Do they deserve our envy or our pity?

We're on the fence. We can't decide. It's when we notice that they're serving three types of salsa that we buy a bus ticket to Palo Alto and start looking around for rocks.

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