by Beverly Eakman
September 30, 2009
First it was the phony “population time bomb.” By the year 2000, the planet wouldn’t be able to sustain itself, experts said.
Yikes! People can’t keep on procreating at the 1950s-70s rate, we were told! Americans should serve as an example to the rest of the world, by golly!
Of course, the only folks who took such hogwash seriously were feminists and self-styled intellectuals, mostly college-educated, who supposedly had better things to do with their time than wipe runny noses. Meanwhile, the “unenlightened” classes, the burgeoning illegal alien population, and Third Worlders continued merrily onward, building large families. Today, the U.S. and the free world barely manage (or not) to eke out replacement-level fertility rates. The college-educated knuckleheads who bought into snake-oil logic (and what few progeny they produced) today wring their hands over their biological time clocks, while showering their largesse upon fertility clinics, whose staff are laughing all the way to the bank.
Then we had a phony housing “crisis,” followed by a bubble that sent even tiny, two-bedroom, split-level homes soaring into the financial stratosphere. Investors loved it. This, of course, led to outcries about housing no longer being “affordable,” so our government, spearheaded by the likes of Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) goaded Phony Fannie Mae and Phony Freddie Mac into providing megabuck mortgages to down-and-outers who never saw a plasma screen they couldn't buy on credit, much less a house. The trickle-down (or, maybe that should be “trickle-up”?) effect was that most of the population began buying better houses than they could afford, with the expectation that their “investments” would increase forever, allowing them to retire in luxury.
Meanwhile, we had phony science — “global warming,” which was later found to include more than a decade of cooling, but never mind. Just change the term to “climate change” and be done with it!
The phony alarmists managed to maintain credibility, thanks to a whole generation of poorly-schooled young adults who were unable to see far enough through the fog of their own preconceived (or, rather, “indoctrinated”) ideas to get riled up over misrepresented legislation like “Cap-and-Trade,” among other draconian transfer-of-wealth schemes. Dim bulbs like country singer Sheryl Crowe did her part by telling Americans to use just one square of toilet paper, as if that would save the planet, while a “C” student in science named “Al” won the Nobel Prize for pontification.
Today, nonstop giveaways and bailouts are foisted onto the populace by a predominantly socialist Congress with the United Nations as cheerleaders.
We also have a new crisis: a sudden epidemic of mental illnesses and phony brain disorders, landing nearly one-third of school children on medications they don’t need and can’t tolerate, and which are now suspected of producing some of the very violent behaviors they were purported to cure.
Or how about those phony “traffic safety” cameras, which most state and city officials now admit are aimed at raising revenue, not saving lives.
Not to be outdone on the absurdity circuit, this summer we were treated to the First Lady’s phony effort at thrift. She bought a knockoff on a $6,000 designer purse for the meager sum of $875 when she could have afforded the real thing. In so doing, Mrs. Obama was hailed by the mainstream media for being a role model for frugality during the nation’s economic turndown.
Um, just out of curiosity, how many readers, even well-heeled readers, have paid $875.00 for a purse — and then had the temerity to call said purchase “affordable” or “thrifty”? Or how about sneakers, at $540.00 a pop? If you want a recipe for divorce, believe me this could be it!
The Washington Times’ “Culture etc.” column (see: column here), among many other news outlets, reported the brouhaha (presumably, with a “straight face”), citing the First Lady’s commitment to frugality. “Mrs. [Michelle] Obama is often credited for her frugality because she mixes her designer duds with clothing from mass retailer[s]…,” wrote columnist Amanda Carpenter.
The President’s wife even went so far as to volunteer at a food bank — wearing the $540.00 sneakers. As for the purse in question, the first lady apparently caught some flack for carrying what some thought was the nearly $6,000 bag, when it was revealed that it was “only” a really good knock-off for half the price. Which goes to show, most people can’t tell an $800 bag from a $6,000 one.
Now, all this isn’t to suggest that the American public do all its shopping at Wal-Mart or the bargain basement. It is to point out that “frugality” and “affordability” are in the eye of the beholder — and that such terms typically don’t run to the kind of money Mrs. Obama paid for her purse and sneakers. Nancy Reagan caught more than just flack when she purchased some much-needed new china—for the White House, not for herself. She didn’t take it with her, like the Clintons later swooped up various “trinkets.” Mrs. Reagan never pretended to be “frugal.” A former actress could well afford what she wanted.
The level of pretense among liberals — oh, let’s just call ’em like we see ’em: Stalinist-era elitists, with their dachas on the Black Sea — is beyond mere arrogance. Even here in snobbish Washington, DC, I do not see middle-class (or even upper middle-class) folks walking around in $600 shoes or carrying $800 purses. In fact, department stores and shops that once carried such goods (Garfinkles, Alcott & Andrews) have long since closed their doors, save for a few hold-outs dotted around that cater to the extremely wealthy (upwards of $200 million per year) and are usually nearly empty of customers.
No wonder Michelle Obama is at long last “proud” of her country. She can carry a nearly $875 designer knockoff and get the media to call her “frugal.” If that’s frugal, then Camp David is “affordable housing.”
© 2009 Beverly Eakman - All Rights Reserved
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Beverly K. Eakman is a former speechwriter for the Voice of America (under the U.S. Information Agency) as well as for the late Chief Justice Warren E. Burger when he chaired the Commission of the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution, and then a writer for the U.S. Dept. of Justice. Since retiring from the federal government, she has won numerous awards and is a sought-after speaker and lecturer.
She is the author of three best-selling books on education policy, mental-health issues and data-trafficking. She is a free-lance columnist with dozens of feature articles in hard-cover publications to her credit. She began her career as a teacher, where she first got wind, in the 1960’s and 70’s, of what was about to happen to classrooms nationwide. Her writings citing that period are considered historically important today and have earned her nationwide recognition.
She can be reached through her website: