Saturday, July 25, 2020

The Slums of Southampton

The New York Times doesn’t make a habit of editing quotes after they’ve appeared in stories. But something tells me they made an exception in this case, for the safety of this woman and her family, who was featured in the first paragraph in the heart-wrenching and highly relatable piece "Turning a Second Home Into a Primary Home":
“We aren't wealthy people with a very big Hamptons home, but it's beautiful to us," said Ms. Fischer, who divides her time between Manhattan and Southampton. Although her family only went to the Long Island property seven times last year, they now plan to remain there at least through October. “This experience has rekindled our love for this house,” she said. 
A colleague shared the article on Facebook -- not even highlighting that quote -- offering a more accurate headline:
Rich White People: My Pandemic Purgatory
And a friend of mine wrote:
this is by my rough count the third story in four days spotlighting the incredible benefits well-to-do people have during this crisis. has a socialist taken over the paper???? : )
The story's comments thread went nuts and was eventually closed. And at some point, the laughable part of Ms. Fischer's statement was deleted.

When I shared the tale of the mysteriously disappearing quote, an interior designer friend of mine responded:
Ha ha ha ha. Back when I worked in a fancy decorator's office I explained it as scale. No one thinks of themselves in isolation, but how they compare to their peers. So, a Centimillionaire believes she's middle class when rubbing shoulders with her billionaire friends. We'd see examples of this all of the time. One of my favorite lines was, "Look. There are a lot of rich people in this town and they all want the same things. So, take a number and get in line."
Turns out Ms. Fischer is Sally Fischer, the founder of Sally Fischer Public Relations, which specializes in “image consulting,” among other things. (I know!)

I have no insight about what led the Times to bend its rule let alone any real desire to defend the tone deaf. But I wonder if people (wrongly) assuming the family and the house in the preview photo (seen above) was Ms. Fischer(‘s) had something to do with it. I don't wish this woman any ill will. But here's hoping she learned a lesson in self-awareness.

FYI: Here is Ms. Fischer in her Southampton shack. 


JP Aragon said...

This was an unintentional funny article

Doug Mac said...

This tone-deaf article from March was how to stock your pantry for a pandemic. SMH
I commented and was suprised the number of people who thought there was nothing wrong with it.

Doug Mac said...

This was a SMH tone-deaf article from March about stocking your pantry during Covid.

Anonymous said...

Yes--They are comparing themselves UP not DOWN-economic wise-instead of totality...One could be so lucky...The picture of her posing on the rock, she looks like a Karan...

Bill said...

I suppose it's a matter of perspective. If you're worth ten million dollars and all your friends are worth fifty million dollars, you're going to feel poor. (laughably)

Rix said...

In "Wall Street" when Bud has to dump his penthouse condo, that he dropped 2 million in'87 on, his agent told him about a bad market and "even the rich are bitching" is along this line.

To me middle class is anyone that earns over 40k (adjusted for zip code) and must to go to work to maintain their life style.

M. A. Gay said...

So brave...