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April 26, 2006

Mrs. Attila reads the Times so you don't have to

After watching her husband write Pillage Idiot for the past year and a half, Mrs. Attila still doesn't appreciate the beauty -- the austere beauty -- of blogging about extremely immature subjects. But she still likes reading the New York Times, delivered daily, which is more than I can say for the rest of us. And she still enjoys reading me the good ones.

So thanks to her, I have a nice tidbit for you today.

It may surprise you, but I haven't watched any episodes of "My Super Sweet 16" on MTV, a reality show that, according to the Times, "follows teenagers as they painstakingly plan their elaborate celebrations (which can cost as much as $200,000), argue over the details with their parents, fret over guest lists and shop for their first cars. There are tears and tantrums and nouveau-riche displays of conspicuous consumption."

The Times quotes the former Wonkette and current pathetic novelist, Ana Marie Cox, who's a critic of the show. (I mean, who could possibly object to it?) Cox opines:

"Their blingy flings are not celebrations of accomplishment; they're celebrations of self," Ana Marie Cox, a Time magazine columnist, wrote in this week's issue. "What used to mark the end of childhood now seems only an excuse to prolong the whiny, self-centered greediness that gives infantile a bad name." Ms. Cox compared watching the show to eating an entire sheet cake, "wax decorative candles and all."
To show that one who's rich and powerful enough to pull strings need not spend huge sums in order to engage in conspicuous consumption, one father, "music mogul L.A. Reid," boasted of not spending a lot on his son's party:

"Everybody else spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, but I didn't spend anything," Mr. Reid said proudly. "I got my friend's club. I got my friend to perform and I got my friend to D.J."

"There's absolutely no way that I would ever spend that type of money," he continued. "I think it's over the top and sickening and a real poor representation of wealth."
But it's not just the outflow of money; it's the colossal tackiness of the whole thing. And then again, it's also the outflow of money.

"Dr. Srinivasa Rao Kothapalli, a prominent cardiologist in Beaumont, Tex., is more than willing to relinquish his checkbook," the Times notes. He's having a joint birthday-graduation party for his 16- and 18-year-old daughters, a small affair for 500 in his 4-1/2 acre backyard. And this is my wife's favorite part of the article:
"We both want to lose three pounds," said Priya [the 16-year-old], who received a Mercedes convertible and an assortment of diamond jewelry for her birthday. Her sister's graduation gift package included a Bentley, diamonds and two homes in India.

"I was really surprised," Divya said, "because I was only expecting a Bentley and one house."
And my wife's final remark on the subject? "I'm sure glad none of these people are Jewish."

UPDATE (4/27): Here's an angle not covered in the Times: a girl with a staff and a publicist, as well as a mom and dad: "The marketing of Marissa Leigh, age 16, is a job that employs 12 people." And her sweet 16 party cost only $150,000. (Via BOTWT)