Monday, April 19, 2010

Unhedged or Unhinged

Neither of these images has anything to do with my blog topic. I think it's really fabulous what google image comes up with when you put in a word. (left--unhedged) (right--unhinged) Also there was no way that I was going to put up the Glenn Beck photo and give that guy any more publicity. 

For the past few months Forbes Magazine has regularly appeared in my mail. I dutifully collect and stack them in my husband’s inbox. This past week I mentioned to him that HIS ever-growing stack was spilling onto the floor. He told me that Forbes was MY magazine. Dumbfounded, I looked at the address label and sure enough, my name is on it. I NEVER would subscribe to such a magazine. Perhaps this is some prankster’s a.k.a. a friend’s idea of a joke.

I’m not sure what possessed me to actually read an issue, but this week’s cover story featured Glenn Beck dressed in a conservative pin-striped suit chalked with dollar signs. Beck flaunts the incriminating evidence. Smiling smugly at the camera, chalk in hand, he knows he’s been bad and doesn’t care one bit.

This should have been my first clue to just pitch the magazine. I read further. On page 62, there is an article entitled Downshift. Maybe you get axed or maybe you decide to quit the rat race. What happens when you trade in your high-income lifestyle for something different? Forbes interviewed several ‘downshifters’ to see what life is like after a big change. The opening picture is a guy with a towheaded kid on a tropical beach. This should have been another GLARING clue to just burn the magazine.

I read further. I wonder who comprises the audience for this magazine. I always thought Forbes was in the same vein as Business Week. Forbes must cater to the top .00005% of the population who make more than 7 figures per year. It reminds me of when I read Women’s Health and expected to read about… I don’t know—health and instead saw article after article about sex.

Am I supposed to feel SORRY for the ex-hedger, who at age 38 lost his job and moved into a 3 bedroom home in the Bahamas? Is this supposed to be slumming it? It sounds pretty cushy to me. He enrolled his kids in the village school and started a soccer league. I applaud his altruism, but he hasn’t exactly experienced any REAL hardship. Since the island doesn’t have a hospital, he has contracted with a private airline company to airlift his family out in case of an emergency. (The article references his previous 7 figure salary plus an equal 7 figure bonus). The fact that he now makes a mere 1/10 of his former salary, still puts him at about 10x more than an average college professor (meaning me).  

In the next profile titled THE HARD FALL, a recently sacked publishing exec laments having to rake his own lawn and describes his daughter’s hardship on having to forgo a $4000 class trip to Italy. For the first time ever, his two kids will get SUMMER JOBS. Boo hoo for them. I mean really.

What astonishes me is that the writer whoshallnotbenamed quotes these folks WITHOUT a trace of irony.

Downshifting is now a TRENDY hip movement. Where is the news in this? I can’t remember the last time an article agitated me so much. I WANT TO YELL—how about all those people who get sacked and lose their homes and cars? DOWNSHIFT THIS FORBES MAGAZINE. 

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