But I recently started reading a publication that has started to change my mind: Wine Spectator.
The subscription was bequeathed to us by surlygrl. Her parents foisted it on her, but she doesn't imbibe the fermented fruit of the vine, so she re-gifted it to those that do.
At first, well_lahdidah and I had fun by playing the "find the black person" game. It is pretty rare to find a photo of anyone who isn't white in Wine Spectator. In the most recent issue I found Tiger Woods. There was also a baseball player of ambiguous skin-tone that was participating in a charity event with 2 rich hoary Caucasians. That was it. We never fully calculated the ratio of white:other, but I'd wager it's about 100:1. From this magazine, we can either infer that all Americans are white, or that only white Americans drink wine.
The advertising in the magazine offends me terribly. There are ads for HondaJet implying that you could spend more times with your loved ones if you only had a private jet. There are a variety of ads for foreign bottled waters (BTW, bottled water horribly offends me, but overseas bottled water even more so). Lots of ads for terribly expensive useless things.
And then there are the wine reviews and listings. While they do have a bargain section listing a handful of decent wines under $15 a bottle, there are lots of reviews for $260 bottles of wine, and plenty of articles about buying and selling and storing investment-quality wines that sell for much, much more. The interview with Sammy Hagar about his wine collection sort of blew my mind; apparently he makes tequila only because he knows he can't compete with the great wine-makers of the world. He personally owns so many bottles of wine that he'll have to open 1 a day for the rest of his life just to try them all—but he keeps expanding his collection.
Maybe it's just because I live under the fuzzy spectre of Mao, but never has an idea as terrible as a cultural revolution seemed like such a good idea! (I do try to keep in mind that Mao was one of the most infamous villains of the 20th century.)
I would like to think that people who have obtained a certain level of wealth have also obtained a certain level of wisdom to accompany it, and they would find better uses for their time and money than they quite obviously do. From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!
I have certainly reached a level of comfort where I don't have to worry overly much about my account balances, where I can afford to buy local organic foods (at prices that sometimes make me cringe), dine out with some frequency, and buy all sorts of unnecessary luxuries. (I even buy wine from Europe, which it very nearly as bad as buying water from Europe, except that I drink far less wine than water and there is no source of quality wine in Pennsylvania.) But I would give this all up and start from scratch again, if it meant that all those insanely rich bastards had to start over again too!
OK, basically all I'm saying is this: if you feel your blood needs a good boil, pick up a copy of Wine Spectator.