How the NYT & Other Pubs Ply Readers
With 'Pluto-Porn' in the New Gilded Age
'Was I alone a few Sundays ago in thinking that the photograph of Sanford Weill on the front page of The New York Times was much too small? I mean, it took up only about a third of the page, though it was nicely centered, above and below the fold, so that the news of all the other kinds of people in the world that week, the worried and the hurting kinds, could revolve condignly around the image of the money man smiling in self-congratulation beneath the beatifying halo of the ceiling lights at Carnegie Hall. If ever there was an emblem of the Manhattan cosmology, this page was it. And there is more to come: The page announced that this glorification of the grotesquely rich was only the first installment in a series excitingly called "Age of Riches: The .01 Percent." No doubt this latest bath of pluto-porn at the Times will be partly justified as an interest in the philanthropic consequences of the new fortunes; and while it is true that the generosity of some of the new rich is extraordinary, it is also true that charity is not economic justice. (It is the absence of economic justice that makes charity necessary)...I know that the rich will always be with us, but they can be unbelievably tedious.'
--New Republic literary editor Leon Wieseltier, writing in the magazine recently about "our tacky gilded age" celebration of extreme wealth.