Hazards of the rich
I wanted to say something about this, but it seems the guy was pretty decent. Wolcott catches the right tone hereThe Icarus Files
Posted by James Wolcott
News comes of the death of Wal-Mart family heir John Walton, whose ultra-light plane crashed near his home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. A Vietnam vet who earned the Silver Star for valor, Walton was said to be worth in the vicinity of $16, which certainly qualifies him as one of the former super-rich.
"The airplane," Ferdinand Lundberg wrote in The Rich and the Super-Rich, a mammoth study published in 1968 which is still a vault of valuable history and analysis, "is a special hazard of the rich and affluent. Few plane crashes, unless upon buildings, ever involve lower-class citizens [a pre-9/11 statement, obviously]; many tycoons have already met their end in the skies." The bored rich, he goes on to say, are keen on flying everywhere--not only, I suspect, because they wish to save time and jet off on their own schedules (or on impulse), but because flying in private, pampered personalized luxury like Elvis in the Lisa Marie or piloting their own planes frees them from associating with the rabble and makes them feel more like lords of all they survey, commanders of destiny.
To those who resent the whims and dictates of their masters, all of this flying-about offers a gleam of macabre hope. Craig Nettles, former 3rd baseman for the NY Yankees, once wiseguyed there was an upside to Yankee owner George Steinbrenner's peripatetic meddling.
"The more we lose, the more Steinbrenner will fly in. And the more he flies, the better the chance there will be a plane crash."
There were a lot of dark wits during those Steinbrenner-Reggie Jackson-Billy Martin years. None today, I note, which makes the current Yankees less equipped to indulge in gallows humor.
According to Lisa Olson in the NY Daily News, Steinbrenner's PR guy let it be know that The Boss issued his latest edict on the Yankees' drag-butt season while pumping iron, an almost transparently poignant bit of off-stage theater intended to project "strength" from a 75-year-old year old man whose most recent TV interview--on the YES network--revealed the once fearsome Steinbrenner a wan, spent force.
Steinbrenner and Bush are beginning to remind me of each other. Bush still looks confident and walks toward the camera with gunslinger virility but his constant reiterations of "strength" and "resolve" have a hollow echo. Tonight he's going to surround himself with members of The Finest Military the World Has Seen as he delivers an address everyone is saying is intended to "rally support" for standing firm in Iraq. I really think he would have been better off making a briefer, more sombre and straighforward speech from the Oval Office where he leveled with the American people, but he needs constant pumping up these days, even if it's the artificial pumping of doing a dumbo Social Security event with Ben Stein of all people.
But rest assured that tomorrow David Frum and Cliff May will report into NRO that not since Reagan stood tall against communism has there been a more inspiring spire of democratic poetry...
Jim, I would only point out two things: Steinbrenner has actually suceeded in life without his daddy smoothing over every step. He has brought winning teams to Satan's portal in the Bronx.
Also, evil Yankee catcher Thurman Munson died in a plane crash.
As per usual, fuck the fucking Yankees.