January 03, 2008

Defining Conspicuous Consumption

From the New York Times:

The office, which Mr. Cappello said cost $300,000 to $350,000, holds three dozen antique chess sets, several hundred globes, 1,800 handmade canes from around the world and thousands of antique books. The paneling came from a castle in the south of France, and the Empire-period fireplace, he said, was built for one of Napoleon’s residences. A billiard table from 1849 and a large partners’ desk anchor opposite ends of the room, and 19th-century military and animal paintings adorn the walls, along with two big plasma screens, “for watching football games with my buddies,” he said.

Here are my predictions, based on the limited (thankfully) exposure I've had to people like this:

1) He has no idea how to play chess.
2) He does not use a cane.
3) Someone else picked out the antique books to adorn his walls.
4) The real reason for the room is to avoid his family while claiming to work. (You can just see the love he has for his daughter pouring out in the picture...)

All this reminds me of a quote from an earlier post:

Whatever happens, the old American scorn for pretension is bound to reassert itself someday, and dear God, let it be soon.
--B.R. Myers

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