Thursday, August 02, 2018

Meanwhile, at Camp Tessier-Ashpool*...

From Bloomberg:
Summer Camp for the Ultra-Wealthy Teaches Kids How to Stay Rich

Attendees at Next Gen functions hosted by the likes of UBS, Citi Private Bank, and Credit Suisse will one day rank among the world’s most sought-after clients.

Fifty-two heirs to lavish fortunes luxuriate in sleek splendor at the Four Seasons.

They sip designer lattes and speak the language of wealth. The talk is of money, noblesse oblige, technology, Formula One. At lunchtime, out comes chilled rosé, with a tasting led by Jon Bon Jovi’s son Jesse.

Welcome to Camp Rich.


With an average age of 27, attendees at the June YSP and other Next Gen functions hosted by the likes of UBS, Citi Private Bank, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse will one day rank among the world’s most sought-after clients...
In case you were wondering why once-venerable political round-table programs like Meet the Press now suck sour apples or you were baffled as to why once-venerable newspapers like The New York Times now spend so much effort cranking out "Rubes along the Monongahela" Magic Ruralism fiction, this is why. 

Because these people (and the entire retinue of retainers, attendants, investors and businesses that depend on the good opinion of the ultra wealthy) are the real target audience of the Beltway corporate media and you are not.  And these patrons of the corporate media wish to hear entertainments about the glories of Disruption, the tragedy of Both Siderism and the adventures of economically-anxious proles a million social miles away from them, so that language and those fairy tales are what the rest of us now find clogging up the privately-owned media spaces where much of our public conversation about culture and politics takes place.

For example, way back in 2015, before Donald Trump blowed all his happy horseshit up real good, we all had a nice, long talk about the shiny new future which The New York Times' senior plutocrat lifestyle reporter had picked out for us.  A future in which the skills of greatest value were skills specifically tailored to fulfilling the desires of a small, ruling clique who are expertly serviced by anticipatory and technologically proficient valets -- or skills about which that small, ruling clique ruminate dreamily at cocktail parties, Aspen Institute weekends and Davos.
For example, in today’s loosely networked world, people with social courage have amazing value. Everyone goes to conferences and meets people, but some people invite six people to lunch afterward and follow up with four carefully tended friendships forevermore. Then they spend their lives connecting people across networks.
As I wrote at the timeI would be willing to wager my next month's salary against Mr. David Brooks' salary that not "everyone" goes to conferences.  And of the small minority that do, a very high percentage are now being sent to "webinars" because they are cheap and your employer can have you at your desk working on the Markelsen report at the same time you are wolfing down some lunch at the same time you are learning about the paradigm-shifting power of whatever.
Similarly, people who can capture amorphous trends with a clarifying label also have enormous worth. Karl Popper observed that there are clock problems and cloud problems. Clock problems can be divided into parts, but cloud problems are indivisible emergent systems. A culture problem is a cloud, so is a personality, an era and a social environment. 
Since it is easier to think deductively, most people try to turn cloud problems into clock problems, but a few people are able to look at a complex situation, grasp the gist and clarify it by naming what is going on.
As I wrote at the time, I have watched my Liberal brethren and sisteren synthesize complex political and cultural problems and "name what is going on" for decades now, and so far the big payoff for has been that we are either willfully ignored by people like David Brooks or told to fuck off by people like David Brooks.  

So color me doubtful.
Purpose provision. Many people go through life overwhelmed by options, afraid of closing off opportunities. But a few have fully cultivated moral passions and can help others choose the one thing they should dedicate themselves to.
As I wrote at the time, if he didn't wedge the word "moral" into it, how would generations unborn know David Brooks wrote it?  It also sounded suspiciously like the kind of weirdly diffracting sentence one would construct if one had spent many years as a moral scold and "disordered family" finger-wagger and suddenly had to explain to a paying audience why you had dumped your wife and taken up with your much younger research assistant.
Opposability. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” For some reason I am continually running across people who believe this is the ability their employees and bosses need right now.
Sure. Go right ahead and try to earn a living out in the real world telling your boss that maybe she should do one thing...or maybe she should do the exact opposite.  Because opposability!

See you at the next job fair, moocher!

Which brings us, at last, to my own skill set.  

Writing.  The conquest of the terrifying blank page with words in a row and using those words to build a complete and engaging story in whatever time and within whatever parameters I am given.  

And doing it over and over again.  

This has never been the job I was hired to do, (Go look up 'Writer' in the Help Wanted.  Be prepared to laugh.) but it has always ended up as a huge "other duties as assigned" part of every job I have ever landed.  Because every organization needs this done, and damn few are capable of doing it at all, and fewer still can take policy-wonkesse or clinician-speak and turn it into a story that can hold the audience's attention and move them in your direction.

Unfortunately, no matter how critical it really is to the health and success of the organization, no executive staff or HR department in modern, post-literate America has ever categorized griot as a vital skill, so be advised that being a capable and gifted writer will not save you when the terminator comes to kick you to the curb.

That is, unless you specialize in one, very specific of genre writing.  

The gentle art of telling the rich and powerful exactly what they want to hear.

Behold, a Tip Jar!

From Wikipedia:
Tessier-Ashpool is a fictional family appearing in William Gibson's Sprawl trilogy. The family owns Freeside, a space station shaped like a spindle Bernal sphere constructed in high orbit. The family resides in the Villa Straylight, which occupies one end of the spindle. 
The family is organized and run as a corporation, Tessier-Ashpool S.A.. Family members are kept under cryogenic stasis and thawed out periodically so that governance of the family is cycled between members. According to "orbital law" they are legally dead while cryogenically preserved.


Robt said...

Sounds like Neegan's resort for the blessed prosperity gospel chosen ones.

Where Neegan uses a very horrible business model depicted in the movie "dirty dancing". Where the service employees are there to provide "full" service. You know, Like the 2 Corinthians. Stormy and McDougal.

When the gated community realizes its potential of re enacting to movie Elysium. Do they bring along their faithful servants (Egore).?
We see this as politicians they bought are used up and lose their congressional job. They are recycled into Heritage Foundations for several reasons. To show other servants they can be taken care to encourage their obedience while useful.
I am not sure if wealthy families like the Mercer's had their humanity die from the cancer corrupting wealth and its power to exploit. Or, they were simply born that way to begin with. It is definitely as if these minds at very young vulnerable ages are subject to and enable to identify with all the
007 Bond villains . To adapt as their path in life.

It is the ill concept of, "they can only be FREE if the are in full control of everything and everyone else".

dinthebeast said...

There's (or at least there used to be) a mausoleum in a cemetery in the Berkeley hills with "Wintermute" carved into the thick, white, marble slab at the front of it. I briefly considered writing "3Jane was here" on it with a sharpie, but thought better of it and left it undisturbed.

-Doug in Oakland

Meremark said...

Rubes Along the Monongahela.

From God's tongue to your pen. Scriptural.

eddie blake said...


that's a name i've not heard in a long time. a long time.

goddamn i love gibson's sprawl series.

keep up the good fight, DG.

Fritz Strand said...

In the course of my life I have witnessed the ossification of America's Mandarin class. Look up the number of folks who went through Georgetown Prep who show up as a premanent part of DC's elite.