Veritas  Any Day Now
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Books • Newspapers • Catalogs
28 March 2008

WE SCAN ADS from actual catalogs, catalogs selling junque. That's junk with cachet. These ads are real. Maybe they don't seem real, but they are.

This week it's "The Authentic New York Hot Dog Vendor Cart," from Hammacher-Schlemmer. The H-S catalog is for rich folk. H-S sells them their toys, and there's nothing that the rich like to do more than stick it to the poor. And to think about how they are sticking it to the poor.

Please, a word, hear me out. In the sense of, "Some poor bastard has to actually use my new toy, this Hot Dog Vendor Cart to...oh, dear, to make a living. While I and my rich friends like to gather 'round the shiny thing with its darling umbrella and sing college fight songs. It's near our pool. And we use it at our leisure. While some poor bastard must use it to make a living. Such a shame. How does he deal with the traffic as he pushes his cart through the streets of Manhattan to...where? His cart garage? How amusing. His little flat in The Bronx? Harlem? Ha-ha-ha. Yes, well, too bad. Just look at me and my friends gathered 'round this dear little Authentic New York Hot Dog Vendor Cart...Listen as we sing: 'Go you, Northwestern! Fight right down the field!' ...No onions for me, Charles. Who knows what will be happening later. Doesn't Doris look fetching this evening? Go big purple. Har, har, har."

A study should be done. A study has been done, I'm sure. Some anthropology department somewhere, some sociology department—Northwestern maybe. A study on how the rich like to assume the accoutrements of the poor (a phrase never used until now and rightly so) in order to, how you say, gloat, preen, stick it to them. "I don't have to use this...thing. And they do, poor bastards. It's discretionary for me. Do you think they even know that word, discretionary?"

Consider work shirts. Think of how we derive that phrase, "blue collar" and now think of how many times you have seen rich people wearing denim work shirts...and overalls. Wasn't there a time when they were seen at Aspen, après ski, and...

Ah, screw it!

Eat the rich!

Workers of the world unite! You have nothing to lose but your Authentic New York Hot Dog Vendor Carts! —B.L



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