Times for the rich

At a time when “sub-prime”, “banking crisis” stories keep popping up in the news, how odd that the Times has just launched an e-zine, Luxx, aimed squarely at people with very much more money than sense.

In fact the Times seems to be rebranding itself as the paper for people rich beyond the dreams of avarice. There’s now an odd whiff of pre-revolutionary French aristocracy in the paper.

For example, the repellently-named “Alpha Mummy” column put forward the (frankly eccentric) view that Heather Mills McCartney didn’t get enough money to pay for really good childcare. (£24 million. How on earth is anyone supposed to scrimp by on that, you may wonder?)

Alpha Mummy herself pays a half share of £32,000 a year for her nanny. She recommended “age-old nanny-budgeting” tricks to bung the nanny a few more pounds, like giving said nanny a generous food-shopping allowance and letting her keep the change.

The Times is blatantly overpaying this woman by a factor of at least ten, if she can afford to pay her nanny three times the minimum wage, in exchange for childcare and “nutritious” quinoa snacks. I study her writing to see if it is so brilliant that it’s worth all that cash. It seems rambling and smug to me. I guess the Times is using some age-old columnist-budgeting tricks to get her salary past their accountants.

Maybe, Alpha Mummy could afford some of the Luxx items. The extra xx makes this word too irritating to even focus the eyes on. Ah. I get it. It’s not an attempt to abbreviate “luxury” in such a way as to make it seem subtly decadent (i.e., verging on xxx) It’s because the word Lux is already a brand name. A cheap but serviceable brand of soap.

It’s quite hard to do Luxx justice. The functionality of the whole thing has you spitting before you even look at the content pages. Annoying intro that makes you wait for the beginning page to load, then shows you page turning icons that don’t actually work.

Obviously you – the target reader with much more money than sense – are unaware that next and a right arrow might take you to the next page. As it turns out you are correct. These are just the training pages, so you can develop the page-turning skills you need to read the e-zine. (As it turns out, I should have studied harder, because I failed the test.)

I could only turn the page by grabbing the bottom corner and, before I managed that, the image of a woman and horse had gained and lost colour several times.

Argh. I clicked on the Luxx list in the table of contents, assuming this might be the key to the point of this. I am still gagging. A picture of a group of wealthy women, apparently too classy to attend the opening of an envelope but still well-known for their style. Roll the mouse cursor over each one to find out her personal style.

Like a rabbit trapped in headlights, I do.

I only have myself to blame. But then again, this simple act turns out to be a blessing. Because I can’t actually manoeuvre my way out of the page that tells me that rich person blah has a feminine style, slightly bohemian but always elegant……

It’s not as if I’m rolling round laughing or anything (although, well, yes, I am pretty well chortling) and can’t click a mouse. There genuinely is no way out of it, except the merciful close window x in Firefox.

2 thoughts on “Times for the rich

  1. heather –

    Apparently you were out sick the day we had the class titled ‘The very rich are different from you and me..’

    And the day Barbara Bush lectured that she didn’t think she should have to look at coffins returning from the Iraq war because that would sully her ‘beautiful mind’.

    I’ll be giving a lecture next week titled ‘Why so many rich people are ignorant and sociopathic…’ Your free tickets are in the mail.

  2. Ric

    Must be careful not to sully my beautiful mind by reading anything except adulation of the very rich.

    Surely not free tickets? Shouldn’t you be charging at least $10,000 for “charity”?

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