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The New York Times Profiles the Real Victims of the Recession: Socialites

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It’s finally time to recognize the real suffering of the recession: socialites who have to wear old dresses to social events and stay at home mothers who asked their husbands to cut back on jewelry purchases at Christmas. The horror!

One can only hope that these voices will be recorded for posterity, the way we recorded the oral history of those who experienced the Great Depression.

10 Year Old Dresses!

It is a sign of the times when Sacha Taylor, a fixture on the charity circuit in this gala-happy city, digs out a 10-year-old dress to wear to a recent society party.

Free Story Time Instead of the Museum!

Holly Moreno, 30, a part-time Web site manager in the Dallas suburb of Rowlett, Tex., whose husband is a business analyst, said she had been taking their 2-year-old son to indoor playgrounds at the mall and free story-times at the library instead of paying to get into the children’s museum, their favorite wintertime haunt.

Less Jewelry at Christmas!

Kim Gatlin, a novelist who lives in Park Cities, in the Dallas area, said some of her friends had urged their husbands not to give them jewelry over the holidays. “They were like, you know, ‘There’s nothing I’m dying for right now — let’s just wait,’ ” she said. “It makes them feel like they’re participating, although they don’t contribute to the income stream.”

Back in the real world, families are being forced out of their homes, people are losing their jobs, students are having to limit their educational choices, and food banks are struggling to meet the needs of their communities.

Did Shaila Dewan at the Times ever consider the possibility that the ‘decadent’ lifestyles of some of the people she profiled might just be related to the economic downturn? Maybe the culture of excess and transfer of wealth to the richest Americans in the past twenty years have contributed to the financial instability we are experiencing?

Not to worry. We’re all in it together:

“It’s disrespectful to the people who don’t have much to flaunt your wealth,” said Monica Dioda Hagedorn, 40, a lawyer in Atlanta who is married to an heir of the Scotts Miracle-Gro fortune. “I have plenty of dresses to last me 10 years.”

Ms. Hagedorn said she did not hold herself apart from the rest of society because of her money. “Everyone’s going to pull through together, or everyone’s going to sink together,” she said.

Sweet. I’ll see you at the club this weekend, Monica.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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