Eat the rich!

by Steve, June 18th, 2009
The World

The World, a cruise ship that has been converted to a cross between a Pearl district condo tower and the world’s largest SUV, has been moored downtown all week. With 165 multi-million dollar condo units, 270 crew members, five restaurants, a pool and a theatre on board, The World has the equivalent of a small municipal power plant on board spewing carbon and particulates into our fair city for the benefit of its ultra-rich owners. Continuous circumnavigation is a hell of a lifestyle, but not exactly what you’d call “green” or “sustainable.”

The Oregonian ran a cute little puff piece today, giving credence to cruise ship industry flacks (“Travel experts”) claiming these people are spending $125 a day per couple in Portland during their stay. The travel agency that arranged their shore leave claims it could closer to $400.

Breakfast on the world


Meanwhile, as the idle, profligate rich enjoy breakfast on their balcony, and as we bask in the glory (envy?) of their extravagant lifestyle, the City of Portland announced the elimination of 90 jobs previously thought safe, with another 45 jobs in jeopardy and furloughs for those lucky enough to keep their jobs.

The new Gilded Age is upon us.

9 Responses to “Eat the rich!”

  1. Comment from Fred Leonhardt:


    Nice entry. Here’s a link to my latest op-ed from last Sunday’s Oregonian — “new Gilded Age” indeed:


  2. Comment from Steve:

    Hey Fred, I really liked your op-ed, and was going to post something about it here Sunday… I just couldn’t think of anything to add to it!

    The effect in print was great… not knowing the photo was of your kin until the end. Unfortunately, they kind of spoiled the effect online with a photo caption giving it away before the reader even digs into the text.

    Still a great read, and highly recommened!

  3. Comment from Terry:

    Just reread Leonhardt’s op-ed. You’re right, Steve. It is indeed “a great read.”

  4. Comment from Wacky Mommy:

    I especially liked the way you wrapped it around, Fred. Nicely done. That’s some good writing. Loved the photos, too. Really poignant. Make sure you cut n paste it somewhere in case the link goes dead.

  5. Comment from Steve:

    According to Anna Griffin, O columnists don’t have their stuff removed from the O-Live site after two weeks. Not sure if that applies to op-eds/guest columns.

  6. Comment from Fred Leonhardt:

    Thanks for the kind words — it’s a relief to read comments from the non-lunatic fringe for a change. That’s a good point about the link going dead, but there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it: two of my previous op-eds from last fall and this Jan. are still available on-line, while one from a year ago disappeared after a couple weeks.

  7. Comment from Myranda Bates:

    Fred, your piece in the Oregonian wasn’t up to your usual standards. Are you OK? You wandered around, switching topics from rich people to people who work with their hands to union-wage jobs to your family and so on. I couldn’t find a theme to the piece at all. Your initial thesis seemed to be that the sesquicentennial celebration is bad because we are in an economic recession, which was interesting but silly, but then you wandered.

  8. Comment from Steve:

    Fred doesn’t say that the sesquicentennial celebration is bad. He writes movingly about poverty in Oregon, and the failure of elected officials to do anything meaningful about it.

    I think this paragraph sums up his thesis (at least as I read it):

    Politics should be about solving these problems. But in Oregon, “Political language,” as George Orwell wrote, “is designed to make lies sound truthful … and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

    And he gets more specific:

    The truth is we are divided between those with connections and those with no voice; those we bail out and those we leave behind; those in the “creative class” and those whose lives are less and less necessary in the Church of The Three Techs of Our Salvation: The High, The Bio and The Holy Green.

    The Sesquicentennial is not the target of his piece, but a milestone at which to measure the stature of our body politic. His central point, with which I whole-heartedly agree, is that our politicians are failing the working people of this great state, even as they speak in florid prose about our future.

  9. Comment from Myranda Bates:

    Thanks, Steve, for responding to my message to Fred. Thanks for quoting Fred’s thesis, which appears at the end of his article. It’s hard to find–he sure makes his readers work hard to get to his point.