The idea of "Rich People Things" had never really occurred to me as a subject for a book, a column, or anything else. It was, indeed, something that my editor foisted on my maiden contribution to the then-fledgling website TheAwl.com. I was under the impression that, in writing up a New York magazine cover package on the grievances of the financial elite, I was engaging in a bit of confessional media criticism. Rich people, and their things, of course, entered into my little diatribe, but only as a means of highlighting the class-based myopia of the magazine's editorial directorate.
Yet once I was saddled with this column name-cum-mission statement, I began to realize how thoroughly American culture had become a storehouse of rich people things, broadly speaking. The pious market-themed sermonettes of a Steve Forbes or a David Brooks clearly -- nay, painfully -- fit the bill, as have institutions as far-flung as the Democratic Party, the higher education world, and the sporting scene. Below is a sample of excerpts from individual chapters; to experience the full text in its satirically illustrated glory, by all means head over to the OR Books webpage, which is the exclusive means of obtaining it, since my publisher Colin Robinson has his own separate anti-Amazon crusade, which most definitely should prevent me from joining the ranks of the Rich People.
Slide show text by Chris Lehmann and illustrations by Peter Arkle from "Rich People Things" by Chris Lehmann. Published by OR Books October 2010. Available exclusively from OR Books at www.orbooks.com.