If I hadn't read it in Lloyd Grove (courtesy the HuffPo) I wouldn't have believed it: We're overpaying our defense contractors so much that David H. Brooks spent $10 million on his daughter's Bat Mitzvah, including performances by Tom Petty, Aerosmith, assorted Eagles, 50 Cent, and Stevie Nicks - despite quality problems with his product. Col. Ted Westhusing couldn't "grasp the idea that profit is an important goal for people in the private sector," and eventually ended his life. But at the Brooks residence, they're partying on.
In my day, in the frozen wilds of upstate New York, the same broken-down old schlemiel played every Bar and Bat Mitzvah in town. He had an accordion, little bows on his shoes, and a standard line of patter: "And now the Bar Mitzvah boy will dance with his best girl: His Mom." Things change, eh, Mr. Brooks?
But then, we didn't have any defense contractors around - the closest thing we had was this guy named Murray from our Temple, who sold Philco TV sets at his furniture store.
Before we get to my set list recommendations (now sadly late), a few words on where Brooks got his money - two words, in fact: from us. He just got a $30 million order for body armor (better late than never, huh, Mr. Rumsfeld?). Here are his third-quarter results, and - for further background - here's some info on the class action suit being filed against him by investors who allege he made "false and misleading statements causing artificial inflation in the Company's stock price." We report, you decide.
An update: Tipped off by eagle-eyed commenters (see below), we discovered that Brooks' vests don't provide as much buyer satisfaction as the clothes the 50-year-old mogul wore to his daughter's event - which included, to quote the irrepressible Mr. Grove, "a black-leather, metal-studded suit, accessorized with biker-chic necklace chains and diamonds from Chrome Hearts jewelers, (followed by) a hot-pink suede version of the same lovely outfit."
The Southern States Police Benevolent Association might have appreciated Mr. Brooks' fashion sense, had he been present in Chrome Hearts couture as they settled their lawsuit with Brooks' company over the inferior quality of the bulletproofing on his vests. In addition, the Army and Marine Corps have recalled more than 18,000 of the vests -- which didn't stop his $30 million order from proceeding as planned.
Now, as for those set lists. You really should've called us first, Dave. We will rock you. Then, when we're done with that, we will commence to roll you - at no additional cost! We understand where this Bat Mitzvah money came from, as well as how to spend it. So here now, our suggestions. Somebody else might need 'em. Maybe you even have some business associates who plan to hire the same entertainers - you know, like they did in my town with the accordion man?
Aerosmith could kick it off with "Shame on You," seguing into "Shame, Shame, Shame." Once the crowd is on their feet, they could leap into "Jaded," building into "Something's Gotta Give" and climaxing their set with - of course - "Eat the Rich." Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty could do their duet on "Insider," followed by Tom's renditions of "Breakdown," "American Girl," and "Refugee." He could then play these songs, in this order, as a kind of David Brooks rock opera:
- Too Much Ain't Enough
- Fooled Again (I Don't Like It)
- Don't Do Me Like That
- Don't Come Around Here No More
- I Need to Know
- Finding Out
- The Stories We Could Tell
- You and I Will Meet Again
Whattya think, Dave? I'm hoping we can make the rounds of the defense contractor party circuit with this set of bands. On second thought, I'd rather be upstate with the guy who sold TVs. The music might not be as good, but I'd feel a whole lot cleaner.
A Night Light
Follow Richard (RJ) Eskow on Twitter: www.twitter.com/rjeskow