Sunday, November 25, 2012

In case you are wondering how to get rid of the last bits of humanity you have...

In case you are wondering how to get rid of the last bits of humanity you have, I have something that might help you out: Have you considered buying someone a watch that costs $15,500?

In The New Yorker this week, there is a piece in Talk Of The Town that is apparently supposed to be sympathetic to Randy Johnson, who was a baseball pitcher and is now an awful person who wears, on his wrist, a watch worth more than most people make in a year.

But he doesn't want you to buy the watch he wears, mind you, which is (I gather) part of why The New Yorker feels he is admirable.  (The other part is that Johnson has a picture of the Twin Towers.)

Johnson was profiled in The New Yorker because he was in town to promote "The Big Unit," the watch he is now endorsing, or something (he is a "friend of the brand," The New Yorker says, and such a friend that he lent his baseball nickname to the brand).

The Big Unit was named watch of the week by GQ, a magazine which still exists and does so, apparently, unironically.  This is it:

And if you love baseball, or time, enough to get that monstrosity, well, you are a bit of a monster yourself, as it retails for $15,500.

Reality check time: 13.8% of the people in the United States lived below the poverty line as of the last census.  The poverty line, you might want to know, is $15,130 for a 2-person household.  1 in 8 people do not make, in a year, enough to buy the latest watch of the week in GQ magazine.

Randy Johnson does not wear The Big Unit.  Randy Johnson wears something called a Sonata.  The Sonata watch that Randy Johnson, terrible human being, wears, is apparently an engineering marvel that can do everything but solve the problem of how we can let people spend that much money on a watch when other people around them are starving and homeless.

But that is not Randy Johnson's problem: he can afford to pay $39,000 for a watch, as he did.

The poverty line for a family of 8 is $38,890.  Families of 8 are expected to live, annually, on what Randy Johnson, soulless corporate demon, paid for his watch.

"Ding, Ding Ding," The New Yorker quotes Randy Johnson as saying about the song his watch plays.  Every time a bell rings, a rich man looks at his watch and 12,600,000 children skip a meal because their families had to choose to pay rent or buy food.   Ding Ding Ding.

Just for fun, I search engined "Randy Johnson Charity" and checked his Wikipedia page.  Apparently, the Internet is not interested in posting what I assume are the numerous charitable things a man must do to keep his soul from burning in Hell for wearing a $39,000 watch while hawking a $15,500 watch from which he will profit.

Nor did The New Yorker mention any charitable work.  It did mention that Randy is into photography now.  He took a picture of Rush for a magazine cover recently.

I once stayed up late to watch Randy Johnson pitch in Game 7 of the World Series, one of the few baseball games I ever watched.  I remember admiring him.  Now that memory makes me sick.

Randy mentioned at the end of the piece, without apparently realizing the irony (?) of it, that he doesn't even need the watch:  "I have nowhere to be," he told The New Yorker.

And all the time in the world to not be there.


Andrew Leon said...

I want to have a good response to this, but I really don't. I hate the way we, as a society, lift up the 1% like this. Aren't the up enough already?

PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

And like most rich people all the money he made was from poorer people buying tickets, merchandise, etc.

joeh said...

He earned his money by being the best in the world at what he one time. People buying tickets and merchandise were not poor, unless they were also stupid because no one ever had their arm twisted to buy tickets.

I do think $15,000 for a watch is stupid, but unless you want to move to Moscow I would hate to require Randy or anyone else to spend his money by societies directive.

I do think the watch is ugly, something Randy was known for as well.

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

Great post today, Briane. Just another example of greed gone wrong.

Liz said...

That's why the French Revolution had to happen.

This is going to be a long one. Apologies.

I wish I remember what show it was. I believe the topic was clocks. Anyway, they were showing off different clocks (something about how pocket watches came to be due to needing to figure out an accurate way to tell time at sea. Pendulum clocks, the most accurate at the time, obviously don't work on boats).

They ended up with this monstrosity of a clock. It was gilded. It had jewels. Precious metals. It was way ornate and icky. The host looked at that clock and said, "And this is why the French Revolution had to happen."

That stuck with me. Every time I see a gross display of wealth, that quote comes to mind. When the haves have enough to spend so frivolously while people starve around them, a reckoning is coming. (Personally, I think it's already started, but as we as a species have evolved, I don't think it's going to be violent.)

Ah well. Let's hope that the price tag helps pay the wages of some deserving people.

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