The Ne Plus Ultra of Enraging Trend Stories
The New York Times really knows what it's doing, when it comes to trend stories. What it's doing is not "Finding and identifying important fact-based trends and bringing them to light, for the public good." What it's doing is "Finding and identifying thoroughly unimportant trends which may or may not be real but which will serve to enrage the average reader enough to make it onto the 'Most Emailed' list."
Today: have you heard about those RICH people sending their KIDS on PRIVATE JETS to EXCLUSIVE SUMMER CAMPS? This story has it all!
- A tee-ball-like setup for exclamations of class outrage! "Now, even as the economy limps along, more of the nation's wealthier families are cutting out the car ride and chartering planes to fly to summer camps."
- A grapefruit-sized soft toss for keen students of hypocrisy to hit right out of the park! "The popularity of private-plane travel is forcing many high-priced camps, where seven-week sessions can easily cost more than $10,000, to balance the habits of their parents against the ethos of simplicity the camps spend the summer promoting."
- And a kicker! "[One parent] decided she 'was done with Maine and the planes and all of the people.' 'It's a crazy world out there,' she added. She now sends her children to camp in Europe.'"
It has an inequality-in-education angle, a rich kids angle, and a private jets angle. Those are three of the most popular angles of all, when it comes to being mad about things written in the NYT! Right at this moment, dozens of bloggers are dusting off their "Get a load of THIS one!" keys, and thousands of internet commenters are poised, tongue poking out of their barely parted lips, fingers hovering over an expectant keyboard, mentally composing the bons mots that will let those—pardon their French—assholes with all that money know just how asshole they are for flying their kids on a private jet that is too expensive to a camp that is also too expensive, and also their kids are probably spoiled, because internet commenters never did anything as extravagant as that, they just went to regular summer camp down the road and did arts and crafts, or perhaps worked in the summer, because they were not rich, unlike some people they could name who are featured in a trend story today. From the parents to the kids in camp to the jet companies to the New York Times editors to the internet and its audience of bored and frustrated middle-class Americans, we're all mere pawns in a never-resting machine which turns outrage into money. And this is fine, fine fuel. The very finest.
I've been doing this job too long.