Real-Life Secrets of the Predator Class
Keeping up with the American elite can be tiring. This is the layman's guide to how the wealthy maintain control.
"Social criticism at its scorching-hot best."—Barbara Ehrenreich
"Think H.L. Mencken crossed with Jon Stewart."—The Phoenix
In Rich People Things, Chris Lehmann lays bare the various dogmas and delusions that prop up plutocratic rule in the post-meltdown age. It's a humorous and harrowing tale of warped populism, phony reform, and blind deference to the nation's financial elite. As the author explains, American class privilege is very much like the idea of sex in a Catholic school—it's not supposed to exist in the first place, but once it presents itself in your mind's eye, you realize that it's everywhere.
A concise and easy-to-use guide, Rich People Things catalogs the fortifications that shelter the opulent from the resentments of the hoi polloi. From ideological stanchions such as the Free Market through the castellation of media including The New York Times and Wired magazine, to gatekeepers such as David Brooks, Steve Forbes, and Alan Greenspan, Lehmann covers the vast array of comforting and comprehensive protections that allow the über-privileged to maintain their iron grip on almost half of America's wealth. With chapters on Malcolm Gladwell, the Supreme Court, the memoir, and more, no one is spared from Lehmann's pointed prose.
Chris Lehmann is employed, ever precariously, as an editor for Yahoo! News, Bookforum, and The Baffler, while dissecting the excesses of his social betters for his column Rich People Things at TheAwl.com. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife Ana Marie Cox and a quartet of excellent pets.