Tuesday, September 11, 2012

East Hampton Star Tries to Say With a Straight Face That The Rich Are Genuinely Philanthropic

Exclaiming "In your face!" in its opening line, this East Hampton Star article wants you to know it will be every bit as obnoxious as...well...as its opening line.

The "in your face" taunt is aimed at HuffPo and CNBC, presumably because they are the Sean Penn and Tim Robbins of journalism--perennial bogeymen of the paranoid right. According to this piece, the national survey (reported on by HuffPo and CNBC, because...well their job is to report) about the lackluster charity offered up by the wealthiest 1% is wrong because East Hampton's 1% give more than the middle class in the same area. The article, entitled The Rich Really Do Give More, by Larry LaVigne III, is a clinic in how to manipulate statistics. And also how to be a douche. A douche, yes, but not a huge douche, for the article does have its caveats.

Anyone who lives out here knows exactly why and how the wealthy in East Hampton spend "8.5%" of their discretionary income on charity. SWAG. STEP AND REPEATS.

At the very least, this article brings in one expert who, at the very least, hints at this reality.
“The strong and welcomed presence of nonprofits and the causes they support may keep charity top-of-mind for residents, and at a certain level of income and lifestyle, philanthropy becomes a regular part of social life.”

Lavigne tries to downplay this very poignant remark by referring to these lavish parties as merely a stab at some free drinks.

 "But is it more than an open bar of top-shelf cocktails in exchange for a five- or even six-figure ticket?"

Yes it is more. It's a LOT more. And you know this, LaVigne. We've heard of some cases where the free gift bags handed out at charity events added to a total value of $15,000. Add that to the allure of being photographed by local and national press, and rubbing elbows with famous actors, musicians, reality TV stars, and you can clearly see why the well-heeled turn out in droves. And arm flab. 

Care for more BS?

Quote: “A lot of Alec Baldwin’s fans come out to show support when he is tied to an event, but we have soooo much diverse talent that works with Guild Hall,” [Barbara Jo Howard, director of marcomms at Guild Hall] said."

Translation: Alec Baldwin's draw represents 99% of the money raised, while every other program running there suffers from Giveashit-itis.

Put simply, if East Hampton's rich were so giving of their discretionary income, why does EVERY SINGLE charity event held in the Hamptons have to wheel some celebrity out in front like Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs? Answer: Because nobody would go otherwise. It's not supernatural.

What? MORE BS?

Quote: Even though the wealthy may give a lesser percentage of their income elsewhere, the study finds that the richest Americans still contribute the vast majority of dollars to charitable causes.

Really. You know, I would have given my $10,000 to Save the Beleagered Manatees, but somehow my invitation to the Gala in East Hampton got lost in the mail. There's a reason why the rich give to charitable causes, because charitable causes ASK them to, you dolt!

Oh, East Hampton Star. You make me want to beat an angel to death with a little girl's puppy. 

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