More Fatuous Lifestyle and Money Coverage in the Times

Money Doesn’t Talk— about women spending money in cash to avoid having to discuss it with their husbands. Yes, some people do that. No, it’s not OK. It’s lying. The only way this is OK is if you have more than enough money for everything, AND you both agree that certain expenditures are not discussed. But only one couple who does it that way is mentioned– “she buys a lot of shoes, I go to Atlantic City, but that’s OK, we can afford it.”

There’s a worthwhile bit of psychology in there– the idea that women are more likely to hide purchases from men than men are from women, the idea that this stems from inequalities in gender relationships and prejudiced ideas about the difference between “women’s frivolous indulgences” and “men’s cool toys.” But the article has no way to back any of that up. They have some stats in there, but they don’t support anything: “[although] about 56.2 percent of women 16 and older work and though marriage has become much more of a partnership of equals, a surprising number of women still find it necessary to hide how much they spend on personal items, especially stereotypical female indulgences like clothing.” What’s the “surprising number?” How surprising is it? How did it differ from estimates? Has the number changed over the past ten or twenty years?

It boils down to a baseless trend story combined with a giddy voyeurism toward people willing to buy a $2000 purse with a wad of twenties.

I’m beginning to echo Brad Delong in his assertions that newspapers won’t be around in a generation.

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