It was the economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen who wrote in his seminal work The Theory Of The Leisure Class of Conspicuous Leisure and Conspicuous Consumption - the idea that those with sufficient wealth did not need to work, at the same time ensuring the world knew they had the leisure time, with enough cash to flash, and as ostentatiously as possible. Which brings us to self-promoting TalkRADIO host Julia Hartley Brewer.
Pretentious? Who, Moi?
Ms Hartley Dooda does work, but only in the morning, you understand. She also ensures that she has sufficient time away from her Murdoch-funded megaphone to lord it over the lower orders. For her, there is not only an ample amount of Conspicuous Leisure, but plenty of Conspicuous Consumption with which to accompany it, often by engaging in long-haul flying and other environmentally deleterious pursuits.
So it was that this very modern example of Veblen’s characterisation checked in with her adoring Twitter followers last Thursday and trilled “Morning. Guess where I am”. She wanted the whole world to know that she was somewhere Very Exclusive and Very Expensive, which could only be reached from the UK by Very Expensive and Very Long Haul flying. But this was a campaign destined to turn out not necessarily to her advantage.
Soon, one enterprising Tweeter had photoshopped her into a slurry tank (no further comment required). Worse still was the steady stream of responses that simply said “Skegness”. These even outnumbered those who wanted her to know that they did not care, a state of mind with which she should by now be familiar.
Yet worse for Ms Hartley Dooda was one Tweeter who reminded her of her casual and indeed derisive attitude to climate change: “In Sydney sitting in a water tank that's about to be attached to a helicopter........... hopefully”. Meanwhile, it did not take long for someone to place the photo as taken from the rooftop infinity pool at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore, which is exclusive and expensive enough - even for her.
But then a problem entered: Ms Hartley Dooda has serious past form for, shall we say, being less than totally tolerant of those who are Followers of The Prophet. And soon enough, Matt Youde was along to remind her that she was in one of those Very Difficult Positions: “A multicultural society where each main ethnic group takes it in turns to (exclusively) elect the president and the current head of state is a Muslim woman in a hijab. You must hate it”. No point waving her wad at that minor fact.
Ian Wilson had a similar take on life in the city state that is Singapore: “In the country where I used to live and where my wife is from. A country that taught me much about how people with different religions and ethnic backgrounds can live in harmony, with mutual respect for their differences. Wasted on you, mind”.
All that Conspicuous Leisure accompanied by Conspicuous Consumption has counted for nothing: being an ostentatious poser and trying to rub the hoi polloi’s noses in the crap has resulted in little more than indifference and derision.
Julia Hartley Dooda’s world must be terribly sad if she has to blow so much cash in order to make herself happy. But at least it keeps her well away from 99% of the population.
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