‘High-End’ Jinks in ‘Opulent’ Joints

Ninety-one people broke the state’s 50-person limit at an October wedding held at the North Fork Country Club in Cutchogue, NY. Afterwards, 30 tested positive for the virus and 156 wound up quarantined.

In a second New York event in September, at least 80 people attended a “high-end” Sweet 16 party that left 37 people testing positive and 270 quarantined.

County officials fined an opulent catering hall, the Miller Place Inn, $12,000 for hosting [the]… party.

(Ed Shanahan, “Wedding and Birthday Party Infect 56, Leaving Nearly 300 in Quarantine,” NYTimes, 10-28-20)

This nondescript article was mundane and banal by late October; the world by then was rife with anecdote about the privileged classes flouting restrictions imposed on the restive, snarling masses. What caught my attention was the unprofessional rhetoric of the journalism, a rare lapse by NYTimes standards.

However, the article set me to thinking of the Fitzgerald quote I remembered as “The rich are different from you and me.” Assuming it to be from “The Great Gatsby,” I looked it up and learned that it’s from his 1926 story “The Rich Boy.”

“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different. ”

(c) 2020 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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