Now, don't get me wrong. I've got absolutely nothing against people making as much money as they humanly can. It's the great American way. If you've somehow figured out a way to become obscenely wealthy or you're a member of the Lucky Sperm Club? Good for you, dude! And if you choose to blow your wealth on Evian-filled swimming pools, gold toilet plungers and matching fur coats for the entire family AND the dog? Well, it's your God-given American right!
What I'm trying to say here is that I'm all for capitalism. All the other systems seem to have worked out about as well as Steve Urkel's comeback.
I bring all of this up because of the recent news story about the richer-than-god NY defense contractor David Brooks, who reportedly spent over $10 million on his daughter Elizabeth's bat mitzvah. For his 13-year-old daughter's auspicious entry into womanhood, Mr. Brooks not only took over both floors of the famous Rainbow Room but he also hired 50 Cent, Aerosmith, the Eagles, Stevie Nicks, Ciara, Kenny G and Tom Petty to perform at the event. The performers were flown in on Mr. Brooks' private plane. A specially-built stage was built to accommodate the concert. And goody bags for the little kids cost over $1,000 and included a digital camera, the latest video ipod and other assorted luxuries.
Now, at this point, I'm not quite sure what disturbs me more: the fact that my boy 50 Cent actually sang the lyrics "go shortie, it's your bat mitzvah. we gonna party like it's your bat mitzvah" or the fact that I think such a gross display of ones wealth is morally reprehensible.
Some of you may be saying to yourself, "wait, Metro. Didn't you just say that it's every American's God-given right to spend their hard-earned money any way they want?" Yes, I did. And if Mr. Brooks wanted to burn hundred-dollar bills off a hooker's ass? Well, shit, I'd be first in line to pat him on the back and lend him some matches. But my problem with the whole bat mitzvah brouhaha is the fact that children were involved.
Because let's face it. We all know how malleable kids are. For many kids out there, Eminem's got more influence on them than mom and pops. And while you can say "please," "excuse me," and "God bless you" in front of your kids all you want, that doesn't necessarily mean they're not going to walk around, ending every sentence with "you know what I'm saying, motherfucker!"
Though my little daughter is only 14 months old, I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about how I can instill the right moral values in her. How does one raise a kind, intelligent, well-adjusted child in New York City? How can I ensure that she remains grounded despite the insanity around her? I want the Peanut to always have drive and ambition. I want her to always remain modest. And I want her to always keep things in perspective and strive to help those who may be less fortunate. Not an easy task in and of itself. And it's much harder to accomplish when guys like Mr. Brooks are vulgarly displaying their wealth and subsequently teaching their kids that money has no moral value.
By no means do I intend to single out Mr. Brooks for this phenomenon. Anyone who's watched two seconds of "Laguna Beach," "My Super Sweet Sixteen," "Cribs," "Rich Girls," or "Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive," knows what I'm talking about. Am I turning into a cranky old man or do today's kids seem to have less respect for money than previous generations?
Again, I'm not saying that Mr. Brooks should be spending that money on victims of Katrina, homeless people or African refugees. It's his money and he can do what he want with it. I'm just saying that, like anal sex and smoking dope, there are just some things you shouldn't do in front of the kids. And spending obscene amounts of money on children who can't fully fathom the meaning of it is one of those things. All those kids see is the bling.
Personally, I'm glad that I have plenty of time to think about all this. So far, the Peanut hasn't come up to me complaining about the fact that she doesn't have a gold binky and cashmere diapers like Muffy von Foufeenberg.
But seriously, folks, what do YOU think about all this? An inquiring mind wants to know.