Monday, May 25, 2009

Immaterialism

My attention was caught by this story in the SST of a family selling many of their possessions to ensure cash flow for their businesses.

It struck me as a fine example of how different others are from oneself, and yet how the world is somehow finely in balance because of it.

The chap described in the story, Regan Frost, is indeed most unlike me. (NB: I'm aware many of our dimmer readers consider the phrase "not like me" to be a pejorative term indicating contempt and hatred, but for most of us this is not the case.) He appears to be living testament to the truism that there's one thing money can't buy: good taste. The posessions on sale mentioned in the sidebar of the print edition were a veritable catalogue of grotesque vulgarity - so ludicrous in fact that it would hardly have seemed credible were it not also mentioned that Mr Frost had inflicted the names "Porsche" and "Jag" on his children.

(I couldn't help but ponder whether Porsche will grow up to be overly heavy at the back end and very unforgiving, Jag to be sexy but annoyingly unreliable, and both of them to be unreasonably high-maintenance.)

But I digress - back to the point of this thing. Mr Frost is selling all this unspeakable shit for the following reason:

"We can sell the piano, the spa pool, we don't need that stuff, it can all be replaced but the business can't."

Here we have a clear indication as to why Mr Frost is (or at least was) a successful businessman, while I, someone who couldn't sell water in a desert, remain a mere hireling: he recognises the relative worth of his posessions compared with his business, and acts accordingly. I couldn't do this - my posessions are in many cases very fine if not particularly expensive things that I care a great deal about and couldn't give up lightly, especially my house. This is one reason I'm prepared, unlike Mr Frost, to settle for job security on a modest salary, rather than setting out to make myself rich through enterprise.

(Further digression: I know many of our readers apply moral values to matters such as this and will consider Regan Frost to be indisputably my moral superior for pursuing an entrepreneurial career, rather than offering specialist skills to a large organisation in exchange for security and a regular paycheck. Such moral judgements are foolishness - it makes no more sense than for me to consider myself Regan Frost's moral superior because he lacks good taste.)

Back to the point - again. Consider how beautifully it balances: Regan Frost sensibly cares less for his posessions than for the much more important matter of actually making the money to be able to buy such things, which is very fortunate because his posessions are over-priced tat that no-one should ever care about; Psycho Milt on the other hand devotes taste and thought to his posessions and would never fling money at over-priced tat, which is also very fortunate because he will never be in a position of having large amounts of money to fling at anything. There is something very fitting about this, which left me satisfied with the story in a way I wouldn't have imagined in my initial eye-bulging horror at the sheer vulgarity it.

17 comments:

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

It's almost as though he subconsciously knew he should never buy anything he could not happily sell. It's not too hard to make your fortune as an entrepreneurial plumber when it takes six weeks to find a tradesman because all the other idiot thirty year olds in the country are spending up large with money they haven't got.

I don't see too many older wiser plumbers selling up the family jools.

Speaking of cars, I remember a professor whose wife called him 'Model A' because he only came out once a year and had to be started by hand.

the deity formerly known as nigel6888 said...

Or he is a successful entrepeneur who has been hammered by the downturn in construction. When your clients stop paying their bills its bloody hard to keep paying your own.

Good on them I say. So what if they are bogans with unfortunate taste and no idea about how to name kids. If he was "old money" all of the businesses would be set up as separate entities and insulated from the family assets - which would all be in Trusts, and all he would do is declare the business bankrupt, and restart under another name the next day - no debts, voila and get to keep the HSV.

You could call it the Krukziener solution (or Hart, or insert any number of NZ business heros).

This dude doesnt sound like a bad person at all.

"Motella" said...

Their taste may be vulgar and tacky, but they are at the top of the food chain.

They are the producers.

Hard economic times and slow debtors have allegedly been their undoing, however this would pale in comparison to the blood sucking IRD that would have redistributed a hard core of their endeavors.

KG said...

PM, you simply come across as a smug prat.
As Motella says, they are at the top of the food chain.
There are the producers...and there are those who ride their coattails. You (and a lot of others) are the latter, no matter how much you may congratulate yourself on your "specialist skills" and good taste.
The taxpayer puts food on your table and clothes on your back.You may argue that your job is necessary, but fuck-all goods cross the wharves headed overseas thanks to you.
In short--you're not necessary. Entrepreneurs are.

Andrei said...

Yes it is jolly good fun when vulgar Nouveau Riche  come unglued - just fancy working class people having money because they worked for it.

And selling all their possessions to meet their obligations to others is surely a sign of low breeding too.

With any luck these people will save their business and bounce back - they surely deserve too

Anonymous said...

They are indeed the "producers" - and in Clarkistan (where we still live, since National has changed nothing of any consequence as yet)

They are selling their car, their house, and their TV to pay your fucking salary and benefits
So yes: this story is absolutely disgusting on so many levels I don't know where to start!

Psycho Milt said...

As I said, many of our readers leap to conclusions of moral superiority in such matters, and such conclusions are merely foolishness. A civilisation consisting solely of people like the Frosts would be no more attractive than one consisting solely of people like me. The fact that we have both types is a positive feature, not a negative one.

Andrei: I heartily endorse your final paragraph.

Anonymous said...

I think the point is, he cares less about possessions than the need to be able to feed his family. That means preserving his cash flow.Smart sensible and INDEPENDANT NON BLUDGING man.
Contrast that to your musings that make you sound like a smug prat indeed.
Suckhole Melt

Psycho Milt said...

It never ceases to amaze me that the abusive right-wingers who comment here, the guys who spend their days unfairly slagging off unremarkable and inoffensive lefty fellow citizens - guys like the anonymous nutbars on this thread, for instance - that these right-wingers take such immediate affront when I imply any slight imperfection on the part of people they can identify with. Suck it up, arseholes.

KG said...

"A civilisation consisting solely of people like the Frosts would be no more attractive than one consisting solely of people like me."
Perhaps not--but it would be a damn sight more productive.

Anonymous said...

Anonymously I write, as I have had the most unfortunate experience of dealing with said Mr Frost. It is spurious of him to make such statements as "I always paid my bills on time" this I know to be untrue. Indeed he was downright nasty to deal with, so I read this news with an ironic joy. No ultimately I don't wish him bad, but this could be a jolly good lesson in humility for him. Hopefully he will learn also the value of hiinesty - I suspect there are many who would refute his comments, including some of the buyers of his wares on Trademe, but can't be bothered with the smartarsed crap he would respond with.

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the tale of the Ant and the Grasshopper.

Ford Anglia

Psycho Milt said...

KG: your rating of people according to how "productive" your ideology considers their labour reminds me more of Marxism than anything else.

KG said...

What's Marxist is taking the fruits of another's labour and distributing it among those who didn't work for it. By force or threat of force.

But there's at least one pleasant thing about being among those who produce; we don't have to tie ourselves in ideological knots to try and justify our consumption of the fruits of another's labour.

Psycho Milt said...

I promise never to strip Mr Ford of any of his plumbing, forcefully or otherwise...

WAKE UP said...

MILT: you've completely missed the point that someone out there is buying all the worthless shit they are selling - which makes your analysis of his taste/s a complete waste of time.

KG said...

I'm sure Mr. Ford is relaxed about that possibility PM--I doubt you'd know a female nipple from a male elbow. :-)