Wednesday, February 24, 2010

herb & dorothy. & leno.

I recently had an argument with someone about Jay Leno and his impressive car collection - the fact that he own 100+ cars resulting in me losing a bet and having to take that someone out for sushi.
However, I stick to the core assertion of my bet which was that this type of unimaginable materialism is okay. Maybe even a good thing.

I was reminded of the documentary Herb & Dorothy.
Herb and Dorothy Vogel amassed a contemporary art collection of over 2,000 pieces.
He was a postal worker and she a librarian, so in foregoing creature comforts, living in a one bedroom apartment and opting not to have children, one salary went to living expenses and the other was able to go towards art buying.
It's pretty awesome, watching this everyday, modest couple penetrate the elite and absurd art world with something as pure and simple as a love for art.
In the end, though their massive, world-class collection was worth millions and millions, the Vogels donated it to the Washington, D.C. National Gallery of Art where admission is free for all people to come see.
I just love their story.

I think that investing your money (and I'm talking money you actually have) into something you truly love, something that improves your life and makes you happy, is a totally worthwhile adventure.
Yes, 100+ cars is a little extreme, but I'd rather 100 cars you put time and effort and heart and storytelling into than a yacht and a trip to Capri that are relatively meaningless.

p.s. I know my argument depends on the presumption that Leno sacrifices trips to Capri in order to buy his cars, but he also has a Noble Peace Prize nominee for a wife - she was totally into female oppression under the Taliban way before it was cool, so I just don't see her letting his materialism stray outside of motor obsession.

p.p.s. You see, I may be a Democrat, but I am in no way a socialist. Yup, despite what Fox News tells you, there is a distinction. (I also hope I'm not a limousine liberal, but that's beside the point). I do believe it's okay to make money and spend it in a way that improves your quality of life. And hopefully you're finding a way to give something (money, time, effort) towards improving other people's lives as well.
Maybe my acceptance of materialism was just a sealed deal when I discovered I could stomach the $1,000+ shoes featured in Vogue from month to month.
Yet I can't stomach any of Bravo's Real Housewives. Ugh, that type of materialism literally makes me cry.

p.p.p.s. This in no way lets Leno off the hook for the Conan debacle. Completely unrelated.