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On the Style of Philanthropy Magazines

07060373294093 As magazines for philanthropists come on the scene, I find myself reading not for content but editorial decorum. The intended reader seems to be wealthy and well intended. The advertisers can be enticed with that demographic. But what of the reader who is not wealthy, how is that seat positioned vis a vis the dais? Is it assumed that (as Bush calls them) the "nonrich" will be fascinated and grateful, that they will adopt towards the givers something of the attitude accorded celebrities in the society pages? That we will in essence be spell bound by our betters? That we will live vicariously as in a Romance novel? The role of philanthropy in a democratic society - will Generocity, Benefit, Good, or Contribute, say, run articles on that? And if so, will they interview the wealthy givers? Or will they go out on the street with a microphone? Good has a little youthful sass to it. The voice of the young, hip, urban heir with money with a social conscience?   

As the gap between rich and poor widens, I wonder if these magazines will cause a backlash, as they take public the hidden transcripts of wealth. Some things are perhaps best conducted out of the public eye. Or, who knows, perhaps what we have here are the signs of an emergent aristocracy, coming to consciousness of its responsibilities for the society of which it is the upper crust? At the very least, the formation of a social class requires that those at the top learn of one another, and enter in a common swirl, playing off against one another, and building a common class consciousness. Perhaps these magazine serve that function, letting the rich hail one another from afar, entering into a social dance? I wonder if they will carry articles on manners and mores. How should the elite behave themselves in varying circumstances? I wonder if I could write a column on "the proper uses of riches," or put The Happy Tutor up to it. He came into his own in the first Dark Ages, teaching bumptious nobles right from wrong. "Spare the rod," as he always says, "and spoil the rich. Surely, Milady, you dream of being soundly thrashed? Your lips say 'How dare you, Sir!,' but your eyes and heaving bosom say, 'Yes, Yes, Yes!'"