The Theory of the Leisure Suit Class

Living in Newport Beach has always been strange, and has always been getting stranger. Satire fails us, as daily life teems with situations and images that are so outrageously perfect, they seem to have been dreamed up by a particularly unsubtle socialist film maker to hammer in some point. Welcome to Michael Moore’s Real World Newport Beach. Some recent examples:

  • Driving past one of the local high-class night clubs, I see that among the stretch Hummer limos and AMG Mercedes, someone has backed out his $250,000 Lamborghini and is revving and clutch-popping hopelessly, trying to get his thoroughbred Italian supercar to go into first gear. I stop and watch as our hero wrestles with his prancing bull. Finally he achieves traction and hurtles out onto the boulevard in a cloud of tire smoke.
  • At a street corner, a cop is handcuffing a middle-aged Mexican man whose bicycle lies on the ground next to him. Behind them, another middle-aged Mexican man is holding up a sign that says INDULGE YOURSELF LUXURY APTS with an arrow on it, and waving the sign at passing cars.
  • At the local shopping mall, it is Tuesday at 3 pm, and the place is full of young marrieds without employment buying everything that glitters. One thirtyish man in a $2000 suit, sculpted hair and spray-on tan, is saying loudly into his cellphone “Yes. It has to be on a yacht, that’s where we’re making the sale. The presentation is on a yacht, and I don’t know the dress code yet, but you are going to be there.”
  • At Target. A small, nervous man dressed in a $200 Aloha shirt, cargo shorts, and a very shiny pair of Timberland hiking boots is gazing at a barbecue that is eight feet long and costs as much as a used car. His wife comes up behind him and says “Do the utensils match?” and he says “Of course! OF COURSE!”

My mom is sick. It’s just some digestive bug but when someone is 76 it makes me nervous, plus she never gets these. There’s something about the illness or weakness of parents that’s still very psychologically undermining even in adulthood; it shouldn’t happen.

8 thoughts on “The Theory of the Leisure Suit Class

    1. Err, “neato” as in the relative synchronicity of your post name given my recent book purchase. Not neato as in regards to any of the bad stuff you referenced…
      Just clarifying…

  1. wow. My experiences in Newport Beach (used to date a girl who’s family owns several properties on two of the islands) are quite similar to your observations. One of the little islands (Newport island) makes a big deal out of halloween, with houses spending lots of money on decorations – one house rents horror movie props (extremely realistic ones) and then whoever is in charge of all this community activity buses in children from poorer local neighborhoods (how local can that be?) to go to the different houses.
    I’m sure the intention is good,, but the thing comes off as sort of crass.

    1. buses in children from poorer local neighborhoods (how local can that be?) to go to the different houses…
      CLEANSE WITH FIRE.
      I think too much money does bad things to most people’s brains.

  2. I hope your mom gets well soon. Thoughts and hugs to you and her.
    Excellent observations about Newport. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, when are you writing a book? Your writing and reflections on politics, culture, your life and the lives of those around you are always intelligent and very well-crafted.
    When you write it seems like I get to put on the lenses that you see the world through. Most writers, in my untutored opinion, give me a look at picture they have in their heads. It’s different when you write. Instead of looking at your mental impressions, it’s like I get to crawl into your mind and see what you see with your eyes. The view from there is striking. It’s not always pretty or happy, but it always makes me think and more often than that, feel. That, in my opinion, is the best kind of writing.

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