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Conspicuous Consumption

conspicuous consumption Okay, so I admit it. I watched part of The View yesterday. Not a crime, I tell you.

The hot topic du jour was unsurprisingly Chelsea Clinton's weekend wedding. There was a photo montage of the bride and groom, and her family. From afar, from my cozy spot on the couch, it seemed like a beautiful event. A happy occasion.

But. Goodness, there is always a but. A feverish debate ensued on this show about this wedding. One that I found fascinating. Joy Behar criticized the Clintons for throwing such a patently lavish wedding during hard financial times. She argued - and vehemently -  that this example of conspicuous consumption at a time when so many people are suffering and struggling is in terribly poor taste.

Others on the panel disagreed. They felt that it is a family's prerogative to host whatever type of celebration they want to. That the marriage of an only daughter, any daughter, is a very special milestone and if her parents can afford to put on an outrageously expensive affair and want to, they should be able to. Other members of the panel also argued (compellingly, in my opinion) that there is a line-drawing issue here. Ultimately, what counts as the type of conspicuous consumption that should be avoided? Dining at a fancy restaurant? Sending kids to exorbitantly pricey private school? Driving a nice car?

Maybe there is an issue here because the Clintons are such a public brood. Maybe they have some greater responsibility to set a good and modest example for the rest of us? Maybe they need to be extra cautious in the way they lead their lives and plan their parties?

I don't know, but I don't think this is fair. In a world where there is indeed so much pain and suffering and sadness, I think there is nothing wrong with doing it up and celebrating big when something happy occurs. The price tag? That's not our business, is it? And, yes, Chelsea was the first daughter. Yes, she is an involuntary celebrity bride. But she is also a young woman, a person, who presumably wants to smile and dance and be left alone a little bit as she embarks on married life.

Personally, I don't care if her wedding cost $50 or $500,000. But maybe I should?

What do you all think?

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