Vanity Fair’s Bruce Feirstein has been charting the 100 people, companies, institutions, and vices most responsible for the economic mess, releasing a few more of his tidbits on a daily basis at VF.com. So far, he has blamed the likes of Roman Abramovich (for his over-the-top toys, amongst other things), Botox (“Because it was the aesthetic harbinger of everything that was to come: no matter how hard you tried to freeze your assets, you kept injecting capital, and three months later it all melted away”), George W. Bush’s Presidency (for reasons that need not be repeated), and Jim Cramer. There is also the bashing of “Lifestyle Porn,” which he says are the newspaper style sections, cable-TV shows, and free magazines that pimped out their content to sell the ecstasy of unbridled consumption; I wonder what he thinks of Haute Living?
Today, coming in at No. 67 on the 100 to Blame is Miami and Las Vegas. Seeing as Miami is our corporate headquarters, and also the birthplace of Haute Living, we were intrigued to hear his reasoning. He writes:
“Was there any place on earth more swept up in the housing mania than Miami? Was there any place more caught up in the no-money-down, instant-refi, you-can-always-flip-it-for-a-profit-tomorrow, build-it-and-they-will-come frenzy that drove the construction of endless condos, hotels, and new home developments—which now sit empty, abandoned, or teetering on foreclosure? Well … yes. That answer would be Las Vegas. Maybe it was the sunshine, or the culture of hedonism, that both cities share. Toxic loans may have been launched in California and fueled by cheap money and financial chicanery on Wall Street, but Miami and Las Vegas are where the financial weapons of mass destruction exploded, vaporizing dreams and fortunes. The palm trees sway, and the neon still beckons, as mold eats away at empty rooms broiling under the noonday sun.”
Financial weapons of mass destruction…quite the turn of phrase to use when describing two of America’s most beloved playgrounds.