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The New York Times Does Aspen and Other Sordid Tales

Colin Flaherty's picture

It would not be fair to say the New York Times scorns all successful people.

The Times likes rich people as long as they are not having fun; are in trouble; or doing something for unfortunate folks far, far away.

But that presents them with a dilemma: What to do about Aspen?

Rich people here have lots of fun. The good old fashioned unapologetic kind.

So as much as the editors of the Times love to ridicule the idle rich, their readers see it a different way. They see Aspen as more than a destination. Aspen is the archetype of the ideal.

But still sometimes they cannot help themselves.

The Times recently did a story about one of their reporters and a few college buddies skiing the back country trails between Aspen and Vail.

It was the usual ‘getting away from it all’ kind of story with the usual getting away from it all subtext: ‘The unpleasant people we are getting away from are the people reading the story.’

The Times just couldn’t resist taking a few stabs at we rubes who enjoy our time on the gentle green slopes of Buttermilk – calling us the “hot-chocolate-and-hand-warmer crowd.”

These children of privilege piled it on: “Here were turns never serviced by a ski lift, never made by anyone who didn’t work for the privilege.

Talk about being born on third base and thinking you hit a triple.

Anyway, accompanying the article is a curious photo of the snow ruffians at dinner. Of the three people we can see holding a knife and fork, two of them are holding the fork grasped in all five fingers, tines down. Buffy the Vampire style.

If you want to know exactly what kind of people these folks were avoiding, all you had to do was look a few pages away in the Times Fashion and Style section.

There we meet a hapless, 28 year-old “writer, director and producer with very long dark hair and a very short skirt. She was sipping a Snow Bunny cocktail…” and lamenting how hard times are making $400 bottles of champagne scarce at the Aspen Social Club.

The report on the evening ended with the whole gang making a pilgrimage to the shrine of gonzo writer Hunter Thompson, a former resident of the area known to detest anyone rich or poor who seemed to be enjoying themselves on his turf.

Thompson, a Times’ favorite, killed himself a while back while talking to his wife on the phone.

There is, after all, only so much scorn and irony one person can take.

Other national news about Aspen may be giving pause to the 76 percent of local voters who supported Barack Obama. The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that big banks are canceling group trips to Aspen.

It turns out the big bad business wolves that Obama et al are going to put the screws to are the bartenders and lifties and other working stiffs in Aspen. So when you hear Obama and John Kerry talk about the people who ‘just don’t get it,” now you know whom they are talking about. You.

And CNN reports that Aspen skiers are making the ultimate sacrifice to cut costs during their annual ski jaunts: They are flying into Denver.

And if you ever wanted to party with John Oates (you know… of Hall and Oates only he lost the moustache) this Aspen resident is hosting a series of concerts and seminars for songwriters. So sayeth the Boston Globe.