Privileged status no solace for ranks of New Whiners

ROGER SIMON

August 02, 1993|By ROGER SIMON

I was thinking of sending some money to the Red Cross for the victims of the Midwest flooding.

No. Bad idea. They'll just waste it.

Waste it?

Yeah, they'll spend it on stuff like food, clothing and shelter. There are much needier people you could send your money to.

I guess you're right. Like the people in Bosnia.

Naw.

Somalia?

Nope.

OK, I give up. Who needs my money the most?

Garth Brooks.

Garth Brooks?

Yeah, you know, the country-Western singer.

Which one is he?

The one who always wears a cowboy hat.

That doesn't narrow it down.

The chubby one who always wears a cowboy hat.

Still doesn't narrow it down.

He's the most successful country-Western singer in history and the most popular artist of the '90s, having sold 31 million albums.

Oh, yeah, him. But if he's so successful, why does he need my money?

Good question. All I know is he really must need it, because he is now boycotting music stores that sell his CDs used.

Used?

Yeah. It's a growing trend that really helps consumers. New CDs can sell for around $16, but you can buy used ones for around $9.

Why would anyone want a used CD?

Because they are indistinguishable from new CDs. Unlike records which are played by a needle or tapes which must pass through heads, CDs are "read" by a beam of light. They don't scratch or stretch or get fuzzy. And you shouldn't be able to tell the difference between a new one and one that has been played a thousand times.

So what's Garth Brooks' problem?

He doesn't get any money when a store resells his CD.

But didn't he get money the first time it was sold?

You bet. In fact, he is so rich that when filming a recent TV special, he went out and bought eight $1,000 guitars and smashed each one of them in front of the cameras until he got it just right.

And this guy is angry because he won't get a few more cents on a used CD? What do you call that?

I think it could be called outrageous greed or maybe he is one of what I call The New Whiners.

What's that?

Everybody today wants to be a victim. Victims get all the attention. They get on "Current Affair" and "Hard Copy" and "Oprah" and "Donahue." And the media need people who are willing to stand up in public and whine about how tough life is.

Like who?

Take a look at the front page of last Wednesday's Wall Street Journal. There is a story with the headline: "In a Portland Hot Tub, Young Grads' Anxiety Bubbles to the Surface. Twentysomethings Find Life Bleak as They Sort Mail, Fret About Poverty."

Here is the first paragraph: "Portland, Ore.-- At the Inner City hot tub house here, a dozen men and women in their mid-twenties lounge, naked, in what has become a weekly ritual. Separated only by the hot, bubbling water and cool night air, they glumly discuss derailed careers, the minimum wage and discarded dreams."

Naked?

Starkers.

Men and women?

Together.

And they're still depressed?

Completely. The story, which is very well-written, tells us about young people from good homes, who went to top colleges, and have grown up with all the advantages in life, but can't get the really neat jobs they want.

So "many are simply losing hope." And only "20 percent think chances of achieving the 'good life' are very good, down from 43 percent in 1985."

What do you think of that?

Frankly, I think sitting around buck-naked in a hot tub every week with foxy members of the opposite sex is a working definition of the "good life."

Do you have any advice for these lost souls?

Yes. First: Stop whining.

And second?

Get out of that hot tub. Nobody is going to hire you if you look like a prune.

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