Durst column: Rich is as rich does
Stop the presses. Hold the phone. Call the queen. Ring a bell. Do the math. Cut the cheese. Bring the hurt. Mind the gap. Get a clue. Catch a break. Hook me up. Cancel lunch. Aid and abet. Alert the media. Blow the shofar.
The cause of all this consternation? Evidence has emerged that rich people use their money to access privileges that poor folks can’t afford. I know, right? What next: the Pacific Ocean is moist? Plumbers are expensive? Landlords opposed to rent control? Couch cushions in suburban Midwestern basements soiled with beer stains?
This isn’t just about being able to travel to exotic destinations at a moment’s notice or having decent health care on call or buying in bulk at Costco. This is the dark underbelly of people who never need to glance at the right side of the menu or steal Kleenex from the hotel room or hold up the grocery store lines sifting through coupons.
After conducting Operation Varsity Blues, the FBI arrested 33 rich parents accused of trying to buy their kids’ admission to prestigious universities through nefarious means: having ringers take SAT tests in their stead. Claiming students were disabled, and while retaking the test, proctors would slip them answers. Other families pretended students were upper level athletes, going so far as to Photoshop heads onto team pictures. Hopefully, not football.
This was done in lieu of earning a slot to matriculate the old-fashioned way: by bribing schools with hefty financial incentives – the tax-deductible method that Jared Kushner’s father implemented by donating $2.5 million to Harvard. Of course, Jared did learn important lessons such as how to marry into a richer family. Or at least what he thought was a richer family.
The colleges involved announced internal investigations destined to get to the bottom of things somewhere near the turn of the next century. The scheme unraveled when admissions consultant William Rick Singer, who said he built a “side door” to get into the best colleges, cooperated with the investigation in return for immunity. No honor amongst the rich. BSOC: Big Snitch on Campus.
A couple of famous actresses were rounded up in the sting, and both lost work in the ensuing publicity, though maybe they can play themselves in the Hallmark Channel Movie of the Week about the scandal. Of course it would need to be a Christmas special.
Lori Laughlin paid $500,000 to get her two wee bairn into USC pretending they were crew athletes. That’s $250,000 apiece. How cluelessly entitled were these girls? One daughter went on Instagram and posted a video “I want the experience of, like, game days, partying…I don’t really care about school, as you guys all know.” Not sure what her grades were, but sounds like she couldn’t spell GPA it if you spotted her the G and the P.
And now the inevitable deluge of civil lawsuits begins. One student is suing because she couldn’t get into USC and had to settle for Stanford. A Bay Area teacher, Jennifer Kay Toy, whose only son had a 4.2 GPA and couldn’t get into his school of choice, is suing for $500 billion. With a “b.” This single mother obviously went to a good school. And majored in fantasy. Probably a graduate of Trump University. Dean’s List.
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