It's something lottery ads often ask: what would life be like if you were rich?
They show ordinary people blowing their money on improbable amusements and we all dream and laugh along.
Yet when the real thing comes by -- real rich people blowing their money on improbable amusements -- we become King Tut-Tut.
This rather unhip hypocrisy comes to mind on considering Rich Kids of Instagram. Should you have missed this cultural icon, it depicts the excesses of the young, restless, and loaded as they sail through life on a hull made of $100 bills.
Some have described the images on this Tumblr feed as "obnoxious." Others, such as the Atlantic Wire, suggested: "Preteens posing with helicopters they did nothing to earn and posting the pictures online for others to ogle provides an easy in for commentary on the state of the American dream. (Dead.)"
How appalling, critics say, that these kids of the wealthy, who might not ever have performed a day's work in their lives, can leap from tall buildings into large swimming pools, while we sit there and bemoan our hapless fate and our pedicureless feet.
Then we go home and watch "Jersey Shore" to comfort ourselves. After all, on that show, everyone is so very, very beneath us that it makes us feel deeply better about the same lot in life that, hours earlier, we thought tragic.
There is a long and joyous history of the humble's obsession with the wealthy. "Dallas" was somehow adorable, even if its characters earned their money from scheming that would make Jeffrey Skilling blush.
Vanity Fair cannot help but slide in a couple of articles every few months about some rich fogey or other, as we all marvel how marvelous it must have been/be to be Rockefeller/Kennedy/Simpson.
Yet along comes Rich Kids of Instagram, with its initial subjects being retiring flowers like Paris Hilton's little brother, Barron, and we fulminate through our molars and hiss through our dentures.
Those who initially began the feed are, in fact, becoming depressed at what has happened.
Oh, no, it isn't the criticism that has them reaching for their gold-plated medicine cabinet. It's that that Rich Kids of Instagram has become so well known that any old riff-raff thinks they can post their images of excess.
More Technically Incorrect
As Jon Wienner, a DJ who hangs with the louche and lovely, told the Washington Post: "Before it was a chronicle of the children of the 1 percent. Now anybody can post a photo of his big bottle of Dom."
The "Dom" he refers to is Perignon, rather than Domestos.
Are we really so sure that if we grew up in wealthy households with parents indulging our every whim from potty to playground, we wouldn't want to live a lazy, monied life, rather than become coders and psychiatrists?
Isn't what's heartening -- and, indeed, different -- about the rich kids of Instagram, is that they're modern and social enough to want to share their lives with those less fortunate than themselves?