Once upon a time, in the days of Emily Post perhaps, it was considered rude in polite company to discuss religion, politics, or money. Now, I’m not really sure what polite company is because my family was just way too lower class or just way too impolite. And so I have to wonder if this was ever true.
It’s certainly not taboo today. Religion and politics are as intertwined as cheese and lasagna and we’re borderline obsessed with money, with how the government spends it, with the craptastic economy, but mostly with how private citizens use their money or lack thereof.
Money has always made the world go ’round, so maybe it’s naive of me to think there was ever a time we weren’t constantly talking about it.
It’s an interesting phenomenon for sure, almost surely tied to recession and our need to place blame where it is or isn’t due because what else can we do? We’re angry about our situation and need to throw our anger somewhere and then you add in a rabid media telling us who to blame and who to hate and it would be impossible not to think about and talk about money and finances all the damn day.
I’ve discussed here on the Sprocket before the new notion of entitlements and how we as a society expect those who receive any kind of assistance behave. We call them entitled while we feel that our tax dollars entitle us to say just how those who take help live and shop and dress and get around.
But that’s just one small piece I think.
As an example, I found myself on a comment board talking about wedding gifts the other day, a topic that seems to be incessantly beaten to death these days, revolving around the influx of alternative wedding registries like cash or honeymoon registries or house payment funds, etc., and then you add in brides who expect gifts to cover the costs of the reception and insanely expensive weddings and, well, needless to say people have been wigging out.
Anyway, I was honestly fairly surprised that people feel very passionate about the subject. Some said that expecting any gifts was offensive, “Don’t expect me to pay for your lifestyle choice.” While others felt that anything alternative was uncouth, “Honeymoon registries go too far. Don’t plan a trip you can’t afford and expect me to pay for it.”
Now, like I said, I have never run with a rich crowd by any means, and, growing up in the religion I did, I have been to a fuckton of weddings, and I have never seen such anger and vitriol over a wedding gift or how a couple chooses to celebrate. Where I come from, you give what you can give and a couple is grateful because it’s not about the gifts or the money. However, I’m not here to say one way is right over another; I’m just so damn curious as to why this is that big of a deal. Isn’t giving an expensive gift the same as giving to a fund?
But apparently it would seem that talking about money is offensive to lots of people. And I’m really curious as to where these people come from. I’d love to research these opinions and see how economic class and cultural background play a part.
So what do you think? I mean, I’m sure you’re perfect and have no debt and always buy organic and have a healthy IRA and bring perfectly tasteful wedding gifts. But besides that, what do you think? Why are we so obsessed with money, with everyone else’s money?