Fed Up With Crisis, Salon Says, Go Shopping!

The world’s a rough place. Just today, headlines brought us news of violent clashes between French youth and police, tense talks between the President and the Man-Who-Could-Have-Been about global warming, and a plummeting stock market. Oh, and there’s a war on.

Under the circumstances, the good people over at Salon could be forgiven for taking a few hours out of their day to focus on life’s pleasures, and so they have—life’s very, very expensive pleasures.

Among the offerings on the front-page holiday gift guide:

A digital music system that’s $1,000 before the frills; a $595 ticket to an “intimate gathering” with Bob Novak (to support the great cause of… Bob Novak); $764.99 worth of art-house cinema; and a just-shy-of-$100 clock radio that, in the words of the editors, offers “very good radio reception.”

Even in the era of subprime loans and soaring credit card debt, Americans are expected to spend an average of $859 each on holiday gifts this year (and that’s an improvement). To buttress the deficit spending, the Federal Reserve will funnel $8 billion to banks through the end of the year. Not to be a total buzzkill, but the Salon guide seems giddily oblivious to Americans’ financial and environmental woes. Even if they wanted to revel in fun, lavish gifts, they might also suggest ways for people to minimize their consumption while still preserving the Spirit of Christmas. While the list has some cheap-ish and politically savvy ideas, it doesn’t really offer any options for fun without money.

What’s more, Salon seems torn about how to handle its geeky finds. Do they actually want you to buy three days at the Indy 500 racing school ($4,000), or are they just really excited that you could? There’s nothing wrong with going all out for a really perfect gift, but for a lot of us that’s just wishful thinking.

—Casey Miner

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