Culture

Recession Dictionary Entry 150n./ Staycations are so 2008. This year, the trendy way to travel is vicariously, through other people’s adventures. Whether you’re unemployed and running out of savings or are working so hard to keep your job that you can’t take time off, it’s an easy way to save on airfare!

We heard this one from our friend…

Money Plane CrashThings may be turning around in some areas of the economy, but some demographics are still feeling the heat more than others. Here’s how it shakes out:

Age: Although workers of all ages have been impacted by the recession, statistics show that those over the age of 60 have been hurt worse than anyone else. In the past, older workers would retire if their career headed south. Nowadays, however, with 401Ks dwindling, more and more 60+ workers have joined the unemployment line and started looking for new work.

Race: Blacks and Hispanics have lost significantly more jobs since the recession began than whites. Overall, the unemployment rate for black workers is double that of white employees, with the national unemployment rate hovering at 15 percent for blacks and 12.7 percent for Hispanics, versus 9.5 percent overall.

Gender: It’s not called a “mancession” for nothing…

mark wagner petty cash 200What is art for? In the boom years, many people, if answering honestly, would have said art was status symbol, investment, an excuse for socializing (and social climbing) at art fairs and gallery openings from New York to Miami to Switzerland. During the boom, artists prospered instead of starving and even students got high prices for their work. Eight of the 10 most expensive paintings ever were sold between 2004 and 2008.

The art market has crashed along with everything else. We’re all thinking more about money–and we’re also thinking differently about it. Which may be shifting the spotlight to artists who have a more skeptical take on money, markets and capitalism than, say, Damien Hirst, the darling of the boom years who created a $100 million, diamond-encrusted skull. We’ve seen some impressive examples out there:

Hedge Fund is an eerie work by Gianni Monteleone, one of 12 artists that Robert Jain, head of Credit Suisse global proprietary trading, commissioned to create works inspired by Wall Street terminology…

Recession Dictionary Entry 150/n. What happens when the government issues coupons on cars but doesn’t use the same printing machine as it seems to for currency.

Spotted here, and in a comment on Facebook, in discussion of the cash that ran out on the government subsidy “Cash for Clunkers” program that gave consumers a $3,500 or $4,500 voucher per car for so-called gas guzzlers that could be traded in for fuel-efficient vehicles. The program was so successful at encouraging auto sales that Congress had to approve an additional $2 billion for it, on top of the initial $1 billion. But dealerships have to wade through extensive (17 pages) paperwork and face delays in getting paid by the auto giants—and some consumers lose out on vouchers that have run out. What’s more, so much for the environmental benefit since the clunkers are creating a pileup in the junkyard. No wonder some dealerships are opting out.

Ex. Dealerships are up to their ears in paperwork for the Cash for Clunkers program, and some owners will not be able to cash in after all, resulting in a general clunkerf*ck…

couple-smiling-sunshineDon’t let the state of the declining economy reduce the richness of pleasure in your sex life.

I wouldn’t go out with a guy who refused to spend resources — time, energy, effort or money — on our date. It’s not about the ka-ching. It’s about value. I deserve a life filled with excitement, happiness and sexual richness regardless of mine or my lover’s bank account balance. In case you want the same, I enlisted a few friends and fellow writers of the sexy stuff to provide tips that pump up the heat without pushing out a lot of cash.

Eat, Drink, and Be Sexy

“Human beings are social creatures by nature,” says sex and relationship educator Reid Mihalko. “Building intimacy and fostering feelings of connectedness, especially during tough economic times, can be a cheap and powerful way to make your relationship recession proof!” You could cook at home, but that might feel routine and uninspired. Instead of upscale feasts at overpriced establishments, opt for cozy but sophisticated family-run eateries…

Remember the days when everyone in L.A. wanted to be a slasher? You know—actor/director, screenwriter/producer. With film budgets being but, some celebs will have to take on less glamorous roles…

film-made-for-each-other-200The 1930s were a heyday for screwball comedies, rowdy pictures where complications were piled onto complications, until the characters reached their breaking point, crazy stuff happened, hilarity ensued and moviegoers went home happy. In the Great Depression, filmmakers used broad comedy to touch on issues of class and poverty, but kept audiences enthralled with plenty of slapstick that always found some upper crust heel choking on their silver spoon.

Which is why if you’ve seen Made for Each Other—especially when it was first released in 1939—it can only be because you’re a Jimmy Stewart and/or Carole Lombard completist.

On December 12, 1939 producer David O. Selznick changed the course of Hollywood history when Gone with the Wind premiered in Atlanta. It was the centerpiece of his filmic legacy and overshadowed Made for Each Other, a simple comedy that hit closer to home for many Americans: the upheaval on a young marriage brought on by personal finances…

chart trending upPortfolio.com, where two of us worked pre-Recessionwire, asked us to weigh in on all the assertions on the recession’s end. You can see our story there today:

The Recession is Over. But the Change is Not.

And here’s an excerpt:

If you really want to know if the downturn is done, try this: Turn off CNBC and unplug your WiFi. Look around and take stock of what you have. Chances are, you haven’t made many purchases in a while, and you probably have no plans to. The fridge is stocked because you don’t eat out as much as you once did. Instead of your regular summer vacations

man-woman-dice-gender-symbol-200In the 1970s, women and minorities got bashed by the downturn; they were most vulnerable to LIFO—“last in-first out,” a principle that labor unions swore by. In 1974, when GM laid off 2,400 workers, that included almost every woman on the assembly line, since they had not been hired until four years after the Civil Rights Act was passed.

This time around, we’re seeing a Mancession. The vast majority of the jobs lost in the downturn have been held by men—manufacturing and construction have been hit harder than health care and education. Women now make up 49.83 percent of the American workforce—more than ever before.

But reality isn’t all simple and shiny.

The biggest reason to hold off on celebrating: Do we want more work or do we want more choice? They’re not the same thing…

paris-hilton-in-tiara-200There have been many sad passings in the downturn, some the results of the economy (lots of jobs, Domino magazine) others not (John Hughes). But as always, there is an upside: The bust seems to have killed off some of the more distasteful boom trends, expressions of excess that just aren’t appropriate anymore.

McMansions
All around the country, sprawling new developments sit empty, oversized homes are being foreclosed on, and home buyers are choosing—for the first time in 15 years, more normal-sized properties. A double-height great room does not a happy (or financially sound) family make.

SUVs
The McMansions of cars also boomed in the boom, when we didn’t care how much we spent for gas and were happy to tower over pathetic hippie cyclists. Wired.com says that 60 percent of the cars that have been junked through the Cash for Clunkers program are gas-guzzling Ford Explorers…