Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Musings on ridiculous spending and self-promotion

I find self-promotion hilarious, usually. When Barney Stinson says, in reference to himself, "I've heard that guy's awesome," I giggle.

When Steven Colbert promoted his own portrait, pushing to have it hung in the National Portrait Gallery and ultimately in the Smithsonian's National Treasure exhibit, I laughed.

Maybe it's because I know they're kidding. And maybe it is because I know Hamdan Khouri is not kidding that I find the story (found here and here) on Abu Dhabi license plate auctions and his family's role in them a little less funny. After his 25 year old brother Saeed won the auction for license plate number 1 (with a $14 million bid), the 21 year old Hamdan says "We are lucky. We have the money to get what we want. We want to be the best."

First, um, the best what?

Second, I'm not seeing the value here. If I was playing Let's Make a Deal, and I had the number 1 license plate in hand, I would definitely see what was behind Door #1. I would be thrilled with any of the following outcomes: (1) a big, nice, beautifully appointed, totally furnished house in Chicago (let's go crazy and say value = $5 million), (2) a totally tricked out BMW X5 with free gas for the next 5 years (value = $90,000 at the rate Alex and I drive), (3) Gucci bag (value = $3,000 for something nice), or even (4) 4 tubes of Fresh Sugar Lip Balm (value = $100). That is until you told me I could sell it to the Khouri family for $14 million.

Finally, I'm not so much bothered by their ridiculous wealth (all kinds of people have ridiculous wealth for no real reason other than good fortune, being at the right place at the right time, winning the lottery or the publisher's clearing house sweepstakes or whatever - I don't have the time or the inclination to begrudge them all), I'm more bothered by their lack of creativity. I mean, if I was going to spend $14 million on a license plate, it better be a diamond encrusted, commissioned piece by Damien Hirst or something!

And if there are any wealthy oil barons reading my blog, I would be happy to put you in touch with my most excellent brother-in-law who would be happy to arrange for such a commission. Right Graham?

And so I tie together the two things I wanted to talk about today: the episode of HIMYM I watched last night (one of my favorites) and $14 million license plates.

No comments:

Post a Comment