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The Cody Blog: A Charity Event for People -- and for Pigs

Saturday, September 10, 2005

A Charity Event for People -- and for Pigs

Two nights, two benefits. I was supposedly doing good for this world by going to these things and giving money to charities. I feel disgust instead.

Oh, Thursday's night event was pretty good actually. Put on by a major newspaper, it was held at a club/bar in the 20s. There were people there from all walks of life, and everybody was amicable and cheerful. A big reason why was the way you were greeted when you got there. Two very pretty women with brains and without pretensions, smiling and chatting with you. Talking about "the cause", which in this case was the Red Cross. Frankly, I had a good time and met good people. See the italics below for my issues with charity.

Friday night, and one of my good buddies had invited to go to a 3rd annual charity formal at the high-falutin' "Boathouse" in Central Park. It was a black tie event, and just as I didn't have a suit when I got to NYC, I don't have a black tie outfit today. I do have a couple very nice black suits, and I went out yesterday after the market closed to a nice men's store, Rothman's, in my neighborhood and dropped five hundred bucks in total on an Egyptian cotton cuff-linked dress shirt (I didn't have a white dress shirt with cuff links), some new cufflinks (I only had one pair -- old NYC subway token cuff links -- that had been given to my by Andrew Lanyi in my first few months as his assistant when I'd worn a hand-me-down shirt someone else had given me with paper clips as cuff links at work one day -- hey, I was young and poor...and I digress), a formal black and silver diagonally stiped tie and a silver handkerchief (what a strange word). Anyway, I got all dressed up and looked quite formal.

We caught a cab uptown to 72nd where the Boat house is and joined the throngs of formal-wearing folk streaming into the Boathouse. My buddy's a pretty big hedge fund manager (he was wearing a brand new Zegna tux and stuff from Bergdorff, btw) and we'd been "upgraded to VVIP status" -- yeah, VERY very important people. Ironically, we had to stand in a long line with the other "lesser important" peeps, while the "junior ticket holders" streamed right in. Standing in line chatting with three ladies from Pfizer, I noted that the reason there's no line for the juniors is because anyone who's going to bother donating money and wearing a black tie is gonna pony up that last $75 to get VIP status.

Anyway, I don't do lines. I'll walk right out of a drugstore if there are more than two people in front of me when I'm ready to check out. But what could I do. I breathed deeply and tried to enjoy chatting with these three ladies and the dude behind us. But I couldn't get into the people. It' s not that they had nothing to say. But they just weren't really there. They didn't want to talk, they didn't like standing in line either, and they didn't ask anybody anything. Just telling us what they do for a living.

And the throngs of rich white people surrounding us didn't want to be there either. So the atmosphere was ugly and restless. And people were cutting. Somehow, from being in the middle of this long line, we ended up being the last -- the LAST -- five people with our public swimming pool wrist bands to go in.

And inside it was even worse. All these pretentious, fake, rude, disgusting white people looking and acting like they belonged at some mindless meat market fraternity formal that I'd rather die than go to, were mulling around bumping into each other, cutting in front of each other at the bar, at the buffet, at the dance floor -- I still can't get over how rude -- with undertones of violence -- the atmosphere was. What a bunch of pigs. All in the name of charity. Whatever. The only people who were nice to me at all were women who literally grabbed me as I'd walk by and demand to talk to me. One drunk grabbed me and then ran her fingers through my hair -- while her husband stood next to her in dismay. Pigs.

This is charity? Aside from the fact that I have seroius reservations about the concept of charity -- does it actually help except in the very short run? Does it undermine what would otherwise be self-sustaining virtuous productivity? -- this is not how money should be raised. Creating a meat market of a formal event for rich white upper East Siders and other New Yorkers to stand in lines to pound free vodka and wine is not a charitable event. It's a crock. And it left me feeling empty, depressed, and even angry.

That said, I am SO glad I went. I guess in some Taoist-type respect, I totally loved that experience. I loved seeing that environment full of those angry, detached people. Even as it makes me sad.

22 Comments:

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9/10/2005 09:50:00 AM  
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9/10/2005 09:51:00 AM  
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9/10/2005 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger Grump said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/10/2005 01:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did it make you feel glad, sad, and mad because you realized that there really isn't anyone,anywhere, rich, white, poor, any race, who isn't living a life of "quiet, or, in this case, boisterous desperation" and therefore no one to be your guru?

9/10/2005 01:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"All these pretentious, fake, rude, disgusting white people looking and acting like they belonged at some mindless meat market fraternity formal that I'd rather die than go to"

"That said, I am SO glad I went"

Are you sure?

"And the throngs of rich white people surrounding us didn't want to be there either."

"I went out yesterday . . . and dropped five hundred bucks on an Egyptian cotton cuff-linked dress shirt."

Really?

9/10/2005 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Grump said...

Cody - I suggest that you buy a tux, get a haircut (close) and drink more vodka. Then you will fit right in with the "pigs". Some of those "pigs" may be your clients.....

9/10/2005 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger Grump said...

Cody - But I concur with your thoughts on charity....a short term fix at best....

9/10/2005 06:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Cody - I suggest that you buy a tux, get a haircut (close) and drink more vodka. Then you will fit right in with the "pigs". Some of those "pigs" may be your clients....."

Or they may be employers like James Cramer who's rich, white (what's with the heavy focus on that, btw?),happens to go to charitable events and . . . is a pretty nice dude to boot.

As a hedge fund manager just starting out it not only appears that you need this group . . . but that you may be joining it in time!

9/10/2005 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger The Unknown Broker said...

"I went out yesterday after the market closed to a nice men's store, Rothman's, in my neighborhood and dropped five hundred bucks on an Egyptian cotton cuff-linked dress shirt..."

There is no such thing as a five hundred dollar shirt.

Oh, there are shirts that they will charge you $500 for.

But there is no such thing as a five hundred dollar shirt.

9/11/2005 11:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cody you get more retarded by the week. I can't wait to see what is next. GET A LIFE!!

9/11/2005 03:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Piggy,
We are all dying to know what the # 4 blogger said.
Sorry I caught it late Number Four.
Please repeat it.

9/11/2005 09:50:00 PM  
Blogger JoeC said...

Cody,
You should go to the Robin Hood Foundation benefit next year. Many Wall Streeters there. It is a huge, huge event (4,000 people at the Javits) and they raise big money ($32 million at this year's dinner). Tons of Wall Streeters. Some celebs. And best of all it is a great organization and the board underwrites all of the expenses of the gala so 100% of dollars go to the charity. Also some fun items auctioned for the big hitters to blow a few hundred grand or so if they so desire.
By the way, sure there are a lot of pigs. Put 1 million people on an island and put 11 million or so in close proximity to that island you are bound to come into all sorts of characters, some good and some bad.

9/11/2005 09:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's time all of you read or reread The Great Gatsby. The party scenes replay themselves perennially.

9/12/2005 12:17:00 AM  
Blogger Cody Willard said...

I'll come back later and address more of these questions...

but in the meantime, surely you guys dont' think I spent $500 on a shirt. Read the whole damn sentence. I spent $500 on a shirt, cufflinks, a tie, and a scarf. Sheesh.

9/12/2005 08:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'll come back later and address more of these questions..."

While you at it could you provide the Web site address to your hedge fund firm?

9/12/2005 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger The Unknown Broker said...

"but in the meantime, surely you guys dont' think I spent $500 on a shirt. Read the whole damn sentence. I spent $500 on a shirt, cufflinks, a tie, and a scarf. Sheesh.

Well yeah. Now that you've cleaned up the clumsy wording and poor syntax (betcha a certain English teacher was just about on a plane to whup on you for that.) Actually I'm just working from memory. Certainly it was your wording and not my feeble brain and faulty reading that led to my confusion.

That having been said -- I still can't come up with more than about $200. (Of course, the cuff links are the wild card.) Actually I do my fancy shirt and accessory shopping at TJ Maxx and the like, so I'm thinking $100 would have me set up -- Shirt $30, tie $20, cufflinks $20, handkerchief $10...heck what's that $80? Money left over for dinner at the Sizzler. ($200 is if I go to the department store at the mall.)

By the way, young WillardWalker -- they are called French cuff shirts.

9/12/2005 02:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And inside it was even worse. All these pretentious, fake, rude, disgusting white people looking and acting like they belonged at some mindless meat market fraternity formal that I'd rather die than go to, were mulling around bumping into each other, cutting in front of each other at the bar, at the buffet, at the dance floor -- I still can't get over how rude -- with undertones of violence -- the atmosphere was. What a bunch of pigs." 9/10/05

"Yes, certainly there were plenty of good people at this event." 9/12/05

Well, of course, this was soooooo transparent from your first post, that there's absolutely no need to elaborate or apologize or . . . perform damage control. :)

9/12/2005 04:04:00 PM  
Blogger Cody Willard said...

Hey, Cody-haters -- you haven't caught on that the site administrator has been instructed to delete any comments that are violent in any way shape or form? Some other bash comments will be deleted too. You can keep posting all you want -- we'll keep deleting. Hoohah!

Bring the Cody Hate -- but quit being such little wussy babies hiding behind your "anonymous" titles when you post the hate. Punks.

9/12/2005 05:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"you haven't caught on that the site administrator has been instructed to delete any comments that are violent in any way shape or form? Some other bash comments will be deleted too. You can keep posting all you want -- we'll keep deleting. Hoohah!"

Isn't that you? :)

Seriously, isn't this blog repression similar to what you would find in North Korea or China or . . . the Bush White House?

And when you're referring to people at a charity as angry, rich, white pigs (did I forget anything?), is that something like acceptable bashing?

Free the Cody Blog!

9/12/2005 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger Cody Willard said...

"Did it make you feel glad, sad, and mad because you realized that there really isn't anyone,anywhere, rich, white, poor, any race, who isn't living a life of "quiet, or, in this case, boisterous desperation" and therefore no one to be your guru?"

Like I said, I was mostly saddened by the dynamics at this particular event. You are also your own guru.

"Or they may be employers... who [are] rich, white (what's with the heavy focus on that, btw?)..."

Yes, certainly there were plenty of good people at this event. But overall the thing was a nightmare crowding of mindless, angry people. The heavy focus on the white thing stems from my disbelief at how out of hundreds of people in attendance I saw only one black person, and no other non-whites. Not that there's anything per se wrong with that. But I am calling it like I see it. And it was 99%+ all white at this thing.

"You should go to the Robin Hood Foundation benefit next year."

I went to it before. Much better than this Boathouse thing. But again, I'm not sure that charity is a good thing for the world anyway. Until I am, I'll be very restrained in my participation of such.

Don't get me wrong -- I've befriended and act as a "big brother" to several kids in NYC and elsewhere. But I don't consider that "charity". That's just being social.

Lots of interesting dialogue here (aside from all you folks who thought I paid $500 for a single shirt -- not that there's anythign wrong with either. Such a capitalist transaction does far more to feed people than charity ever can.)

9/13/2005 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger Killer_B said...

You said it brotha. I've often wondered how we can justify a party as "charity." After all, if all the money that went into paying for the location, the food, the workers, and the free booze actually went to the charity...well, then it would be charity. The only thing a person should get out of true charity is that "good" feeling you get when you help someone else.

7/10/2006 09:58:00 AM  

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