INSIDE THIS ISSUE
T his month, we’re talking “consumption.” (The compulsion, not the disease.) The Internet seems to be sucking the fun out of holiday shopping... and leaving behind a bunch of credit-card bills. Editor in Chief P.J. O’Rourke gets us started with why it seems like you need to be rich today to live the ordinary middle-class lifestyle of 65 years ago. Feature contributor Porter Stansberry continues our talk of debt from last month with a look at America’s most heroic debtor... and the dangerous “solution” that governments around the world would rather put in place. Bestselling author Turney Duff talks tipping... from $5 for a better parking space to “pay to play” corporate feudalism. And Brian Courtney interviews five folks out holiday shopping – and compares what they’re buying to how much they’ve saved for retirement. (We tell how they could better prepare.) Alice Lloyd writes about the “Death of Shopping”... and we wonder whether you profited from the “ Death of Malls .” (You could have, if you’d been reading this team of analysts.) P.J. and design director Erica Wood worked with illustrator Henry Smith to create a list of fantastic (very bad) holiday gift ideas, like a special hand-crafted duplex pet pillow that allows your cat to sleep comfortably on your face... Veteran journalist and former presidential speechwriter Andrew Ferguson writes about the reasons behind the “Toy Big Bang”...
while Christine Rosen talks the “Explosion of Stuff” and who’s cashing in on it. P.J. tosses statistics in the wastebasket to talk about consumer trends: what today’s decibel levels, anxiety, traffic jams, and body mass index say about America.
Lavish experiences can be more widely and effectively flaunted via social media than beautiful items, of course, which are best coveted by a discrete audience of first-hand witnesses. Christine Rosen
Dr. David Eifrig warns about your health in winter. Author Patrick Wensink explores the secretive world of Christmas tree salesmen. And Matt Labash shares the War In Christmas... and why he’s still at heart a sentimentalist. Plus, don’t miss P.J. admit what he’d do if he had $100 billion this holiday season. Finally, we share a conversation with Jason Delgado – sniper, warrior, author, and teacher – while radio host and former CIA analyst Buck Sexton finishes out our issue with a look at what to expect from the Middle East in 2018. Enjoy the issue. And tell us what you think at email@example.com . Regards, Steven Longenecker Managing Editor, American Consequences
4 | December 2017
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