Now I Know Why There Are So Many “Real Housewives”
f you know me personally or if you have read this blog for a long enough period of time, then you know that reality TV is my guilty pleasure. I started off in the baby pool of reality TV with shows like The Biggest Loser, but in my tenure as a reality TV addict I’ve done everything from Hoarders to a one time encounter with Rock of Love. In recent months I’ve tried to cut back. At this point I’m only using The Biggest Loser, Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes, and A&E’s Heavy.However, reality TV is a slippery slope, and I could become a heavy user again at any time. (Oh, I forgot I have specific plans to watch Bethenney Ever After when it starts this Monday. But other than that I’m clean).
I mention all of this because I have watched more than my fair share of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of (Insert Name of City with Rich People Here). What has always made me curious about the Real Housewives franchise is, how do they find that many really, really rich people? I am a public school teacher and proudly take home a modest, five-figure salary. In fact, I make today as a Master’s Degree holding, National Board Certified, almost ten year veteran of the profession less than what my college suite mate’s boyfriend made as a computer scientist before he even had his Bachelor’s Degree. Don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining. I chose my profession not for the salary, but because I love it, and because it is something specific I can do to help promote freedom, equity, and democracy. Also, I have been lucky enough to spend my career teaching in communities where teachers are in the top 50% of wage earners. I am sure I would have different feelings about my compensation if I taught in Northern California and had to buy food stamps to afford to eat on a teacher’s salary.
So back to the Housewives, I was getting my daily dose of news nuggets from the Yahoo! ticker when I came across this link that revealed the following graph:
Now, I am not vouching for the methodology of the data collection or the credibility of the source that produced this andthe other charts, but if this is even remotely accurate, it answers the question of where all of those millionaire Housewivescame from. This graph claims that the top one-hundredth of a percent of Americans make, on average, just over 27 million dollars a year. In your mind right now you are probably like man, the top one-hundredth of a percent, that must be like a thimble full of people. Nope. Guess what, if all of the people who are in the top one-hundredth of a percent of wage earners in the US wanted to see a University of Kentucky Basketball game, they would not all be able to fit in Rupp Arena. That is right, 23,ooo of them would be able to watch the game, but the other seven to ten thousand of them would be left out in the cold. Unless of course they pooled their massive wealth and added on to Rupp Arena. Stranger things have happened. So, if the wealthiest hundredth of a percent of Americans is equivalent to about 30,000 Americans, then there are plenty of potential candidates to be on The Real Housewives of ______. And the reason there are so many spin offs of the Real Housewive franchise is because the other 99.99% of us Americans are really curious about how the other .01% lives. In particular, the bottom 90% of us who make on average just over $31,000 a year.
The good news is there will be Real Housewives to watch from now until the gap between the richest and poorest Americans becomes so great that the U.S more closely resembles first century China than the America your parents grew up in. The bad news is that the super wealthy will own all the TVs and will watch them behind the walls of their forbidden cities.