Are The Rich Different?

I think the rich are different (and not just that they have more money).

I have no idea if Jewish Journal editor Rob Eshman comes from money but he seems to have the easy confidence that comes from coming from money.

My therapist has that same confidence. I suspect he was popular at school.

A few months ago, one Jewish Journal blogger bizarrely went after Tattletales writer Tamara Shayne Kagel for saying that women need to look their best if they want to attract the best type of man.

And as the back and forth went on, I was impressed by how Tamara — younger by two decades than the woman going after her — kept her cool even as her attacker became increasingly unhinged.

It could be that Tamara is just inherently wonderful or it could be her upbringing.

I think Tamara has described her home as lower upper class.

I sense a grace and poise in Tamara’s writing and demeanor that comes in part from a comfortable life. She exhibits no desire to get down in the gutter and fight things out for tiny stakes. Instead, she seems secure in believing that there’s plenty of good things out in the world if you work hard, study, and play smart. You don’t have to wrestle for every scrap. Keep your eye on the prize.

My background is middle class. My dad’s a self-made man. And I see in myself this constant unseemly striving for attention while I am consistently excelled in the things that matter by those around me who don’t put on a big show and dance but are just pleasant and nice.

When Tamara came over for our interview a year ago, she brought crumpets. She was gracious and funny. And when I went to write up our chat, she never asked to take anything back. She was willing to stand by everything she had said. That’s class. It’s a damn rare quality.

Most people I know like nothing better than talking about themselves for two hours and they hate nothing more than seeing it end up in print.

I’ve been writing hurtful things online since 1997. I’ve noticed that in response to such blogging, poor people threaten to beat me up and rich people threaten to sue me. Beyond that, I’ve noticed that poor people tend to be much more reactive in their responses while rich people tend to be more careful. Self-made men, by contrast, are the most likely to invest in causing me the most serious amount of pain so they can prove how powerful they are. Rich people don’t need to prove anything. Usually, they don’t want to be bothered. They have more important things in life than showing off how powerful they are. If their well-being is at stake, they will react accordingly, but they’ll rarely go beyond that.

I think I’m pretty sensitive to the dynamic of trying too hard because I see so much of that in myself. It’s a relief to be around people with grace such as Rob Eshman, Tamara Shayne Kagel, David Suissa, Joey Kurtzman, et al.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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