"Demeaning" Work, A Defense
Celebrity actor Armie Hammer might now be a timeshare salesman. So what?
Stumped by life’s most confounding questions? Go ahead and ask Google…….if you want your data harvested. Otherwise, Ask Matt Labash™ at firstname.lastname@example.org.
News recently broke that the disgraced actor, Armie Hammer, is now supporting himself by selling timeshares in the Cayman Islands. In your recent not-very-nice piece on Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, you wrote that he was “blessed with the pleasantly dishonest face of a swampland timeshare hustler.” My question: who would you rather buy a timeshare from, Mark Meadows or Armie Hammer?
This is a tough one. Based on the bizarre sexual allegations that have dogged Hammer, I’m not sure I’d trust him with my daughter (if I had one). Based on the seditious behavior of Mark Meadows, I definitely wouldn’t trust him with my country (I do have one, for now anyway). So after strenuous deliberation on this matter, I’d probably have to skip the timeshare and go with a pop-up camper.
Though I do owe an apology for the timeshare-hustler crack. I don’t make apologies often – regret is a bad look in the punditry business, since the entire enterprise turns on feigning abject certitude about all things. But the comparison was deeply unfair…..to timeshare hustlers. I’m not positive that I’d call it honest work. But in these days when people claim vocations such as “Instagram influencer” or “blockchain analyst,” it’s close enough. A lot of people love timeshares. The same way they love Carnival cruises or bro-country. Things that aren’t to my taste, but thank God everybody doesn’t have my taste. Cruise-ship comedians and bro-country producers need work, too.
Which is what most interests me about the Armie Hammer timeshare salesman story: the shock and horror and glee expressed by people that a guy who was once on the A-minus celebrity list is, or was, now working a “normal job.” It’s an impulse that is exacerbated by social media generally and the laughing-hyena pen that is Twitter specifically, which have come to ensure that our national sport is no longer baseball or football, but schadenfreude. Whether we personally succeed is nearly immaterial. And most of us aren’t “succeeding” by any objective measure. As of this May, according to a YouGov survey, 49 percent of Americans can’t afford a $400 emergency expense. So planting our flags in other people’s misfortunes can serve as a success stand-in.