The Top ‘Recession Porn’ Stories of 2009

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With an apparently resurgent economy, the media genre known as recession porn may be gone for good. What, exactly, is recession porn? You know it when you see it. Basically, it’s the fascination with all the weird ways the recession has affected different groups of people—the rich and privileged especially, because everyone knows the financial crisis has been tough on the working classes. In this look back, you’ll see that recession porn stories include the economic downturn’s impact on celebrities, the Queen of England, and workers in the actual porn industry.

Here are the recession porn stories that most amused me over the past year:

Next Bright Idea: $300 Socks?
High-end fashion designers must deal with the fact that consumers just aren’t buying $300 “premium” jeans like they did circa 2007.
Quote from somebody affected: “It was all just a fad.”
That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles in the Ivy League
Harvard University scales back on perks, meaning no more hot breakfasts in dorms and no more cookies at faculty meetings.
Quote from somebody affected: “Everyone is worried. It could be anything next; nobody really knows.”
Slumming It in Shared Private Jets
Rather an individual chartering a private jet all for one party, the trend among the super rich is to “jetpool,” which is the equivalent of sharing a taxi, only with an airplane and at roughly 50,000 times the price. Also, so as not to flaunt their wealth, some rich folks have the decency to ask designer store checkout clerks to put their new purchases into plain bags. Mustn’t be too showy, you know.
Quote from somebody affected: “A lot of us are downsizing, not only because we have to, but because we think it is the right thing to do.”
Coming Soon: G-Strings Stuffed with Quarters and Dimes?
Strip clubs, hurting for business, waive cover charges and discount drinks to appeal to a downscale clientele. At the same time, club owners say that because of widespread layoffs in nearly every other industry, it’s never been easier to find beautiful women eager to work as exotic dancers.
Quote from somebody affected: “It’s not quite the elite crowd that used to come in.”
God Save the Queen from the Poorhouse
The Queen of England, hat in hand, says she’s broke and needs the government to double her income.
Quote from somebody affected: No comment.
Less Bling in VIP Swag Bags at the Oscars
Companies that used to hand out gift bags with $3,500 watches and $5,000 toilets to celebrities switched things up in early 2009; the recession-era swag included vacuum cleaners and other significantly scaled-back merchandise. Don’t worry: A year’s worth of botox was still among the gifts offered to celebs.
Quote from somebody affected: “The country has shifted, and I think that bling is out. I think that people are a little more conservative and they don’t want to flaunt it in everyone’s faces.”
Last Call for Free Beer
Among the many folks screwed over by the recession, retired Molson employees lost out on the free beer allotment that was part of their pension. Retirees of the Canadian brewer who were accustomed to receiving six dozen bottles a month are being forced to stomach a mere dozen bottles of month, and in five years, they’ll have to pay for every ounce of beer they drink. Current Molson workers saw their beer allotment dropped from 72 dozen to 52 free dozen a year.
Quote from somebody affected: “I think with the economic downturn they’re trying to take advantage of us, as a way to cut retirees’ benefits and justify it.”
Anybody Want to Buy Some Velvet Ropes?
Chic, bottle-service Manhattan megaclubs saw crowds dwindle, and club owner revenues dip 20% to 40%. Where did folks begin going out instead? Non-snobby basement-like dives serving cheap, shared mini-kegs.
Quote from somebody affected: “When you watch the Flintstones and they are at the Water Buffalo Lodge, they don’t have bottle service there.”
Different Kind of Money Shot Needed
Yes, some recession porn involves actual porn: Because of the economy and the proliferation of free pornography via the Internet, revenues at adult film companies fell 30% to 50%, and porn stars reported earning one-third what they did a couple of years ago. While sex may be recession-proof, paying for sexual content is not, apparently.
Quote from somebody affected: “We’ve gone through recessions before, but we’ve never been hit from every side like this.”
Hottest New Baby Names for 2009: Frugalo, Recessionia
Just joking. There is no recession-related baby-naming trend, as far as I can Google, though Benjamin rose in popularity, from the #22 most popular boy’s name in 2008 up to #14 in 2009. Could that be because people wish they had more Benjamins (in the Puff Daddy sense) in their lives?

Read more:
The Year of Living Cheaply: A Retrospective

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