News & Views » Media notes

Money Can't Buy Me Brains

Rich girls on parade


"Money can't buy me love," as Lennon and McCartney put it, but apparently, we're smack in the midst of an age where it can't buy you brains or class, either. It's the new spate of "poor little rich kids" television, where heirs and heiresses "get real" to enlighten the rest of us poor schmucks about how rough it is not to get the right color "Jag-you-are" for Christmas.

The season of our whining discontent began with HBO's Born Rich, a doc by Jamie Johnson, heir to the Johnson & Johnson empire. A Sundance entry, it was the best of the lot, with insider conversations with teens and twenty-somethings with last names like Trump, Hornblower, and Newhouse musing about life in the fast lane. The whining was incessant from some, but you felt a little superior after you were done.

Over on MTV, however, we have Rich Girls, a reality show starring and produced by two NYC princesses, one the daughter of clothing designer Tommy Hilfiger. Limo'ing and shopping all day gives us epiphanies like "people in the Midwest really use their cargo pants, because if they live on a farm, they can put things in the pockets."

But the biggest buzz is for amateur porn princess Paris Hilton and fresh-outta-rehab Nicole Ritchie, the stars of Fox's The Simple Life. Two rich, vacuous young women stop jet-setting long enough to live on an Arkansas farm for a month. Greenbacks meet Green Acres.

Sad to say, it's entertaining, not for the predictable "country bumpkin" slurs (and they even played the Deliverance theme as background music), but the utter cluelessness, rudeness, and astounding self-absorption of our "stars." Their farmer hosts are as nonplussed as the rest of us. "Does Wal-Mart sell things to do with walls?" Paris asks.

Jessica Simpson, beware: there's a new set of spoiled idiots in town.

The radio gods giveth and taketh away, all under one roof. Pioneer African-American station WGIV-AM quietly rode off into the airwaves, going off the air forever last week. The former home of voices like "Rockin' Ray" Gooding and "Chatty Hatty" was a clear voice in the black community for 56 years. The familiar "it's a business decision" was the reason for the move, due to low ratings and revenues.

WGIV's demise leads to more potential listeners for fellow Infinity station WFNZ-AM, who will now have a second, 10,000-watt transmitter to help its crappy signal reach more listeners.

And we send an arpeggio or two to WDAV radio on its 25th birthday.

Stay tuned.

E-mail at

Add a comment