Update, April 18, 2012. Donald Trump held a fundraiser for the Romney campaign that also feted Ann Romney on her birthday. A celebratory cake held a likeness of her and her horse in chocolate.
In a weird and offensive article on Sunday, Dec. 11, headlined “Two Mitt Romneys–Wealthy Man, Thrifty Habits,” the New York Times reported on the Republican pol’s supposed ambivalence about his enormous wealth. I barely gave it a look at the time, quickly relegating it to the category of things I didn’t need to know about. This Sunday, Dec. 18, I found myself with a bit more time to read the paper, and after finishing the front news section scanned the “Corrections” page to see what the Times was admitting they had recently failed to report correctly. I saw that they’d had to run a correction** about that Romney article, setting the record straight on a strange point:
An article last Sunday about Mitt Romney’s wealth described incorrectly the horses Mr. Romney bought for his wife, Ann. They are warmblood horses, not thoroughbreds.
I chuckled upon reading this absurd item, showing how out of touch the Romneys are, regardless of what type of horses they own. It seemed that the Times had unintentionally committed a humorous act with their laconic note. I thought I’d put up a brief post headed “Unintended Humor,” and so went to find a photograph of Ann Romney to accompany my blog item.
My google search of “Ann Romney horses” yielded articles revealing that she participates in dressage, a sport coincidentally also undertaken by one of Mayor Bloomberg’s daughters–this is clearly an activity enjoyed by members of families with multiple millions of dollars. Upon glancing at one of those articles, I read,
“After being nearly incapacitated by this incurable disease [Multiple Sclerosis], the busy wife of Mitt Romney, Governor of Massachusetts, mother of five sons and grandmother of six, fought her way back in large part through her love of horses and dressage, which she calls the elixir of pure joy.
‘My spirits brighten and I love life when I’m on a horse,” she says simply. “Life is so much fuller if you find what you love and then put that into your life to make it more joyful.'”
And later on, she averred to the horse publication Equisearch, “Riding is truly a medicine for me.”
My humor by now dampened, I reflected how nice for Ann Romney that the healing powers of equine company had proved so therapeutic for her. And yet, if my earlier chuckle had turned out to be ill-timed, the real point of this entire episode now struck me with greater clarity, a veritable crystal-clear 1% vs. 99% moment: If you’re a millionaire, virtually no obstacle is too high, nor truly insurmountable, that it may not yield to some amelioration. There is still the limit of mortality, of course, but barring terminal illnesses and death by misadventure, just about everything will submit to the balms that the wealthy can buy for themselves.
** If you enjoy reading about media mistakes, I recommend you make a habit of visiting the website RegretTheError.com, which I have up on my blogroll under “Newspapers, Media”. The proprietor of that site, Montreal journalist Craig Silverman, is also the author of Regret the Error: How Media Mistakes Pollute the Press and Imperil Free Speech, for which I was the editor in 2008. See Craig’s annual round-up for the most notable media errors and corrections of 2011.