Episode 89

Episode 89 Transcript courtesy of Laurie Foster

e89_thumb2

Affluenza 1806
People Who Talk About Their Dreams -145
See All the Problems...

If you’re a fan of fuckface idiots, this week’s show is chock full of them due to the huge problem of “affluenza.” It’s the phenomenon of rich people blaming their affluence on their inability to tell right from wrong. It turns out that being too wealthy can cushion you from things like consequences for your actions, empathy, justice, jail time or any modicum of consideration. It’s a huge sense of entitlement to not just public resources, but other people’s actual lives. That sense of entitlement may be pervasive, as displayed by drivers of luxury vehicles who are the least likely to yield for pedestrians:

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What’s ironic is that for all the wealth people hoard, and all of the endless consumption, it hasn’t made anyone happier for it:

https://www.stlouisfed.org/publications/regional-economist/january-2010/the-dismal-science-tackles-happiness-data
https://www.stlouisfed.org/publications/regional-economist/january-2010/the-dismal-science-tackles-happiness-data

The original definition of affluenza had more to do with excess consumption and the stress related to it, as seen in this dated documentary from 1997. It’s about an hour long so the bulk of the interesting parts come up top if you want to skim:

Which leads us to the modern case of affluenza: Ethan Couch. He’s the spoiled shithead who stole a bunch of beer from Walmart with his friends, then killed 4 people while drunk driving and injured 9. Here are the victims left in his wake; the four in the middle are dead:

Source: ABC 20/20 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyTdfkslIeY
Source: ABC 20/20, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyTdfkslIeY

One of his victims, Sergio Molina, has been paralyzed and can only communicate by blinking:

ethan_sergio

And here’s the idiot fuckface who did it, who after the car crash, he told people at the scene to remember his name because his parents would get them out of trouble:

Source: ABC 20/20, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyTdfkslIeY
Source: ABC 20/20, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyTdfkslIeY

The judge gave him 10 years probation and mandatory time in a cushy rehab facility with horses, massages and hot tubs. No jail time. The judge gave the horse-shit explanation that probation would keep Couch “under the state’s thumb.” Of course, Ethan Couch immediately skipped his probation hearing and fled to Mexico. But not before throwing one last rager in violation of his probation. Here’s the shithead partying with drunk friends after his verdict:

Also, we come to learn that Ethan was unsurprisingly homeschooled because his parents disagreed with a teacher who said he wasn’t allowed to drive at 13. Here are all the sordid details on ABC’s 20/20:

As for Dick, he was predictably contrarian, even when it comes to defending a murderer. Dick mischaracterized the judge’s ruling as a rejection of the affluenza argument, but this exact same judge ruled for jail time on a very similar case where another teen, Eric Bradlee Miller, killed one person while drunk driving:

Source: NY Daily News
Source: NY Daily News

Dick’s moral compass was all over the place this episode, with his defense of stealing, dishonesty and … this teen? The judge? The ruling? I’m not sure. The disagreement was flying so fast that I think I could have said Dick was awesome and he’d find a way to disagree with me. That said, Dick’s problem of “people talking about their dreams” rounded out this episode nicely and ended things on a lighter note. Though how much of a problem is a minor annoyance you can walk away from, that at worst, is a slight inconvenience?

To be fair, my problem went long this episode and Dick and I had other stuff to bring in. We’ll cover that in another episode.

And here’s the podcast for our SoundCloud listeners:

Brilliant Thumbnail by:
Clay Rodery, Illustrator – http://www.clayrodery.com

Sources:
Wired – The psychology of lotteries
ABC – 20/20 episode: A Case of Affluenza
HBO – Affluenza and the culture of dependency (Real Time with Bill Maher)
Daily Beast – Ethan Couch’s joyride to Mexico
NY Daily News – Texas teen gets 20 years for fatal drunk driving crash by same judge who sentenced Ethan Couch
Star-Telegram – Judge who gave Ethan Couch probation gave another teen 20 years behind bars for fatal DWI crash
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis – Happiness and real income per capita in the US
PBS – Affluenza
The Motley Fool – Measuring the happiness index

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