The October 1 & 8 combined issue of Newsweek included a page near the end headlined, “He’s So Vain.” It was a list of 10 assorted items, each with a comment by Schmidt (played by Max Greenfield) on the returning TV show, New Girl. The comments were pretty silly, but a few of the items were not, being the worst kind of examples of conspicuous, and mindless, consumption. The three that I found quite outrageous were:

**1. Forbidden City H. R. H. Fountain Pen by Visconti** $44,950. <[](>
Visconti Pens FORBBIDEN (sic) CITY HRH is a wonderful handcrafted pen created by the Italian artisans of a company known for its fine pen making. It is part of a luxury limited edition collection of fountain pens, rollerball pens and pen sets. There are only 38 of these fountain pens in circulation so it is the ideal pen for the professional pen collector and will be the best pen in many pen collections of rollerball pens and fountain pens.
Expensive materials, such as white gold, black resin and white diamonds, all combine to create this exquisite custom design pen. Not many rollerball pens or fountain pens have this amount of detail.
Dante Del Vecchio, president of Visconti and designer of this classic designer pen, wanted to pay tribute to the elaborate gardens and palaces of the Forbidden City in Beijing. The Forbidden City was the home of the Chinese imperial family for more than five hundred years of rich history.
This handmade pen is made from black resin overlaying a stunning 18K white gold barrel. The grid pattern reflects the city’s layout and the cage-like openings display Chinese mythical creatures. Even the end of the power filling system has a dragon mounted on it.
The pen is available in different nib sizes to suit all writing styles and its power filling system makes it as easy to use as rollerball pens for the busy executive. The Forbidden City HRH by Visconti is a truly unique pen. (Description from

**2. Blue Nature Nille Driftwood Object $3,265** <[](>
Handcrafted acrylic glass cube with large embedded driftwood branch cut, sanded and hand polished to a perfect transparency. (11 7/8″ length x 7 7/8″ width x 7 7/8″, Style # 501443535)

**3. The Killer Whale Submarine $100,000** <[](>
This is the streamlined, two-person watercraft that breaches and submerges just like the Orcinus orca after which it is designed. A pilot protected beneath its watertight 1/2″-thick acrylic canopy pushes and pulls twin control levers to articulate the whale’s pectoral fins for rolls and stealthy dives. With a finger on the right lever’s throttle trigger, steering is provided by dual foot pedals that control the vectored thrust of the craft’s 255-hp supercharged Rotax axial flow engine, enabling realistic behaviors such as porpoising or skyhopping. It can hydroplane up to 50 mph over the water’s surface and it can cruise up to 25 mph while submerged; its dorsal fin’s integrated snorkel ensures air supply to the engine up to a depth of 5′. The cockpit’s dashboard includes a speedometer, tachometer, engine and air pressure gauges, and an LCD that displays live video from the dorsal fin’s built-in camera. Vinyl seats with closed-cell foam upholstery and four-point racing harnesses ensure pilot and passenger safety. With 14-gallon fuel tank. Special conditions and guarantee limitations apply. Please call 1-800-227-3528 for details. 17 1/4′ L x 3 1/2′ W x 4 3/4′ H. (1,450 lbs.)
Enough said.

One Reply to “The Latest in Conspicuous Consumption”

  1. The intense focus on these kinds of things in the business press is very discouraging. Forbes, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, etc. all are guilty. What else should they do? Pays the bills, for now.
    For me it makes what is sandwiched between the advertisements less appealing…

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