Posted by Al on December 13, 2004
In Reply to: A thought posted by Word Camel on December 13, 2004
: : : : : : There is a phrase in my mind that I can never use: nigger rich. It means having superficial wealth: car, clothes, etc., but not house, investments, savings. Does anyone have a similar phrase which would be more suitable for gentile society?
: : : : : : Sorry if anyone is offended. I hope this will be looked on as academic and not vulgar.
: : : : : Well, I'm stumped. I recall reading or hearing something about back in the bad old segregation days, black people in American who succeeded couldn't move on up to a better neighborhood. So instead of investing in a home, they might get a better car.
: : : : ***nigger rich...=FLUSH--H-C Dict of Am Slang--DH
: : : Let's begin by agreeing that that's a very offensive phrase. Given. Let's now go one step further and say it's a very offensive attitude. Rather than finding another way to express sneering condescension, why not agree that people's possessions do not define them, that there is no argument concerning taste (as the Romans said) and to look down one's nose at those with different taste is an ugly prejudice.
: : it is all very U/non-U isn't it? describing the nouveau riche, that is. perhaps these days one may speak about 'bling' and 'chav rich'? however, SKI-rich is most offensive (spending kids' inheritance)!
: : class/culture - call it what you will, but we have to maintain 'standards' - even if those standards are of decency and respect for one's fellow man, whatever his (or her) station in life.
: : to speak of somebody being "nigger-rich" betrays a certain coarseness of outlook and colourist attitude.
: : L
: The funny thing is, while I'm sure it's not used because it contains the word "nigger", the concept is somewhat outdated. Much of fashion at least, takes its cue from the streets. A friend has the dubious pleasure of working with Tommy Hilfiger. He sees no irony in creating clothing that makes the people wearing it look as if they've been living rough. He recently scrapped a whole season's work because Jennifer Lopez told him it was terrible and looked like clothing for junkies and "crack-ho's". Good for you, J Lo. It's pretty grotesque when you really think it through. The rich used to dress to look poor. Now they dress like the poor dressing to look rich.
"Bling" might be close to what the OP wants. I know the original offensive term from my youth in the segregated south. I can hear some old red neck who is literate enough to have gone PC using "bling". In economics classes there was once the phrase "conspicuous consumption". Is "conspicuous consumption" still in use?