A second gilded age?

David Patrick Columbia is the founder and editor of New York Social Diary, a website that chronicles the lives of the Big Apple’s elite. Since graduating from Colby College in 1962, Columbia has led numerous lives: he's been a stockbroker, an owner of a head shop in upstate New York, a sportswear designer, a freelancer (he wrote a firsthand account of one of Truman Capote's "lost weekends"), and a scriptwriter for a courtroom television show. In 1988, Columbia finally found his calling when he collaborated with Debbie Reynolds on her autobiography. In 1994, Columbia began writing the New York Social Diary for Quest Magazine (a condensed version of the website is still printed in Quest every month). The New York Social Diary website was launched in September, 2000. Columbia has since become something of social fixture himself: he's been the subject of articles and blog posts in New York Magazine, Gawker, and the New York Observer.
  • Transcript


Question: Is this the second gilded age?


David Patrick Columbia: The gilded age was a term that coined by Mark Twain. I think it might have been a novel that he wrote even. And it basically was referring to a very small part of the population – a tiny, tiny part of the population. The rich today are still a tiny, tiny part of the population, but their wealth is actually greater than it was proportionately, I believe, than it was then. I think that the term the “second gilded age” is now just another term that was coined by the mainstream media to explain something that is baffling.


Conducted on: October 29, 2007