From the Editor

You hear it all the time. “It’s always been this way.” “If you can’t take the heat....” But has it always been this way?

Someone said to me not long ago that the problem in Telluride, Colorado, is that the millionaires are being pushed out by the billionaires. We had a suitably grim laugh over the quip. Grim, and a little self-conscious, sitting as we were on a private beach at the end of a padlocked private road talking about the differences between Telluride and Jackson Hole, Aspen and the Yellowstone Club. Never mind that I haven’t been to two of those places within the past thirty years, and to another one of them ever. “Billionaires pushing out millionaires, that’s just great,” someone said. “I have to remember that line.” Heh heh heh. We all heh heh heh’d for a while, and then went for a swim in the ocean.

A few days later, after we’d all gone home and rinsed the private sand from our feet and the private salt from our hair, someone who had been on the beach that day sent me a link to a recent article from Vanity Fair, which had the headline “Rich People of the Hamptons Have a New Headache: Even Richer People.” It opened with an anecdote about a woman in East Hampton who, completely by bizarre coincidence, is a close friend from way back in the day. Dollface, as we know her, has summered out in those parts since she was six, and was looking for sea glass along the shore, as she has for...let’s just call it half a century. But instead of a polished nugget of green or blue glass, this time she found a crisp, new $50 bill. “I thought, Only in the Hamptons,” Dollface told Stephanie Krikorian, the writer for Vanity Fair.

Perhaps only in the Hamptons. But this August, which came and went pretty much unannounced except for the fact that August always arrives before it is reasonable to do so and is gone about a half a bottle of Advil later, felt to a lot of us a little “stop, children, what’s that sound?” Maybe it’s something that has only speeded up, and that has been underway in fits and starts for a long, long time. Since 1642, some might rightfully say, and the arrival of Europeans with their ideas of both land and lives being put to their so called “highest use,” which is code for highest profit.

You hear it all the time. “It’s always been this way.” “If you can’t take the heat....” But has it always been this way? The Island Shuffle right now is not hippie chicks or a cappella nerds down for the summer, looking for lusty summer memories. Unless they are living with mom and dad, those folks are a long time passing, long time ago. It’s your fire chief who is living at a camp site this year, according to The Boston Globe. Maybe it’s your EMT. That is some fine Island charm, indeed.

The problem with the get-out-of-responsibilty-free card of “it’s always been this way” isn’t just that it isn’t true. On- or off-Island, “it has always been that way” should send up a flag any time you hear it. When is the last time you heard “women have always been paid fairly?” Or “African Americans have always been treated equally under the law?” Or “Native Americans were always consulted and compensated fairly for their continent?” Or a thousand other things that should have always been true but never were? Chances are better you heard the opposite, as an excuse for carrying on in the same old ways.

Maybe because one of my first jobs in journalism was checking “facts” for Vanity Fair and elsewhere, I can say without hesitation that the justification that “it’s always been this way” is always bogus. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go look for sea glass. It’s September and I’m feeling lucky!