Can this be real?

Out of all the floods of commentary generated by the economic collapse of the last few months, variously thoughtful and outraged, panicked and funny, this is the first site where I’m left admitting I have absolutely no idea what to make of it. It’s about… well, it’s about young New York women who (used to) date Wall Street bankers, complaining to allegedly comic effect that their gravy train lifestyles have been disrupted by their boyfriends’ dissolving professional lives. From the site’s mission statement:

Dating A Banker Anonymous (DABA) is a safe place where women can come together – free from the scrutiny of feminists – and share their tearful tales of how the mortgage meltdown has affected their relationships. DABA Girls was started by two best friends whose relationships tanked with the economy. Not knowing what else to do, we did what frustrated but articulate girls have done since the beginning of time — we started a blog. So if your monthly Bergdorf’s allowance has been halved and bottle service has all but disappeared from your life, lighten your heart with laughter…

Is it meant to be satire? Can it possibly be intended to be taken straight? Should readers be in on the joke, or cringe at the shamelessness of it all?  Here’s an excerpt from a recent post:

…my FBF lost his job, which I guess technically downgrades him to just my BF. Overnight, he went from unavailable to downright clingy.  He wants to have dinner every night.  By dinner I mean staying in and cooking as Megu is no longer in the budget.  AND, FYI DABA girls – chopping vegetables along side your man in a hot New York sized kitchen is NOTHING like the sexy kitchen scene between Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger in Nine and a Half Weeks.  Seriously. …

Thanks to the recession, I now have a completely devoted BF, which is exactly what I wanted.  So I should be happy, right?  Wrong.  I’m bored and can’t stop thinking about my perpetually unattainable Euro ex-boyfriend who is recession proof courtesy of an offshore trust account.  To be honest, I’m only with my BF because I just don’t have the heart to change my facebook status from “in a relationship” to “I ain’t saying I’m a gold digger, but I ain’t messin’ with no broke banker.”

And another (this one married)…

The sitter’s hours are cut, both the family and my private credit card are cut in half, and I’m switching from having my facials and massages in my earthy, yoga-and-wine serving downtown spa to a midtown been-in-business-forever place with ladies in cubbies wearing pink jackets and lots of make-up giving facials only. …

It gets worse. I’ll now be doing my pilates with others, in class, on the mat instead of on the machines with my private instructor. This truly frightens me. …

And yes, cooking at home…

Honestly. Is it really possible for people to be simultaneously so glaringly shallow and self-absorbed, and yet so unselfconsciously willing to write (even brag!) about it in public? Commenters on the site don’t seem to know what to make of it either; responses are all over the map, from “you go, girls!” to “this is a joke, right?” and beyond. It’s a Rorschach blot of a web site.

Perhaps it says something about our culture, then, that the site’s authors have already received a write-up in the New York Times, and reportedly been offered a book deal. 😐

Meanwhile, though, if you’re in the mood for more authentically thoughtful and thought-provoking (and often wryly humorous) blogging about the personal side of today’s economy, it’s well worth visiting Thomas Cave’s Tattoo:

…a blog that discusses what I call the New Great Depression — the idea that the next few years will constitute a Depression era, and not simple recession. I believe that to understand it in that way will enrich it, and encourage everyone in this country to make this era a creative period, a positive time, an act of construction, and not a cause for panic, chaos and fear.

(And for really good, pointed, effective online satire, I turn first to Jon Swift.)

Edited to add [3/2/09]:

Looks like the site is, if not exactly a hoax, at least a “fictionalized satire,” according to Newsweek‘s discussion with one of DABA’s founders. Still, it appears the book deal is real, more’s the pity. In America, apparently rich people can even make money by bitching about losing money…

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3 Responses to “The most narcissistic possible reaction to the economy”
  1. Andrew says:

    Yes … well if you ask me it could have been worse … really now.

  2. Thanks for the link—that’s a fascinating piece. A commenter to it mentions that the DABA site doesn’t appear on the Wayback Machine archive, either… which seems like pretty damning evidence. OTOH, this blog doesn’t appear there, either, and the archive’s FAQ mentions that indexed pages may not appear for up to six months, so maybe the jury is still out.

    Either way, the frustrating thing is that whether or not it started out real, after this publicity surge it’ll presumably become real…

  3. phil from new york says:

    Here’s a piece by a blogger for NPR discussing the hoax question:

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