Charles Bragg

Just in time for Labor Day, renowned artist Charles Bragg sent along this image, which, he said, brought to mind a quotation from “The Great Gatsby,” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel about America’s ultrarich in a time of economic crisis:

“They were careless people … they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

Being that the U.S. is at another such critical juncture, Bragg’s satirical work, accompanied by Fitzgerald’s sardonic quote, takes on a contemporary charge.

The image and Fitzgerald’s text also apply to the recent scene in the Hamptons during the lead-up to the holiday weekend, with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton holding court at a series of big-ticket fundraising events in the tony seaside towns and hamlets of eastern Long Island. Take, for example, this description from The New York Times’ Amy Chozick and Jonathan Martin in a piece that has undoubtedly caused an emergency meeting of Clinton’s crisis management team: “Where Has Hillary Clinton Been? Ask the Ultrarich“:

At a private fund-raiser Tuesday night at a waterfront Hamptons estate, Hillary Clinton danced alongside Jimmy Buffett, Jon Bon Jovi and Paul McCartney, and joined in a singalong finale to “Hey Jude.”

“I stand between you and the apocalypse,” a confident Mrs. Clinton declared to laughs, exhibiting a flash of self-awareness and humor to a crowd that included Calvin Klein and Harvey Weinstein and for whom the prospect of a Donald J. Trump presidency is dire.

Mr. Trump has pointed to Mrs. Clinton’s noticeably scant schedule of campaign events this summer to suggest she has been hiding from the public. But Mrs. Clinton has been more than accessible to those who reside in some of the country’s most moneyed enclaves and are willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to see her. In the last two weeks of August, Mrs. Clinton raked in roughly $50 million at 22 fund-raising events, averaging around $150,000 an hour, according to a New York Times tally.

And while Mrs. Clinton has faced criticism for her failure to hold a news conference for months, she has fielded hundreds of questions from the ultrarich in places like the Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard, Beverly Hills and Silicon Valley.

“It’s the old adage, you go to where the money is,” said Jay S. Jacobs, a prominent New York Democrat.

Mrs. Clinton raised about $143 million in August, the campaign’s best month yet. At a single event on Tuesday in Sagaponack, N.Y., 10 people paid at least $250,000 to meet her, raising $2.5 million.

If Mr. Trump appears to be waging his campaign in rallies and network interviews, Mrs. Clinton’s second presidential bid seems to amount to a series of high-dollar fund-raisers with public appearances added to the schedule when they can be fit in. Last week, for example, she diverged just once from her packed fund-raising schedule to deliver a speech.

And for the low, low price of just $2,700, the junior set (under 16) among Clinton’s elite supporters at an August event were permitted to ask the candidate a very expensive question. For $10,000, they could join other family members to pose for a snapshot with the Democratic presidential contender.

The setting? That would be “the Sag Harbor, N.Y. estate of the hedge fund magnate Adam Sender,” according to Chozick and Martin’s report.

Maybe someone asked her about this tweet from just a few months ago:

That said, Clinton was still in danger of coming up short for the month after concluding her sweep of the Hamptons:

Further proof that when it comes to this campaign, even “free” comes at a price.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson