The Q&A Hole: Can Money Buy Happiness?

With Edmo, Carina Magyar, and … Gloria Steinem? Yes, and more.

The Q&A Hole: Can Money Buy Happiness?

Everybody’s always asking this question, as if the answer’s not obvious – because the answer’s not obvious, after all.

Hell, when one of this country’s presidential candidates is a sort of poorly shaved orangutan with a sense of entitlement in inverse proportion to the size of its cock (so we’ve heard) and fingers like ten maggots stuck to a pair of sweaty pancakes, you know people can have differing opinions about the wildest shit, n’est-ce pas?

So we figured we’d, as the rock gods Foreigner so stentorially advised, check it and see. Even got, thanks to the Chronicle’s estimable Jessi Cape, a response from that Gloria Steinem. And so now here’s a meager spectrum of answers to the perennial question:


Lana Lesley of Rude Mechs: Yes.

Gloria Steinem, feminist, journalist: No. It can buy survival, which is crucial. And crucial also to happiness, but it can't buy happiness. And the truth is that money is boring on its own. Unless it's used in some creative way, it's boring in and of itself.

Edmo, artist: Fuck, yeah. It can sure relieve stress. It can also get you cocaine and hookers and stuff like that.

Marc Pouhé, actor: Money can't buy happiness … but it can alleviate several problems.

Sean Petrie of Typewriter Rodeo: Yes, if it’s buying Nutella. Really, though, money can help you along the path to happiness, it doesn’t hurt to have money, but money alone can’t buy happiness.

David Fruchter of Typewriter Rodeo: The more I considered the question the more I realized that I have no fucking clue what happiness is, so I'll just leave you with a quote from one of the great minds of our time. “You're dead for a real long time; you just can't prevent it. So if money can't buy happiness, I guess I'll have to rent it." – Weird Al Yankovic

Mark Finn, author: I don't think money can buy happiness, but I am confident it keeps necessary evils away, allowing you to create your own happiness. In other words, don't buy a speedboat. Pay off the mortgage and then put a Zen Garden where the speedboat would've been parked.

Lowell Bartholomee, actor, writer, filmmaker: I'm getting older. The prospect of entering my declining years with no way to keep a roof and eat is my monster source of stress now. All those years of "follow your bliss and the money will follow" shooting me the double-birds. So, yes, a bunch of money would buy freedom from that and would make me demonstrably happy. But that's the world and the life I've chosen. Buying stuff doesn't make me happy. Buying tools to make things does. Buying some stuff brings despair and everything in between, but that's another Q&A.

Carina Magyar, comedian, journalist: One time, in California, I took out my entire bank balance right after my paycheck deposited. I knew I had to put it all back because every penny was dedicated to some bill or another. I just wanted to take the money for a walk while it was still mine. We went to the beach. I took it out of my pocket and let it watch the ocean for a while. "No strings attached," I told the money. "This is on me." And I like to think that particular money was happy, for a little while.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

Central Machine Works, 4824 E. Cesar Chavez; Mueller Lake Park, 4550 Mueller Blvd.; Pan Am Park, 2100 E. Third
Arya [inside]
at Stubb's
Metamorphosis Dance: The Red Shoes at Dougherty Arts Center
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle