Today's headline in today's Wisconsin State Journal is that the gift from the local philanthropist responsible for the building of a new performing arts center totals $205 million. To be sure, giving $205 million for the building of a public good is better than spending the money on Diet Pepsi Twist and building a wicked-huge iTunes collection, as I might do. But, I tell you, if I was in the position of making a charitable donation of $205 million, it wouldn't be on a public good for a public as already relentlessly pampered as the local people of Madison. It wouldn't be on giving the upper-middle-class a nicer place to watch ballet. For $205 million, I would want there to be lives that were unmistakably and fundamentally changed, perhaps even saved, rather than incrementally improving the leisure-time lot of residents of a place already regularly ranked among the best places in the country to live.
Either that or I would spend it on building a Mirah tribute museum. Or on a really elaborate practical joke.