Weekend Open Thread: Aim! Fyre! Ready! ‘The Magic Christian’ Comes to Life


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This story is not funny.  Sure, it seems funny.  You may laugh at it, like your author did.  But afterwards, you should repent your schadenfreude, as your author plans to do sometime later today.  Because people are getting ripped off and are in danger– and therefore it’s not funny.

Fyre Festival was advertised as a luxury music festival on a private island in the Bahamas. But promises of a private chartered flight to the island, gourmet meals, private glamping tents, yacht cruises, gourmet catering, and an all-star concert performance line-up “quickly turned into a terrifying B-movie, with flocks of Instagram models forced to seek shelter in an airport after arriving to discover a lack of food, violent locals, appalling accommodation and feral dogs roaming the grounds,” reports The Telegraph.

Here are the luxury Bahamanian accommodations:

YURT ‘OTALLY SCREWED NOW!!! (And they’re flammable, too!)

A Mr. Steven Stubbe reported on Twitter that:

My phone dying please send help 2 festival grounds Its chaos,tents are on fire, people fighting for food.

Help I’m at the FyreFestival and all my stuff has been stolen.  My passport is gone, wallet gone.  What do I do?

(Admittedly, this all seems too bad to be too good to be true, but if we’re getting hoaxed here then boingboing.net was pulled into it before we were, and that’s pretty decent company.)

You really ought to read the rest of the story.  It’s so awful, yet so not awful too.  Seriously, some people must have pinched pennies to make this trip rather than callowly decanting the cash from mummy and daddy’s trust fund.  For them, I feel really bad, because they’re never going to be made whole — and if they are it will probably be with the promise of another, better, Bahamanian vacation.

So let’s take a step back and consider why this story is taking up the Internet’s oxygen that might otherwise be used for gasping at the latest Trumptrocity.  What does it have going for it?

  1.  The concert-goers are people who can spend $12,000 for a festival ticket.
  2.  The juxtaposition of what they’re experiencing, compared to what Syrian and other refugees are experiencing, is — sorry — comical, as is the (perfectly understandable, but still) sense of outraged entitlement displayed in the tweets and other reports.  These people just weren’t PREPARED for this calamity!  (Then again, the Syrian refugees and Yemeni bombing victims weren’t prepared ten years ago for what would happen to them either!)
  3.  Some readers may be experiencing just a small dose of the frisson that much of the rest of the world gets when the smug gets wiped off people’s faces.
  4. The opportunities for jokes about Ja Rule abound.  They ABOUND!

But I think that there’s an additional reason: deep down, perhaps we recognize that this is our future.  As more and more money is concentrated into fewer and fewer hands, the money to be made in the future is increasingly in either enticing the money out of those hands or prying it free with a crowbar.  This … is both.  And we here in our county — we have a lot of money in our collective balled fists!

This is “disaster porn” for people who want the culturally cool.  It’s the Sharknado for anyone who might want to take an enticing trip to a festival abroad.  (And not just abroad!  Let’s be real — if the people in charge of this were friends of the Orange County District Attorney, don’t you expect that they might get away with no more than a slap on the wrist and blaming of outside agitators?)  The deep chuckling we hear emanating from ourselves is seasoned with the realization that, in a world without rules or limits, someday they’re going to get to us too.

But there’s another reason that I think it resonates, one that I’ve written about before.  It brings back cultural memories that were aired  on the 50th anniversary (in 2009) of Terry Southern’s dark comic novel “The Magic Christian.”  (Talk about mediocre novels into film that are ripe for a remake, by the way!)

told people to go read that novel when I wrote about it before.  Now, it’s clearly even more necessary.  The wealthy protagonist, mega-zillionaire Guy Grand, has some similarities to Donald Trump — but also has self-awareness and a better way to sublimate his anti-social desires.  That is your reading assignment for the week.

If you’re not at the Fyre Festival, then please know that this is your Weekend Open Thread.  Talk about that, or whatever else you’d like, within reasonable bounds of decency and decorum that are not honored — at least not all of the time — in certain sections of the Bahamas.


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose worker's rights and government accountability attorney, residing in northwest Brea. General Counsel of CATER, the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, a non-partisan group of people sick of local corruption. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Occasionally runs for office to challenge some nasty incumbent who would otherwise run unopposed. (Someday he might pick a fight with the intent to win rather than just dent someone. You'll know it when you see it.) He got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012 and in 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. A family member co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)