28 June 2013

The Bling Thing

It’s funny that we went to see this movie just after I came back from my vacation visiting family and had discussions with one of my nephews about brands and avoiding them. What I probably didn’t manage to clarify in those discussions was that my distaste is not for pretty things — I love those — it is for the name being more important than the substance of the thing. In this clarification, we will leave aside the food branding question, where so much of it is doubly objectionable, with nasty multinationals making crap into consumables. Back to the movie, maybe?

With a backdrop of outrageously expensive goods and a culture that seems to value those above all else, a group of young people discover just how easy it is to steal from the rich and famous, then turn around and emulate them with flashy and shallow lifestyles. Whatever. I really didn’t feel empathy for anyone in the movie, not the “kids gone astray”, not the “crime victims”. I didn’t care about them, I took pleasure in their getting caught, but I really didn’t care about the stars whose homes they invaded and robbed. People who are famous for being famous have no appeal for me, and most of their accumulated luxury goods just looked tacky to me.

Comparing the movie gang to the real life gang signals another step down into the shallow end of the pool. The choices of the players have only served to glamourize them, even if it didn’t seem to have that effect on me. That the caught and punished gang members could subsequently cash in on their “fame” and live the same kinds of experiences with the celebrity media and, through them, with the general public also seemed fitting. At least they did something to get their fame.

A moral to the story? There is endless room for more people in the shallow end of the pool.

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