Gatsby and other luxury consumers

On Friday, May 17th the New York Times published an article written by A.O. Scott that examines depictions of the American Dream and materialism in three different films: The Great Gatsby, Spring Breakers, and The Bling Ring. He essentially says that these films update the American Dream to be more about entitlement than hard work as a reflection of our present ideology. He writes:

“The contradictory answer supplied by the movie is that he thought he was just like everybody else: exceptional, a winner, a V.I.P. The idea that everyone can have everything may be logically preposterous, but it is ideologically essential to the imagination of a country that seems to be living simultaneously in the Great Depression and the Gilded Age.”

This paragraph stuck out to me, especially the last sentence, because he captured the present state of the economy and our own American delusions of grandeur so well here. We are unemployed and underemployed, and we feel no sense of personal responsibility. Furthermore, we see our expensive lifestyles as a birthright rather than luck.

Read the full article “Gatsby, and Other Luxury Consumers: The Luxe Life in ‘Gatsby,’ ‘Bling Ring’ and Other Films” by A.O. Scott

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