Thursday, April 27, 2006

I'm Afraid Of Americans

"Afraid" may be too mild a word, really. Between torture, unlawful detention, corrupt, win-at-all-costs Republican government, and obnoxious cellphone and SUV wankers, it's pretty hard to be proud of my country. And this sure ain't helpin':
Sophie is just one of the dozens of privileged kids who have had their coming-of-age extravaganzas captured on MTV's hit series "My Super Sweet 16" (Wednesdays at 10 p.m., Eastern and Pacific times; 9, Central Time). The show, in its third season, follows teenagers as they painstakingly plan their elaborate celebrations (which can cost as much as $200,000), argue over the details with their parents, fret over guest lists and shop for their first cars. There are tears and tantrums and nouveau-riche displays of conspicuous consumption. Marissa, a daddy's girl from Arizona, dyes her two poodles pink, so they'll match her dress. Her party was the show's season opener.

(snip)

The show follows a simple but wildly successful formula: (1) kid makes a series of high-priced demands (a fireworks display, a helicopter ride, perhaps a harem of belly dancers); (2) parents capitulate and cough up the cash; (3) kid gleefully humiliates the uninvited; (4) something goes awry; (5) kid has a meltdown and repeatedly refers to self in the third person; (6) party miraculously comes together, and kid is presented with an automobile before his salivating, less fortunate peers. In Marissa's case, her father, who owns three auto dealerships, presented her with two cars: a red convertible for the weekend and a sturdy S.U.V. for the week.

(snip)

"If you can afford to have a grand celebration, then why not," said Dr. Kothapalli, who immigrated to the United States from India in the mid-1980's. "It's the American way. You work hard and you play hard."

Born with silver ladles in their mouths, his daughters have certainly mastered the latter. Their Bollywood-themed party for 500 guests will be held in the family's backyard — all 4½ acres, behind the 10,000-square-foot house. The Format, their favorite band, will perform. And they will make their grand entrance on litters, during an elaborate procession led by elephants. The sisters, who plan to perform a choreographed routine at their to-do next month, are also taking dance lessons, and they've enlisted the help of a trainer.

"We both want to lose three pounds," said Priya, who received a Mercedes convertible and an assortment of diamond jewelry for her birthday. Her sister's graduation gift package included a Bentley, diamonds and two homes in India.

"I was really surprised," Divya said, "because I was only expecting a Bentley and one house."

Just last month they gave a preparty where invitations to their coming event were handed out by body builders whom Priya ordered not to smile. "Assistants are not supposed to smile," she explained.

Argh. This is just... grotesque. And remember, these kids and their doting parents have a lot more say in our government than any of us ordinary folk do. But there is hope. Not all of these rich kids are totally hung up on money:
Aaron Reid, son of the music mogul L. A. Reid, took five months to plan his party. He had just moved to New York from Atlanta and was eager to make a name for himself at his new prep school, to establish himself as more than L. A. Reid's son. His invitation was an MP3 player. At his party, held at Jay-Z's 40/40 club last November, the producer Jermaine Dupri was the D.J., the rapper Kanye West performed, and Diddy, Aaron's godfather, made an appearance. Poppa Reid clearly pulled some strings.

"Everybody else spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, but I didn't spend anything," Mr. Reid said proudly. "I got my friend's club. I got my friend to perform and I got my friend to D.J."

"There's absolutely no way that I would ever spend that type of money," he continued. "I think it's over the top and sickening and a real poor representation of wealth."

At least one of these kids understands what's really important in this big ol' scary world: Friendship. God bless you, Aaron Reid. You are an inspiration to us all.

6 comments:

Ol' Froth said...

All the more reason to lower taxes on those people! Think of all the elephant trainer and litter bearer jobs that will be created!

karmic_jay said...

I agree.. all this spending must trickle down to the proles right..right?
I mean why do you think the economy is strong?
Can I use the word gluttony to describe this?
As for the doc from India he has accepted the american way.
I should tell him, this happens in India too.
How ostentatious.

Buckeye, Dealer of Rare Coins said...

I'm Afraid of Americans ... mmm ...visions of David Bowie being 'stalked' by Trent Reznor.

Oh, sorry, back on topic. Well, Reid is a little bit better than the other spoiled rotten brats, but the average person doesn't have Diddy as a godfather, or can ask daddy's friends to perform at your parties.

So while he's more than a step above the brats, I hope he really realizes that normal people don't live like he does.

Eli said...

Pfft. Reid might be worse than they are. At least they're honest and up-front about being rich spoiled brats - Reid is trying to pretend that having famous friends perform gratis makes him somehow a down-to-earth unpretentious non-showoff. I call bullshit.

He handed out MP3 players as *invites*, fachrissakes.

Zap Rowsdower said...

Aaron Reid, son of the music mogul L. A. Reid, took five months to plan his party

That's nothing. My Father took just as long to plan his disc surgery...

Anonymous said...

The last paragraph of that story totally made me vomit:

Sophie was just as quick to defend her mother's decision to spend $180,000 for her party. "Unless they were crazy or hated their child, any parent who was financially able would do it," she said.