Friday, December 9, 2011

American Socialites and the Great Gatsby

One of the main themes of The Great Gatsby is the sociology of wealth; mainly, those who have recently risen to riches without any connections and therefore know nothing of subtle social signals. Fitzgerald portrays them as not possessing the elegance, taste and subtly that those born into money do –instead they are greedy, graceless and vulgar.

You can argue this applies within society similarly today. It’s for this reason I decided to research and write on American Socialites today in relation to the socialites in The Great Gatsby . Those who grow up with wealth do not feel the need to tastelessly show it off – at least to the same extent those new to it do – whereas those who are new to the socialite scene just superficially spend and show off their money in hopes of rising within the circle. A good example of this would be the (possibly “old”) Hollywood ‘IT’ crowd. While most were born into a wealthy family, if they are introduced to fame they suddenly become greedy for more and need to find ways of attracting it instead of working for it. The best example would be Kim Kardashian.

Introduced by Paris Hilton to the socialite scene, she didn’t become known until she released a sex tape, and then scored a reality TV show with E! a few months later. As she doesn’t really “work” (sex tape and reality TV show don't really count...) to earn her money and fame, she has to come up with new ways of gaining the public’s attention and “love” (or hate, which ever gets her attention) and has to out do herself each time. In contrast, often children born to "stars" usually don't choose a silimar life - those who have a brush with the police or try to follow their parents' legand might gain attention - and choose to keep privacy and use their inherited money wisely. Trying to bring up a good example is hard as they are hardy ever in the media once they're 10 or over.

The example of Kim Kardashian is true to The Great Gatsby painting of the new generation and newly rich kids being materialistic, vulgar and simplistic; while this is not true for not of them, it remains a growing fashion for alot of American Society and is now the American Dream for alot of American kids.