FOMO, Fyre, and Not Being Those People

I’m a rich white kid from suburban New Jersey. I was raised by professional, college grad parents, (who were both children of college grads) who paid for me to attend a prestigious Catholic Prep School, and then pursue a liberal arts degree at a small Jesuit University.

The best thing about that?  (Besides the obvious societal privileges and stability etc.) It allowed me to become the freewheeling weirdo that you’ve all come to know, but there are traces of the chubby sad middle schooler who just wanted to fit in left in my psyche. She’ll always be there, sitting in her swim team mandated speedo one piece watching the thin, “popular” girls flirt with boys, unsure if she missed something.

She was screaming, as we watched this week’s dueling documentaries, Fyre Fraud on Hulu and Fyre on Netlfix. Mostly, though, saying the thing that I was also thinking, “MY GOD, we could have been one of those assholes!”

Anyway, that was the baggage that I brought to this story, that made me literally sigh loudly and then tweet, “I hate everyone who’s involved in this.”

Well, I don’t hate the Bahamian locals who lost their shirts and credibility because a bunch of white people (and Ja Rule) came down and threw cash at them and them promised more. And I sympathize the anger of the people scammed out of their money and brought to the empty field full of tents or whatever. (But that dude who’s friends pissed on tents so that they wouldn’t have neighbors? WTF?) (And the guy who spearheaded the lawsuit, who uses his full name including IV in his twitter handle, like, no. And I say this as a 3rd of my name herself, and with cousins that go by “Biff” and “Tripp!”)

But I hate JaRule, I hate everyone at Fuck Jerry media, (even poor Orin Aks, who became the fall guy.), I hate the promoters and event coordinators who went along with everything, I hate the fucking “influencers” who tweeted and promoted the festival without making sure that everything was cool, and most of all I hate Billy Goddamned McFarland, and all the fratty shit heads like him, who made me feel small and marginalized and irrelevant all my life. Who run their scams from air while the people I know sacrifice their hearts and souls and free time to bring the art and joy to the world.

I ran a small private event for 8 years. I scraped the bottom of the barrel, asking for donations and fundraising. I upfront told people I couldn’t pay them, that this was volunteer and never drew a salary of my own. The tiny bit of money we did make got donated to charity. I did it because I love theater, and I like hanging out with my friends.

And speaking of my friends, we need to talk about FOMO. “Fear Of Missing Out,” is described as the driving factor of the Millenial generation. (Here I thought our driving factor was that we couldn’t get good jobs right out of school, were crippled by student debt and something about avocado toast.) Am I glad the term FOMO exists? Sure, it’s nice to have a name for that feeling of, “Aww mann, my friends are doing something fun and I have to work,” or, “DUDE! That bachelorette party is the same day as that friend’s baby’s Christening! NOW I HAVE TO PICK WHICH OF THESE WONDERFUL OCCASIONS I WANT TO BE A PART OF!” (That second one is happening to me in a month, not just a weirdly specific hypothetical.) But it’s not a driving factor in my life, or even my social life. I gave up on caring what the cool kids were doing sometime after my sophomore year at college when I actually hung out with said cool kids and found them unfathomably dull. (Lovely, often kind, but MY GOD, all you people do is drink beer and listen to Dave Matthews Band? You don’t even have sing-a-longs or drunkenly rewatch Star Wars? How do you live like this?) I like parties, of pretty much all kinds. I throw an elaborate theme party for my birthday every year. I go to clubs after conventions or when I’m out with a group of people and we want to dance. I hit bars with live music (usually more my speed than the clubs), I hang out around dinner tables eating a meal and chat or talk deeply about culture or politics. I like concerts if the band is in a genre I’m into. (I don’t even have to know the band that well…) I love a wedding or formal event of similar style.

But I don’t spend my weekends wondering if somewhere, someone is having more fun than I am. They probably are. I’m pretty boring. But I wouldn’t trade my boring, basic fun for other fun. While I’m sure Hailey Baldwin-Bieber and Bella Hadid have lots of fun jetskiing around private islands or whatever, but have they ever sat around a beach house all day while it rained drinking a case of rose and watching a cult musical? Or scarfed soup dumplings while in full cosplay? Probably not, and they’re missing out!

The documentaries themselves are well made, entertaining and made me think a lot. I’ve been thinking about my consumption a lot in general.

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