Like the streaming junkie I am, I watched the documentaries on both Hulu and Netflix on Fyre Festival. If you don’t know what Fyre Festival is—or what it tried to be—here is a brief synopsis:
Fyre Festival, created by Billy McFarland and Ja Rule, was a music festival that was supposed to take place for two weekends in April and May in 2017 on an island in the Bahamas. It was anticipated to be the new Coachella and put all other musical festivals to shame. However, it turned out to be a disaster fueled by money laundering, lies and every possible problem one could run into while trying to put on a music festival in only four months. As a result, McFarland and Ja Rule are now facing at least eight lawsuits and over $100 million in damages. The FBI got involved, many people are still seeking compensation and all the models and influencers hired to promote the festival have deleted any evidence of their involvement and issued apologies.
So why am I bringing this up? If you’re a documentary fan, I suggest you check them out. But my real purpose is simply this: Everyone thinks millennials are dumb.
The baby boomers remind us of this every day. Even our own kind—yes, our fellow millennials—think we are dumb, and they will do whatever they can to deceive us if it means they can get what they want.
You know what they say: It really be your own sometimes.
McFarland is one of these traitors. We live in an age where our role models and inspirations are not just in history books or even in our own families anymore. They are pulling pranks in YouTube videos, sharing their favorite products on Instagram and creating memes on Twitter. By shooting a promotional video on a beach filled with the top influencers, McFarland knew millennials could not handle the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) and would pay thousands of dollars to partake in his scam—um, I mean festival, his totally well-intentioned music festival that he had no idea would create so much emotional and financial destruction.
Guess what? We fell for it.
And we are still falling for it.
Yes, I mean “we.” One of our actions speaks for all of us at this point. We must hold each other accountable for the horrible reputation millennials continue to gain over time.
We participate in or sign up to be ambassadors in pyramid schemes for shampoos and detox teas. Pictures of skinny women with beautiful hair tell us we can be them and look a little bit more like our favorite models and influencers if we just put down a $49 payment for the starter kit.
We succumb to the targeted ads on our social media accounts and overpay for a necklace we could have made ourselves and executed much better (totally not speaking from personal experience, just a really specific example). But it looks exactly like the one our favorite celebrity was wearing in her Instagram story detailing the events of her definition of a “Lazy Sunday,” so we need it, right?
We need these things to be a part of the “now.” We want people to look at our social media and wish they were seeing what we are seeing, wearing what we are wearing and posting what we are posting.
We fall for the Fyre Festivals and the shampoos because we need to make our presence in all these trends known. The slight envy from others, the similarities we share with celebrities and the likes on our social media make it worth it.
Until the next trend breaks out and we scramble to find a way to participate.
This cycle is toxic and exhausting, but it is addictive.
So how do we stop it?
We can just take a moment before we buy or believe. Do I really need this? Will this make me happy? Am I doing this for me or am I doing this so someone else will notice?
We can also go into the depths of our souls and ask ourselves if getting diarrhea from a detox tea is really that much better than going to the gym at least four times a week.
Change starts within us. We need to remind ourselves that what we do should be for ourselves and ourselves only. There is a difference between enjoying and loving our lives and just looking like we are.
These simple changes can prevent us from falling for these scams and make us realize we do not need all these things to be relevant. Slowly, we can redefine the millennial reputations and avoid the criticism of baby boomers and scams of the McFarlands in this world.
Carole Hodorowicz is a senior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]