FYRE: Striver, or Liar?

The total and complete shitshow otherwise known as Fyre Festival is the gift that keeps on giving.

At least, for those of us who enjoy reveling in schadenfreude regarding truly bonkers news story.

Where to begin.


Seriously, there’s no way to succinctly summarize the endlessly salacious and juicy details of the depths to which Fyre Festival fucked up. Just google it, and prepare to spend hours descending down its dark hole of despair.

The latest tidbit: In an effort to bounce back financially from the rampant fraud of the Fyre Festival fiasco, the man at the top, Billy McFarland, decided to try to…DUPE EVEN MORE PEOPLE. The real kicker: this occurred during the fallout from Fyre, so HE WAS OBVIOUSLY UNDER INVESTIGATION!!! I can’t fathom how he thought the best way to recover from one of the most prominent frauds in recent memory was to defraud even more; it truly boggles the mind.

Like…did he think he could get away with it without anyone noticing, even though literally everyone was watching…and even though HE NEVER GOT AWAY WITH IT IN THE FIRST PLACE!!! Or the second place. Or any other place he’s attempted to bank off the stupidity of others; his illicit “career” is basically comprised exclusively of such train-wrecks.

Though most accuse him of being a sociopath worthy of prison, I’m left wondering whether this rationale actually cuts to the heart of the problem. If he’s a sociopath, then he’s flat out not interesting; just another dumbass American greeding their way to the top.

But he’s a much more compelling figure if he’s more than just an asshole (which he obviously is; no matter the intent, the results are just too damaging to justify any defense). Lying to people to make money is boringly played-out. Instead, what if he legitimately believed he could pull off everything he promised? Could he be one of those idealistic Americans who believes his own bullshit? Everyone loves perpetuating the notion that past failures don’t necessarily dictate future success; thus, what if McFarland took that lesson to heart? Never underestimate the hopeless optimism of an American Idiot.

He’d be eons more fascinating as a product of our society’s obsession with the American Dream, which convinced him that he could do whatever he wanted do, and be whoever he wanted to be, a philosophy that somewhat serves as the operating logic of social media; users feel they can distort how they project their own reality to such a degree that it becomes true. And since social media played such an integral role in the build-up to the aborted fest…

I’d love for the upcoming TV documentary to explore such ideas, but I fear it will conform to the approach adopted by most outlets so far: simply telling the story, instead of probing the possible reasons behind the story. Both types of investigations have their merits, but an event like Fyre Festival that potentially represents so many different areas of pop culture right now, acting as a sort of snapshot of it at its worst, deserves both.

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