Saturday, October 10, 2009

Rioja, Gossip Girl and Gauche Caviar

I crumbled. I twisted. I folded faster than a Starburst wrapper in the hands of a 12-year-old girl learning origami. Last night, I regret to inform you my dear comrades, I watched the pilot, the second and third show of the first season of Gossip Girl. I also regret to admit that I liked it.

Although the show's writers have an uncanny understanding of how to reel-us-in, the thing I liked the most was that the show started an interesting conversation (like, totally). One of my dearest comrades introduced, or rather used a bottle of 2004 Rioja and coerced me to watch, the infamous CW series last night. My comrade initiated me with the premise of the series: teenagers of the rich, elite, white-collar, pencil-pushers that reside in the Upper East Side in Manhattan. Then, my comrade commented that it was interesting to see how rich kids have got problems too. Although I have never doubted that the rich and famous have their miseries (studies have shown that the majority of abnormal disorders are found in the very rich and the very poor margins of society), I was intrigued about how it would be illustrated on mainstream media.

As it turned out, the show portrayed the trials and tribulations of affluent, Twittering teens to be much the same as the adolescents of middle-class North America. However, my comrade brought up an excellent point: Can you imagine the kind of power that these rich, hormonal, confused, melodramatic kids actually have? And, the abuses that would ensue! With great power comes great responsibility. The only problem is that their power is in the form of money and status, which comes easy to those who know the right people. I am not going to go on about Blair slandering Serena as a drug-addict, or how Nate is an idiot for not taking a hold of an opportunity like being an usher for Dartmouth at Ivy Week. However, I will talk about the overarching themes in the series that our society appears to thrive on.

Money, power, an education at an Ivy-league school, an appropriately time- (and pocket-) consuming career, a big house in the city, a small house in the Hamptons, and a mistress/or(?). C'est la vie. And everyone wants one. Even this morning, whilst having coffee, my comrade and I stumbled upon a Toronto Life magazine. Inside, there was an article about two ladies who started a Social Club in the city. In this non-exclusive club, you learn how to play polo, eat with chopsticks, have Yogart classes, and a bunch of other elite activities that earn you a spotlight in Toronto's most exclusive social scenes (because apparently they exist). OMFG.

Last time I checked, a social scene was something that you did with friends, family, partners and common dog-lovers. I thought it was about socializing, not networking. These people no longer want to be just another cog in the wheel, they want to be the crank, the piston, the nuts, the bolts, even the coal. We appear to be building a bigger machine when we should be tearing it down.

I think we, in general, have not realized that to stay on top, there are sacrifices on the bottom. To ensure that one Upper East Sider succeeds means hundreds, probably thousands, of others flounder. But, I wonder if we could ever find a balance? What of the Gauche Caviar, as my comrade coins them? What of these left-leaning, beluga-baby-eating (is it a life yet?), tree-hugging, Chanel-wearing demographic of city dwellers? Has a balance been achieved if they pull from either end of the spectrum, or are they just faking it?

Quite honestly, I don't know. I understand about living the good life and being globally conscious simultaneously, but does that perpetuate the machine? Or, are we so mechanical that we need a machine, a driving force, to sustain us? Perhaps, the machine should change and shift from indenturing people to promoting creation. In the wise paraphrase of Mary Elizabeth Croft, how little do we have to think of ourselves that we believe we need to work a 40+ hour work-week just to earn the right to live?

Who knows and who knew that Gossip Girl could be so intellectually stimulating.

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