Flexing During a Pandemic

Rich, Beautiful And Out of Touch.

Photo by Colin Watts on Unsplash

I have never understood why the wealthy post on social media. I wouldn’t.

Though, I’m eager to rid society of elitism and can recognize that the desire for connection is universally yearned by those experiencing humanity — the display of wealth online remains absurd to me.

I recall the adage “money talks, wealth whispers”. Yet, in today’s attention-hungry-technology-enabled landscape new money has rapidly gained on those of old fortune. Even the keenest of observers may struggle to appreciate the difference.

Reality stars turned business moguls and silicon valley darlings have joined the ranks of formidable industry tycoons and other resilient economic forces. While the wealthy share in their accessibility to luxury they often differ in tack.

The recent global health crisis has widened the chasm of societal inequity and the common threads which bind the social classes increasingly fray.

There is a food crisis, a housing crisis, an education crisis, and most of all a morality crisis.

While some self-isolate to protect the health of their families and themselves — others parade around at mask-less fetes.

They jet-set to private islands with their closest friends and receive health tests at their discretion. Other, less fortunate souls, wait in hours-long lines for the opportunity to know if they’re free of a virus.

Members of the upper class invest in luxury bags that rise in value as families in small towns and big cities sink further into debt.

They vacation, they party and most strikingly they live a life relatively unencumbered by the literal ills of society around (or beneath) them.

And they post all of it to social media. I mean at least make a finsta. You don’t have to be a public figure!

Deceptively, this isn’t a scathing dress down of the monied among us but instead a venture into the purpose of their behavior.

Why share tone-death images of your luxurious lifestyle during a time of despair? What is obtained, if anything at all?

Moreover, why even attempt to placate the disillusioned and angry less fortunate with messages of unity?

Here, is the long-winded answer:

When a tragic event typically occurs, the unaffected shower the devastated parties with “thoughts and prayers”.

However, this current pandemic is a crisis unlike other newsworthy events because it has continued longer than expected. The news now broadcasts the daily death rate in the same manner as the weather.

This shift in reality for the general public is not shared by all because all do not live as the general public does.

Many of these privileged persons have never had to pretend or downplay the reality of their life because it is apart of their allure.

The image of opulence has led to lucrative brand deals, adoration, and fuel “motivation porn”.

The glitz, glam, and exclusivity has generated a hustle harder culture, where the fault of poverty has been found in those suffering. However, this precious situation has revealed many truths- among them that you can’t out-hustle a pandemic.

It is not a sin to be wealthy, but it certainly makes it more difficult to endear yourself to others.

The society adjustments made by the majority has emphasized class differences. Today, most people find themselves unable to travel as freely as they did before the pandemic.

Now, beach selfies are labeled #throwback or #prepandemic. But the wealthy can still afford to travel to luxurious destinations — and they do.

These excursions which may have previously been unattainable for some are now unfathomable for most. Though the elite has not escaped this pandemic untouched, they do so minimally. Money has afforded them access to creature comforts and societal safeguards not available to others.

They travel private instead of first-class, create learning pods instead of attending private schools, and request that their staff live on-premises. And again, they continue to display this fortune online.

Though things haven’t returned to the pre-pandemic customs some have settled into a lifestyle more comfortable than many.

This health crisis has made social intricacies more difficult to maneuver, and revealed those who don’t care to try.

There remains a clear difference between naivety and purposeful disregard for the plight of others. And current trends show that though money may enable some to operate through life with relative ease, they manage to do so with a remarkable lack of grace.

Social media and culture writer. @bonebritt

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