By now you’ve probably watched one (if not both?) of the Fyre Festival documentaries that have been roaming online on Netflix (“Fyre”) and Hulu (“Fyre Fraud”).
We recently watched both, starting with Hulu’s because it was available first and it looked intriguing–esp. to a couple who had never even heard of the event.
Actually, to be exact, I had only heard about it after the fact when the tent pictures were coming out and people were complaining about having paid thousands to attend something that didn’t turn out at all like what was promised. My husband, on the other hand, even though he’s a very savvy computer developer who keeps up with most pop culture, had no clue what this was about.
Guess we’re not hanging out in the right circles! (I say this sarcastically because I couldn’t be happier about this being the case since everyone who bought into this scam seemed like they were stupid enough to deserve it. More on this later.)
This post won’t review either documentary, though suffice it to say both were entertaining and well-made. We did like Hulu’s better because it gives the viewer more context, but they both do a good job of showing the absurdity behind everything involved with this Fyre Festival.
The biggest question mark both documentaries left in my mind isn’t how a douche-looking scammer was able to get away with so much for so long (seriously: he doesn’t even LOOK reliable or trustworthy!), or why would anyone spend so much money for something so ridiculous.
No, the biggest question that whole ordeal made me ask is: WHAT IS THE APPEAL OF PABLO ESCOBAR? In other words, WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO “LIVE LIKE HIM FOR A FEW DAYS”? (That was an actual quote from Billy McFarland, the genius scammer behind Fyre Festival.)
I’m lost. Remind me again what all this “Fyre” stuff is!
Long before “Fyre” came along there was a Black-Card-wannabe club named Magnises (pronounced mag•nee•says), which was also invented by Billy McFarland. When he first moved to New York he didn’t know much about the city but there weren’t other services out there who could introduce him to fun or interesting happenings. Then came Magnises, his $250/year-membership club that came with exclusive perks such as access to tickets, hotel suites, and other things in NYC.
Through the apparent growing popularity of Magnises among Millennials (funny that we had never even heard about it until the documentaries), Billy met many wealthy and/or famous personalities–the rapper Ja Rule being one of them–and this also started to give him a lot of clout in several influential circles.
Magnises tanked thanks to broken promises and shoddy customer service, but somehow Billy’s fame stayed intact.
At around this time, Billy’s team was also working on an app (called Fyre) that’d allow users to easily book celebrities for their events. They reasoned regular people don’t have easy access to them so they must be looking for a way to find and book them.
In the midst of their work, one employee thought of the perfect idea to promote this never-before-seen talent-booking app: A music festival featuring none other than some of the celebrities from the app.
How does Pablo Escobar play into this?
Pablo Escobar, a man I’ll go so far as to call a terrorist, was a Colombian who throughout the 80s and early 90s specialized in building his drug empire and growing his popularity with Colombia’s poor.
Many Americans don’t recognize the damage he did to Colombia. My husband seemed to disagree with my calling him a terrorist and labeled him a mere drug lord. However, as a Colombian, I know he was WAY more than a drug lord.
In my opinion, Pablo Escobar was a terrorist because he tried to advance his political agenda through blackmail, intimidation, assassinations, kidnappings, and corruption.
Besides growing his “empire” and infesting Colombia with hippos, he also bombed businesses, buildings, and cars; kidnapped and killed civilians, politicians, and members of the press; and, perhaps most memorably, helped feed not only America’s cocaine addiction, but also the “civil war” that had been plaguing Colombia for decades.
(I put “civil war” in quotations because it’s not like regular people were at war with each other–instead, this war was being fought between the government and a few terrorist groups.)
But people here only seem to look at the “glamorous” side of Escobar’s life (if there is such a thing). Billy, having grown up spoiled and with absolutely no idea of world politics, thought that Escobar must have surely led some sort of consequence-free and victim-less lifestyle–with all his properties and hidden stashes of money.
Sure enough, as he was scouting for places to host his festival, he came across an island in the Bahamas that had once been owned by the one and only Pablo Escobar. For some reason, this really appealed to Billy and made him want to buy it for the event, so that “other people can live like [Escobar] for a few days.”
Listen up, A-hole.
Pablo Escobar was no hero. He was a TERRORIST. He is so very hated by Colombians that even his relatives changed their (last) names and now live in anonymity. For their safety, some of his former associates and enemies changed their identities as well.
If your upbringing didn’t teach you this, then don’t be an ignorant fool; ignorance ≠ bliss. Next time do some research, wise up, sober up, and do some good for once in your life. Defrauding people (no matter how clueless they may be) isn’t how you win over society.
And to all those who saw “Pablo Escobar” and thought, “Ooh! I want in on that!”
Or even if you watched the well-edited ad promoting a big heaping pile of nothingness, went to the website and were attracted by how vague it was, or booked tickets worth thousands of dollars after seeing mere sketches…
You got what you deserved! Congratulations on exemplifying Darwinism at its finest and thank you for the entertainment that shall live on for generations!
– – –
Did you watch the Fyre Festival documentaries? What did you think? Which were your favorite parts?