When William Wales married Catherine Middleton this novel sprang to mind, and the millions spent on the funeral of Thatcher just seemed to confirm the complete and utter contempt the UK establishment has for the millions and millions of everyday working class people that make up 99.9% of our population. But there are two things that are depressing about this; firstly if you questioned a member of the Establishment about this, they probably wouldn’t have a clue what you were driving at because they are so out of touch, and their lives are totally remote from the rest of us. Secondly that working people not only go along with these grotesque shows of decadent flaunting of wealth, but actively take part in these ludicrous charades. History will look back at these era of economic Depression and ask why, when millions are suffering desperate hardships and household debt is now the crippling cause of so much misery, did people not rise up and say no, no no?
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel is an important commentary on our times as the themes on offer are universal. Set in the effete, immoral and financially corrupt circles of the wealthy Eastern seaboard of the USA (Martha’s Vineyard and the later Kennedy Camelot brave comparison) “The Great Gatsby” explores the lives, loves and losses of this elite who are so far removed from the reality of routine lives of regular Americans that it totally debunks the massive myth of the American dream. Fitzgerald nails this lie once and for all as we are party to the corrupt doings of bond dealers, financiers and of Gatsby himself who has made his stash via organised crime and bootlegging.
The main overarching theme that struck me was the idea that for these people money can buy you, and give you access to anything. Be it sexual manipulation or even killing someone, their wealth means they are above the mores of society, and it’s rules simply do not apply to them. In our times the Bankers, Hedge Fund Managers and Tory donors who use their wealth to buy MP’s who now represent the interests of Virgin Healthcare, Barclays Bank and tax evaders rather than their constituents hold sway and honestly believe that laws about tax and the such like are for others.
F. Scott Fitzgerald eloquently, and for that era courageously exposes the routine misogynist and sexually exploitative attitudes of the super rich. Affairs and enforced sexual deviancy are recounted as if this is accepted behaviour and the women are mere adornments to the lifestyle, and if they step out of line the consequences are damaging.
Gatsby himself represents the foul and putrid nature of financially backed raw power just as now where money can literally buy you immunity from moral responsibility.
The book has been filmed again with Leonardo di Caprio in the title role, and I am hoping that viewers will make the obvious connections and come away with the desire to do something about it.
We have so much being thrown at us by the elite that it seems on occasions overwhelming. But we cannot and must not give up and allow passivity to win the day. 100 EDL supporters marched in Hull yesterday. If that is not enough to galvanise us, then what is?