ACCELERATIONISM AND THE FYRE FESTIVAL

March 6th, 2018 | by Dylan James Harper

Time is a flat circle, that much is clear, but it’s not stationary. A lot of people have started to throw around the term late capitalism to refer to the ever increasing absurdities attributed to the global financial system. Accelerationism would be a more appropriate term, and no where is that more clearly articulated than in the new documentary Fyre.

 

Chris Smith takes the audience on a before, during, and after tour of the “the greatest party that never happened,” in which an arrogant entrepreneur named Billy McFarland commits numerous acts of fraud in an attempt to create a luxury musical festival that eventually goes awry. The festival, which was marketed heavily on social media via glamour shots of the beautiful Bahamian beaches posted by Instagram influencers, was a disaster in every meaningful way. The vacations of several wealthy millennials were ruined, and far more importantly, the lives of several of Billy’s employees, who range from upscale New York based event planners to Bahamian day laborers, were ruined.

 

The cataloguing of the disaster both during and after the event was extremely thorough, and now with the addition of two documentaries on the subject, both Smith’s, and another directed by Jenner Furst and Julia Nason that premiered on Hulu and takes a more overtly critical look from a more leftist perspective, the collapse of the event is a concrete part of history. What’s noteworthy, and worth further exploration, is the events and actions taken immediately after the failure of the festival by McFarland. This is where Accelerationism and the future of the world might start to snap into focus for those holding out hope that capitalism can be salvaged.

 

The only critical background necessary on McFarland is that, prior to the failure of Fyre, he had engaged in only one other major project: Magnises, a credit card company that basically served as an exclusive club for young New Yorkers. While it had its own issues with broken promises, usually around exclusive tickets that never ended up being delivered, it appears to be a mostly sincere endeavor, and one that by all accounts Billy himself truly believed in. He talked at length openly about his desire to be in a nebulously defined exclusivity, and created a company, albeit one with a hollow product, to deliver it.

 

Shortly after the success of Magnises, McFarland started Fyre Media, which was tasked with creating an app that was meant to be the Uber or AirBnb for booking celebrities. While needlessly opulent, this too seemed sincere, born out of Billy’s inability to immediately meet Ja Rule; it even delivered a more tangible product than Magnises. To promote the festival, Billy envisioned a multiday luxury island music festival, where the wealthy and famous would come together to salute him, and congratulate each other on their wealth and fame.

 

Fyre failed for many reasons, but not for lack trying, both by McFarland and his employees. Even the most frustrated and critical employees report that he was in the production room with them working feverishly up to and including the last actual day of the festival, which was also the first day. Billy wanted this to work. He committed purposeful, and intentional fraud, and was easily prosecuted for it, but he did want this giant party to happen, and he did want to make a ton of money off of it.

 

Once it was finally over, signaled by a Tweet of the low-grade cheese sandwich from one of the guests going viral, McFarland went back to New Yorker. He was quickly arrested on various counts relating to fraud. After being bailed out of jail, he inexplicably hired a videographer to follow him around in his penthouse as he started his next business venture, selling fake VIP tickets to Fyre festival guests.

 

This product, unlike his previous two, was a literal scam. Knowing his name was poison, Billy got a friend to contact several Fyre festival guests, offering to sell them tickets to highly exclusive events, including events that weren’t selling tickets, or events that never sold tickets. This is Accelerationism. The sincerity and longing had been peeled away, and all that remained was a vapid and frantic attempt to cash in. This was a poker player on a losing streak seeing that final losing hand that just breaks them, so they try to reach in and just grab all the chips in the pot. Fyre was Billy throwing a party hoping Daisy would come, this was him sending Nick to go take the copper wiring out of the empty houses in West Egg.


The term Late Capitalism has this implication that capitalism is winding down, soon to end. That thinking doesn’t hold with reality. Rather, it is ramping up. For decades, the bourgeoisie thought that they had to maintain some semblance of upward for the petit bourgeois and the members of the proletariat that view themselves as middle class. As it became increasingly clear that capitalism simply wasn’t sustainable, they’ve began to accelerate their attempts at profit, and in doing so abandon any sort of authenticity or pretense. Once they figured out they could abandon these quaint vestiges, they began to try to strip away more and more. Eventually, they’ll be nothing left.

 

Dylan James Harper is the Political Editor for CSUITEMUSIC.com
Read more from Dylan at http://www.dylanjamesharper.com

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official views of CSUITEMUSIC or its partners and collaborators. 

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