The Myrtle Wilson Syndrome
Myrtle Wilson the woman who was doomed to die in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, her crime, she wanted to belong to a world that she did not belong. As the lover of the very wealthy Tom Buchanan she was able to gain access into the world where she craved to belong. However, the married woman who was married to a mechanic in squander would meet her end running towards a car who she believed to be driven by the man who she thought loved her. Myrtles death and wanting to belong to the world of the rich and the famous reflects on how fame obsessed America is.
The people who are rich and famous in this country don’t seem to have any privacy what so ever. Given The Great Gatsby was written before the digital age involving the internet and multiple tabloids. “I married him because I thought he was a gentleman,” she said finally. “I thought he knew something about breeding, but he wasn’t fit enough to lick my shoe.” “ But you were crazy about him for a while,” said Catherine. “Crazy about him!” cried Myrtle incredulously. “Who said I was crazy about him than I was about that man there.” (The Great Gatsby pg. 35) Myrtle is seen multiple times, as shown in this quote here, defending her right to have an affair away from her husband, George. She knows that he won’t be able to give her the life that she wanted. So, she began to look elsewhere for someone who would. Throughout the book it is shown that she has lied many times about Tom’s wife Daisy saying that she is Catholic and that Tom could not stand to be around his wife. In truth, Tom never really loved Myrtle or Daisy. Daisy he married because it was expected of him and Myrtle was one of many women who he looked for to fill the void that was missing.
This brings me to my next point, how people push themselves into the lives of the rich and famous. Myrtle was shoving herself into the spotlight amongst many friends of Tom’s because they all knew her as the mistress. Also, many people, including Daisy, knew who she was. It was as if she was an infamous celebrity amongst the circle of friends Tom had built around him. He would dangle her in front of Nick Carraway and hit on her in front of her own husband. He would help her sneak out of the broken down apartment she had lived in. Many people in the area at least had to have known something was going on between them. In my opinion this is why Myrtle was doomed from the beginning. “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” (The Great Gatsby pg. 180) The people who live in the lavish lifestyle that many crave get into forget that not everyone has the assets they need. Whenever a celebrity ends up getting in trouble with the law, they tend to get probation and nothing more. When scrolling through the comment section of these articles it appears as though everyone blames the judge for letting them off easy.
Back in 2009 a group of fame obsessed teenagers decided to go on a crime spree across southern California. They became known as “The Burglar Bunch” and “The Bling Ring”. These teens were known for breaking into houses of famous celebrities and stealing what they thought they deserved. After the teens had burgled the house of Paris Hilton several times, they decided to burgle the house of Audrina Patridge. Audrina, unlike Hilton had noticed right away that things had been taken from her house. This burglary is said to have been done by the ring leader Rachel Lee and her second in command Nick Prugo. When Patridge had discovered the burglaries she decided to post the security video on her website in hopes that someone will come forward with information. When I viewed this video I noticed Rebecca’s actions as strange compared to someone who would commit a robbery. She was playing with her hair and her face was uncovered. While watching this I began to wonder if it is because she wanted someone to see her. If she was this video was to be released everyone would see her face and know what she looked like. It was as if she had foresight that thousands of people would see her.
Many more celebs would be hit. They hit Paris Hiltons house multiple times before she noticed that she had been burglarized. Rachel Bilson they hit numerous times as well. When they were at Paris Hiltons house they would treat the house as though it was there place to hang out. Paris was the first person who they decided to go after. The reason Rachel and Nick decided to go after Hilton is because they felt she was dumb and stupid because of the way that she acted in public. When they had gone to Hilton’s house they had discovered the spare key left under the door mat. Once they had the key they were free to walk around the house as they pleased. Paris was out of town in Las Vega when this robbery had occurred. The part that had intrigued me the most is how Rachel Lee had acted during and after the robberies according to Nick Prugo. “I’m in the house,” he said, “walking back and forth, freaking out. I mean, it’s weird to go through somebody’s things.” But Lee, he said, was always “very into it, focused”—so relaxed that when they burglarized the home of Rachel Bilson, on May 9, Lee took the time to go into the bathroom and have a bowel movement.” (The Suspects were Louboutins by Nancy Jo Sales) Although many people had wondered why these kids had done what they did. But to me the answer was obvious. These kids were focused on getting there foot in the door to fame. The driving force behind these burglaries for Rachel Lee was getting designer clothes from the rich and famous. A podium that she seemed too long to enjoy; she was obsessed with reality television which is why she chose to go after Audrina Patridge. The biggest fashion icon to her was Lindsay Lohan so they went to her house and burgled her. The only crime that the victims had committed this entire time was being in the headlines.
The reason these celebs were in the headlines were not always for something good. There have been several articles about Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton being arrested on drug charges. Then there was Audrina Patridge who at points acted like a complete air head in front of the cameras. As for Rachel Bilson she made headlines for being a teen idol from the hit television show The O.C. As for the other victims Miranda Kerr and Orlando Bloom, they were in the headlines for being a power couple, the same goes for Brian Austin Green and Megan Fox. After the robberies with what had happened Orlando Bloom revealed that he was traumatized by what had happened. Bloom also claimed his valuable watch collection wasn’t in a safe but was fairly well-hidden in a secret compartment inside a wall, obscured by a bookshelf, and testified that the thieves’ finding the box was “one of the things that was really freaky about the robbery, because I thought because they had found those that somebody who I knew personally must have broken into my house.” Bloom testified that he initially thought his housekeeper committed the robbery, and “so she sort of declined to work” there anymore, and he’s “since sent her flowers and stuff.” (The Bling Ring Cast Revealed: The Stars Grand Jury Testimony by Marlow Stern) Statements like these were said by many of the victims. But Orlando Bloom’s had stuck out to me the most. It was as thought his word had started to crumble beneath him when he discovered what had happened. His privacy had been violated; the feeling of being safe and secure in his own house was taken by a few teens who wanted things from his girlfriend. These people had felt unsafe because these teens did not view them as human beings rather as celebs.
In my opinion, in society today many people tend to forget that celebs are people as well. Many of them have jobs just like us. They have to get up in the morning get dressed and go to work. Whether that works is an audition, commercial, movie, music studio, or television show they still have to get up and do it. This is a topic that my grandmother and I come to every now and then. She states that times have changed for celebrities because they have no privacy like they used to. With the media now we have a twenty four hour celeb news line and many people take advantage of it. When I go to different websites such as People.com and UsMagazine.com they have segments on clothing, make up, and hair. They have the typical who is breaking up and who is getting married, as well as babies and pets. Nothing really newsworthy compared to what is going on in the rest of world. It is as though these websites are there to give people something to talk about and people do talk about what they had read online. The bling ring robberies would go to prove this as one of them would become known best through reality television.
While the robberies being done by the bling ring were going on. One of their very own was rising amongst in Hollywood as a wannabe model. Alexis Neiers and her family had just scored a show on E! called Pretty Wild. The show was supposed to follow a mother and her three daughters as they tried to enter into the modeling business. During the first episode Andrea Arlington-Dunn, the mother, and two of her daughters Alexis Neiers and Tess Taylor were shown going to Biatta fashion for a model session. After the session they were offered contracts and they immediately signed on. However, towards the end of the episode a group of cops had shown up at the house to arrest Alexis for her involvement in the bling ring. After this her world seemed to crumble around her all taped on reality TV. Nancy Jo Sales who had covered the story had interviewed Neiers about what had happened. Neiers stated that she was innocent and not involved at all; even though she had been caught on camera at Orlando Blooms house. This interview was taped and shown on television as well as her reaction to the article. “Message One: “Nancy Jo, this is Alexis Neiers calling.” She sounded choked up. “I’m calling to let you know how disappointed…f***!” Message Two: “Nancy Jo, this is Alexis Neiers calling to let you know how disappointed I am in your story, how horrible you—. Then I could hear Andrea screaming: “You lied!” (The Bling Ring pg. 238) The video of her having a meltdown yelling into the phone of a magazine writer soon went viral. Many people have seen the video of the meltdown and her reaction to what had happened. Now a day’s Alexis Neiers seems to have done well for herself, getting married and becoming a mother, but she will still be remembered by man as being a part of the infamous bling ring.
The bling ring and Myrtle Wilson connect to me for a reason. Both of them wanted to be a part of the lavish life style they had seen before them. Rachel Lee the ring leader was able to manipulate and show off the stolen treasures, while Myrtle Wilson had wanted to be rid of the slums that she had come from. Both of them had met ends with being infamous in worlds around them. Myrtle became known as a mistress to Jay Gatsby, she was shown in the papers as being a loose woman with no morals at all. She and Gatsby became nothing more than tabloid side show for people to read about. The same happened with Rachel Lee, Nick Prugo, Alexis Neiers, and the rest of the bling ring. They eventually got sent to prison and served their time separately. Although many of them are out now and living their lives attempting to push the past behind them, the one thing they can’t escape is their past. When I read up on the bling ring now in articles, the only two names that show up are Alexis Neiers and Nick Prugo. Everyone else has moved on and started their life elsewhere, including Rachel Lee. However, because Neiers and Prugo had given the interview to Vanity Fair a few years ago, there moments of life in the criminal spotlight may never be gone. Eventually, time will go on and people will forget about these crimes and what these kids did. To some people the bling ring comes into mind because of the popular movie Sofia Coppola directed starring Harry Potter star Emma Watson. The name Myrtle Wilson rings a bell to some because of the popularity of Baz Luhrmann’s version of The Great Gatsby. Either way there are many people who are doing what they can to get noticed just like Myrtle Wilson and the bling ring.
The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald, F. Scott, Copyright 1925
The Bling Ring: How a Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped off Hollywood and Shocked the World, Sales, Nancy Jo, Copyright 2013
The Suspects Wore Louboutins, Sales, Nancy Jo, Vanity Fair, Copyright March 2010, http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2010/03/billionaire-girls-201003#
‘The Bling Ring’ Cast Revealed: The Stars Grand Jury Testimony, Scott, Marlow, Copyright June 2011, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/06/11/the-bling-ring-case-revealed-the-stars-grand-jury-testimony.html