Monday, March 4, 2019

Audio Noises: "Bling Ring" by Nancy Jo Sales.

Audio Noises: The Bling Ring: how a gang of fame obsesses teens ripped off Hollywood and shocked the world by Nancy Jo Sales, 2013, downloaded from Wisconsin Digital Library.

The brief summary in the library catalog says An in-depth expose of a band of beautiful, privileged teenagers who were caught breaking into celebrity homes and stealing millions of dollars worth of valuables. That's the problem right there: a book about inane teenagers obsessed with fame who decided the burgle famous people so they could wear their clothes and carry their purses. The book dragged.

This was a 9.3 hour audiobook about dipshits. Sales wrote a 2010 Vanity Fair expose on the case and expanded the whole thing into a book. But, when you're writing about 18-year-olds who only care about reality TV, Los Angeles club hopping, looks and clothes, and appearing on TMZ you don't have much content. Sales had to pad a lot of the book with sociological chatter about teenagers, social media, celebrity obsessing culture, and the explosion of celebrities who are famous for being famous.

Anyhoo. Here is the story. Some teenagers in the Valley are really into fashion and famous people. A couple of the teens are good looking and one teaches pole dancing and another was a Playboy Cyber Girl. They started burglarizing celebrity homes and stealing clothes, shoes, purses, cash, and drugs. The burglaries accelerated. The victims's houses were left unlocked and alarms turned off. Video surveillance caught the crooks in the act but not always recorded their faces.

With one-of-a-kind designer items, a Rolex collection, and cash the burglaries tally into $100,000+. The kids are caught. Some of the stolen materials is recovered. When the book was published some kids are convicted. Some of those kids are still pretending they did not do the burglaries even though caught and plead guilty.

They are all idiots. They were all overjoyed at paparazzi questioning their involvement as they left night clubs, or asking for quotes during their perp walks. If I had read this in 2013 it might have been of interest. However, this craziness is nothing compared to the current shitshow of a idiotic, self obsessed, former reality TV star becoming President.

1. Sales did a lot of work on this story. She was all over Los Angeles with interviews with burglars, cops, lawyers, friends, family, neighbors and court documents.
2. Celebrities famous for being famous. Sales mentions how a Kardashian became famous from a sex tape and that started the family business. When I was growing up there were people who were on the same spectrum but they were there after initial successes. Charo and George Hamilton are two that come to mind. Hamilton, though, hit it big with Love at First Bite and got somewhat regular roles after. Charo was both a punchline and skilled entertainer - just not enough to stay big.
3. The pole dancer and Playboy girl burglars did parlay their local party girl reputation into a reality show. The show was so awful is was canceled after a couple episodes. Sales quotes Joel McHale's blistering insult on The Soup.
4. Sales wrote this at the peak of reality TV and writes about how reality TV is actually scripted. The show with the dancer and nude model pretended the girls were still in high school. Sales mentions how viewers follow the shows for style and fashion guidance and examples of expected behavior.
5. The reality TV shows reminded me that a lot of the crazy, the boozing, the all-day-bikini wearing of 20-year-olds is actually scripted by TV producers in their forties.
6. Some of the attorneys are more interested in publicity and TV coverage than defending the burglars. One attorney was blathering to Sales about the concepts of judgment, justice, and fairness. How the lawyer was proud of being seen by police and prosecutors as a "fair guy". Fuck that. You're not there to be fair. You're there to fight for your client. You're there to keep the government honest, not get buddy buddy.
6.B. The lawyers reminded me of Connelly's Mickey Haller books. Haller's practice is built on advertising and notoriety. Except Haller actually does have his client's interests in mind.
7. Lindsey Lohan had it rough. She was modeling at age 3 and the generated the family income as a child. Her mother was a party girl. Her father sold her voicemail messages to the gossip websites. Lohan's life became booze, drugs, and no supervision or guidance. No stable home to retreat to.
8. One burglar is rotten to her mother during interviews with Sales. "Stop it! You're not allowed to talk!" The narrator reads that very emphatically.
9. I did not realize how long ago this book came out. Or recognized a film was made.
10. The book starts with Sales meeting with Sofia Coppola who ended up directing the film version.
Sales or Coppola wonder when the celebrity culture will evolve. If there will be a backlash or a change. My comment: the culture has not changed but people do not get away with as much. Before the book was written Paris Hilton was caught on tape disparaging racial groups and homosexuals with no result. Now, that behavior can swing back and sting. Kevin Hart's old Tweets. Governor Blackface in Virginia.
10.B. EDIT: now that TV is in the new Golden Age I presume the fascination with and ratings for reality TV have dropped.

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