A boy pours Dom Pérignon into a lake. Another waves a giant foam finger from the passenger seat of a Ferrari. There’s one somersaulting from a private jet, and another bathing with a magnum of Moët, a gold Amex card tucked stupidly in his mouth.
“Rich Kids of Instagram” exposes the moronic excesses of teenage socialites via the social media site Tumblr. A peek into the lives of the rich and nominally famous, the photographs – set in gilded frames – have been pored over and widely ridiculed since the site launched last month.
Some recurring themes: youngsters in aviators, mismatched bikinis and low v-necks showcasing resplendent chest hair while lounging poolside in the Hamptons – or “Hampsss” in rich-girl-speak. Some pose atop their Porsche 911’s; others opt for close-ups of their “arm candy” – that’s the Cartier, Hermès and Rolex weighing down their tanned wrists.
Dom Pérignon features in about 80 per cent of the shots; the teens sometimes use it for champagne pong, or showers. Scrolling through the photos with bemused contempt, you realize how rigidly formulaic it all is.
The kids’ conspicuous displays of wealth evoke that of their hip hop heroes: “#champagne#pool party with the homies #success,” reads one caption. It’s a caricature of wealth: “Our everyday is your best day,” reads another. Here, a sampling of their infuriating hashtags: #privatejetstatus, #champersinthehottub, #personalchef, as well as #abundance. Infuriating, of course, because we presume these greasy teens didn’t succeed at anything to earn any of it.
The site is funniest in its dichotomies of high and low: Whoppers and boiled hot dogs paired with Dom, coolers of Bud Light nestled in the private chopper. A $14,000 bar tab lists mountains of Red Bull, alongside the other staples of pampered teens: Patron and Belvedere. Ultimately, the Rich Kids of Instagram are like most of the pestilent teens you know, only with more credit card debt.
It’s unclear whether “friends” of these Richie Riches have sent the shots along, or whether the exhibitionist subjects have submitted the photos themselves.
Writing in the Atlantic, Rebecca Greenfield suggested the problem isn’t so much entitled teens as it is Instagram, “a shallow medium all about promoting superficiality that photo takers did little to nothing to earn.” She compares the photos to most folks’ uses for Instagram, be it snapping pics of restaurant meals or how much fun they’re having socializing.
So, how to prevent your brood from bathing in Dom all summer? Maybe send them to “money camp.” On the heels of the mocking Tumblr account comes news of twice-weekly classes for 6-to-11-year old scions of wealthy families. Here, activities include mastering Pit, the vicious Parker Brothers card game intended to simulate open outcry bidding.
That $14,000 bar tab isn’t going to pay itself, kid.
Should we be indignant about the lifestyles of these teens?