By: Ashley Rivera
Over the weekend, I decided to go see the new movie “Laugh at my Pain” starring Kevin Hart. I’m a huge fan of his, so naturally I anticipated nothing but laughs. This particular comedy was centered on the humor in the truths of Kevin Hart’s life. He spoke a bit of his past and of where he is today. He came from a poor neighborhood in Philadelphia and moved to Los Angeles after his career in comedy took off. He began talking about how he tries to stay in his “financial lane”, and then went on to explain how he no longer tries to keep up with those celebrities who make more money than he does. However, at one point in his career, he did. He then describes various personal experiences and even goes as far as to make the bold statement “celebrities do not respect money”.
This caused me to wonder, why is it that no matter how much personal success we achieve, many of us would still overspend, overwork, and change ourselves to be considered even friends of those in elite classes? Why is there so much pressure to keep up with celebrities and why does it seems like those who have the most money, are the least likely to respect it? Why do we try so hard to blend in with those of a higher status?
I may not be able to answer each question, however, the way media portrays lower class and the elite classes, may shed some light. In television shows and movies, those of high status are usually seen as having one thing in common- Money. It seems the more money you have, the better you are treated, the nicer places you are allowed to enter, the more things you can do, so essentially, more money is equals more power and control over your own life. Who wouldn’t want that right? This is the image present to the world by the media of high status. Spending frivolously may be seen as one way to “fit in”. Kevin Hart spoke about how he is friends with a very successful basketball player. Kevin the explains how his friend tried to convince him to buy a boat when Kevin didn’t even own his own home. The pressure to keep up with those “financially better off” can be a burdening one. It isn’t uncommon to see millionaires spend ridiculous amounts on outrageous things while there are so many starving people in the world. For example, Paris Hilton has been noted to enjoy a $1000 "Golden Opulence Sundae" which has thin pieces of edible gold in it.
Its ice cream. Why in the world would anyone spend a grand on ice cream? -Because they can. For those who have millions to spend, money decreases in personal value and means less to them. Therefore, they respect it less and spend less wisely. However, for a man like Kevin Hart, he still has not hit the point of extreme wealth. So the pressures to keep up with his peers are still present.
Status is an established position in a social structure that carried a degree of prestige. Its basically how you rank is society. Its natural to want to challenge the status you've been placed under and want to be peers among a group that is treated better and has it easier than you. Kevin strived to be more like higher ranking celebrities, while there are so many people who strive to be where he is. Sometimes you just need to be thankful for what you've got, because someone, somewhere, has less.