There are two aspects of this story that I found interesting. First, is that the 18-year-old daughter of Clint Eastwood, Francesca, destroyed a $100,000 Hermès Birkin bag and, second, there is a $100,000 Hermès bag. Eastwood has triggered a firestorm of controversy over the “art” video with her boyfriend, Tyler Shields, with people noting that they destroyed a bag worth over three times the annual salary of most working Americans. Some have noted that some (budget basement) bag can go for as little as $10,000. Would that matter?
I am not sure what to be more outraged about as part of the Lumpenproletariat: owning or destroying a $100,000 bag. I think I will go with owning one.
The destruction was shown in a series of pictures on Shields’s website, tylershields.com. They show Eastwood burning the bad with gasoline and then shredding it with a $200 chainsaw. They insist it is a genuine purse and Shields states “Destruction is a beautiful version of freedom … Would you want this bag? Are you sad to see me destroy it?” Clever and edgy. Next they might try peasant shooting:
Shield’s responded to the widespread criticism with a curious offer: “If somebody wants to buy one of the Birkin photos, I will donate $100,000 — not to a charity — but to a family. I will give one family in need $100,000 cash.”
Young Eastwood is part of a reality show “Mrs. Eastwood and Company,” featuring Eastwood’s second wife Dina and members of their blended family.
Frankly, I cannot imagine what could go into a handbag to make it worth the price of a home, but I expect it contains an overdose of sheer snobbism. Some bags reportedly go as high as $150,000. That certainly makes it a worthwhile image for artistic destruction, but a knockoff would seem a good substitute. However, artists have often chosen valuable things to destroy to make a statement. The band K Foundation once burned £1 million cash. Likewise, Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei was famous for his destroying a Han Dynasty vase as part of his artistic expression.
Moreover, the super rich often spend lavishly. While young Eastwood’s mother has said that the teen has no sense of money, many celebrities vie for buying (or destroying) with abandon. Such is the case with Steven Tyler’s purchase of the first 2012 Hennessey Venom GT for over $1 million. Would it be immoral for him to now burn the car as an artistic expression? It would be more artistically appealing than his ability to sing the national anthem. Where do you draw the line between immoral consumption and merely obscene spending?
What is clear is that it presents a slightly different image of an Eastwood after Clint Eastwood’s popular video during the Superbowl celebrating the return of the American worker:
Well, its halftime in the Eastwood house and little Francesca may need to hear from Dad:
People are out of work and they’re hurting. And they’re all wondering what they’re going to do to make a comeback. And we’re all scared, because this isn’t a game.
The people of Detroit know a little something about this. They almost lost everything. But we all pulled together, now Motor City is fighting again.
I’ve seen a lot of tough eras, a lot of downturns in my life. And, times when we didn’t understand each other. It seems like we’ve lost our heart at times. When the fog of division, discord, and blame made it hard to see what lies ahead.
Source: Globe and Mail