August 5, 2012

This Side of Paradise

I suppose everyone has a certain special book that has acquired the status of their favorite through the years. For me that book is This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald, who is my favorite author to boot, which makes this literary masterpiece twice as important to me.

Now, I know very well about the whole Gatsby boom these days, which naturally has little to do with its value and much, much more to do with the impending movie release with DiCaprio, everyone's old favorite after Titanic. I have no desire to evaluate his talent as an actor (never having seen his work - I haven't watched Titanic to date out of pointless teenage principle) but I hate, hate, HATE the increasing hype. I can just visualise the weeks after the movie release: thousands of hip teenagers facebooking, tweeting, tumbling about their undying love for The Great Gatsby and Fitzgerald, even though they had doubtfully read the book, not to mention anything else by Fitzgerald.

I know I sound like a snob. It's partially intentional because I see no other way to get my thoughts across. I guess I'm just afraid of the typical sequence of events (that at only 17 years of age I've seen numerous times) that had followed anything remotely successful in a sickening vertigo. Let me tell you about this process, and halfway through my explanations you'll be nodding in agreement and finishing my sentences.

(1) The trailer is out, collecting 2374893275 Youtube views. It's passed around via social networks, repeatedly tweeted, discussed and critiqued by both amateurs and professionals. After a few days of this the public is sufficiently warmed up to this new cinematic addition.

(2) The public has from a few months to a year to warm up some more. The movie is taken to Tumblr level, the screenshots discussed, the actors dissected, and, naturally, the smart posers have already started their game by then. Manifestations of love for an author whose work they've never read are quite common at this stage.


(4) A few months later, the hype is so fanatic that a small group of fed-up individuals is formed to criticize the movie that everyone loved so much as well as the obsessed fans. The opposition slowly grows, hurling sarcastic and bitter critique along the way.

(5) A year later, the movie is such a drag. What did everyone see in it, anyway? It's cliche to like it now, which is why no fans are left except for the teenyboppers and those too slow to realize it's no longer COOL to like it. So dies the hype.

Maybe now you understand by distrust for a blockbuster based on my favorite author's most popular novel. I don't want something private that I love, a voice that speaks to me no matter what situation I'm in, to get engulfed first in a sea of enthusiastic yet ignorant well-wishers, then in a similar crowd of ignorant antagonists. I can't bear the idea of it.

Perhaps you think I'm just selfish and don't want to be mistaken for someone who only recently acquired an interest for his work. Well, that too.

Anyway, I should probably stop being macabre and wait for the movie. In the meantime, here's a set I made based on This Side of Paradise intended to reflect my vision of Rosalind. She's definitely not my favorite character (I choose Eleanor), but I like her sharp tongue and the way she deviates from the typical debutante. Plus she's daring. In reality, though, my reason for choosing her was her integral role in the book; she's basically the principal female heroine if one has to be chosen.

The set isn't ideally tailored to the 20's, so don't blame me for historical inaccuracy - it's a more modern look with vintage elements influenced by Rosalind's more playful childish side meshed with her love for a luxurious life. The main piece is sort of the way I pictured her famous pink dress, the one she first meets Amory in.

I suppose that's all for now. I really recommend the novel to anyone who hasn't read it yet - it's brilliant.

'I know myself - but that is all',


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