When Francesca Eastwood, 19-year-old daughter of legendary filmmaker Clint Eastwood, recently desecrated a $100,000 Birkin Bag on the reality series “Mrs. Eastwood & Company,” she was only trying to please her boyfriend. Thirty-year old celeb photographer Tyler Shields, a favourite with young Hollywood actors such as Emma Roberts and the cast of Glee, handed her the bag and a chainsaw and told her to go to it. Later, he had her light the bag on fire, before posting photos of the spree on his website along with the gnomic slogan, “Destruction is a beautiful version of freedom . . .”
And the internet is a great way to find out people hate you. Reaction was swift and, for the most part, furious. “As someone who struggles paycheck to paycheck I find the audacity of people like this appalling,” wrote Rsetty among the 848 comments. “common guys these kids are jus BORED! i would get bored too if i had all that stuff handed to me all my life and done nothing to earn it,” added Stylevoci. And Ms. Eastwood received death threats via her facebook and twitter accounts. People just don’t understand art, she reportedly told friends.
But we’re with the haters (or, as one of Shields’ commenters puts it, “the hatters.”) Not that we want Ms. Eastwood to die, no no no, but think of what else two bored rich kids could have spent the $100,000 on:
1) An indie rock career. Abner and Harper Willis, the brothers behind the group Two Lights told Time magazine that they have spent $109,000 out of their own pockets to make it as an indie rock band in New York. So far they have the quirky name thing down pat.
2) A reproduction of C.M. Coolidge’s A Friend in Need (from the dogs playing poker series) made out of recycled items. Artist Amanda Sullivan of Boston constructed the piece out of old poker chips, Stella Artois bottles, and a few dollar bills. She’s listed it for $100,000.
3) A family home in Newfoundland. RE/MAX currently lists 38 Junction Road, a modest two-storey home with three bedrooms for $99,900. It even has hardwood floors
4) A 2012 Fisker Karma. Ellen DeGeneres was in a generous mood when she gifted Justin Bieber this $100,000 luxury electric car for his 18th birthday.
5) A 1983 Sea Shadow stealth ship. The United States government originally paid $195 million for this 164 behemoth and is now hawking it at auction. (Oh, wait, it sold. And for quite a bit more than perhaps even Shields and Eastwood would want to blow on it.)
Or perhaps Ms. Eastwood could just have told Shields to eff off. The idea of a grown, 19-year old woman (okay, almost grown) doing anything just because her boyfriend tells her to is a little pre-Gloria Steinem, don’t you think? After all, her first instinct was to clasp the bag to her midriff and cry, “Babe, that’s like, a nice bag!” Consumerist, yes. Pathetic, no.
And it’s not like Shields’ stunt was exactly avant garde — or even all that monumental. In 1994, artists Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond burned £1 million in £50 notes in a boathouse on a Scottish island for the film K Foundation Burn A Million Quid. (Ten years later, Drummond told the BBC he regretted the action. “It’s a hard one to explain to your kids and it doesn’t get any easier.”) Or, as the amazingly articulate “Guest” remarks on Shields’ website (articulate and able to spell): “This is about as daring as paint by numbers — it has been done, done, and done . . . yes, he can do whatever he wants with his money — just as the world is, thank god, free to respond with outrage at something that might be morally questionable in a time of true need for a great many people in this country.”
Look, who knows whether the bag really cost $100,000 or was a tacky knockoff purchased at a flea market? And, sure, declining the chainsaw would have upset the show’s carefully sculpted “reality,” and deprived it of a good publicity stunt, too. But seriously, Francesca: woman up. After all, this guy’s last muse was Lindsay Lohan. And you remember how she turned out, don’t you?