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Privileged little shit

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This post was written by the All Men Are Liars intern Marlo Begsley*.

Confession: I'm a privileged little shit; I'm the kid you see driving around Mosman in a BMW, the kid you judge for being incredibly spoilt, for not appreciating his yearly trips to Aspen or Vail.

I caught cabs to school because I hate the bus. I'm pasty white because I haven't spent a summer in Sydney in the past decade, instead skiing in North America.

Some say I'm spoilt but, like everything in life, it's relative. When your parents make seven figures a year, $20 a day for lunch doesn't seem like an unreasonable expense.

If those first few sentences pissed you off, don't worry: I get it a lot.

This is because as a society we judge people, sometimes unfairly, by their wealth. We make snap verdicts based on bank accounts, trust funds and share portfolios or, indeed, the lack thereof.

Australians are placing an increasing importance on private schools, exclusive suburbs and money; they want it for themselves and their children, yet they judge others - like me - for our parents' success.

Is it a jealousy thing? I'd love to know. Or does society believe I am wasting the opportunities given to me?

I don't believe that I am.

On my first day of uni I decided I wouldn't tell people what school I went to, or what suburb I'm from, out of fear of being judged. I'm by no means ashamed of my parents' hard work and luck, but I was not prepared to deal with the inevitable assumptions about who I am and what I believe in.

However, after about 30 seconds I thought: "F--- it, we all get judged for something. Who gives a shit if they're going to criticise me for my family's assumed wealth?"

I am proud of what my parents have achieved and the phenomenal experiences this success has afforded me. I am completely aware of the privilege that I have come from, but then, so should you be.

Just by having access to a computer connected to the internet, you're part of the richest 30 per cent of humans on the planet.

That coffee you bought today means you're richer than 1.4 billion people who live off only $1.25 a day.

However, this post isn't about being privileged in relative terms; it's about being in that 1 per cent that has caused so much drama of late.

When I read that nightclub tsar and fellow one-percenter, Justin Hemmes, said he hates it that people think he hasn't worked hard to get where he is, because he comes from money, I was incredibly annoyed.

Anyone whose family is wealthy knows that it makes life easier. I wonder if he would have received that initial loan if not for his parents' millions.

This notion has often been reinforced to my peers and me. My school's chaplain told us never to be ashamed of our wealth, but that we have an obligation to give back in as many ways as possible, something I try to do.

However, though my peers were made aware of their privilege during our school years, rarely do I think they fully comprehended their 1 per cent status.

After speaking to a friend about this recently, we agreed that, at our age, you only realise how truly lucky you are if you have been through some sort of hardship. An Indian proverb illustrates this perfectly: "I had no shoes and complained, until I met a man who had no feet."

Your "hardship" puts things into perspective, and only then do you grasp how fortunate you are.

If your biggest worry for the day is what to eat, and not whether you can eat, then most of your days should be happy ones.

I constantly remind myself of this, of how infinitely lucky I am to be such a privileged little shit - even if it means someone judges me occasionally.

As my dad once said to me: "Privilege is a privilege, don't waste it."

To be perfectly honest, I have no idea how I'll not to waste it; I'm just adamant I won't. 

All I want to do is be a stay-at-home father who churns out a John Hughes-esque film script every couple of years that Hollywood buys for a cheeky five mil, but that's completely unrealistic.

I want my children to lead the life I have, to have the opportunities and experiences at 19 that most people don't get in a lifetime - and, to do that, I'll also probably have to acknowledge I'm never going to be John Hughes.

That sucks.

Being a privileged little shit, there is an unspoken pressure to succeed, to be the best, to do better than your parents and provide wondrously for one's family.

I'd love to do that as a script writer but, whatever happens, I know I will work hard.

Still, I'm only 19 and at uni; I do have a little bludging left to do.

*Marlo Begsley is a real person, 19 years old and studying communications at university. This is not his real name.

137 comments so far

  • You will be judged no matter what you do or how you act. And yes your 1% status will illicit plenty of envy and jealously. Hell even mentioning you go/went to uni can have a bunch of peolple get their back up.

    Still I don't get the point of the rest of your article. Are you trying to say look how much worse everyone else has it so stop picking on me or make a point about how everyone has to work hard regardless?

    Furthermore how would so many people at uni even know you came from wealth? Unless some stranger asks specifically and they know you well how could they possibly know how wealthy you or your family are?

    My opinion is that financial status is a personal thing as is spending. So fine if you don't want to be judged but you don't know others positions so have no right to judge them for buying a coffee in the mornings without thinking about the world's poor.

    Commenter
    Dale
    Date and time
    March 15, 2012, 5:01PM
    • The point the writer fails to get is not that he is judged for his (parents) wealth, he's a cock because of his smug superior attitude. You don't need money to have that, but it is certainly something that screams out in this article - Marlo loves the rich life and larding it over people despite it being the result of nothing more than the lucky sperm club.

      Commenter
      Rob
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 16, 2012, 8:11AM
    • Funny thing is, 99% of the people are likely extremely wealthy - the fact that they're living in Australia, a FIRST WORLD country, buying a daily coffee for the price of an entire week's food for a Third World peasant, spending more on their iPhones than most people around the world get for a year's salary, etc etc.

      The act of living in a First World country already makes one very, very wealthy.

      Commenter
      Bob
      Date and time
      March 16, 2012, 10:04AM
    • I agree Bob. If you live in Australia you are already rich - with some noteable excpetion. People who deride this guy for having wealthy parents are jealous and bitter as they have not had the same opportunites afforded to them. Most Aussies need a good dose of the 3rd world to appreciate how lucky they are. When old enough, my children are going to be shipped out to India, Africa etc to see how most of the people in the world live and that not having the latest Nintendo DS (just because their friends do) is not the end of the world.

      Commenter
      mighty deceaser
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 16, 2012, 10:58AM
    • "My opinion is that financial status is a personal thing as is spending."

      Well put. I find the whole thing a bit hilarious. I know some fantastic people who would earn a lot of dough(going simply by the work they do), that choose to live in very humble housing in out of the way suburbs, drive beaten up cars(or none!) etc. Just as I know some people who do not make much at all(really), but carry loans to drive fancy cars and rent in wealthy suburbs.
      My rich but live poor friends just prefer the neighbourhood. as to my poor but act rich friends prefer theirs.
      each to their own!!!! I do though believe in finding a happy equilibrium.
      In regard to school choice, I never get that either. I dont have kids, but I imagine I would simply try to send my kids to the same school as some of their best friends at pre school. Public/Private etc wouldn't matter.(Although if my kids was incredibly bright I would encourage them to try for selective schooling).
      funny this blogger regards himself as a privileged little shit. I kind of regard all of us still alive as being "privileged little shits!".

      Anyone who believes in privileged little shits just feels sorry for themselves. (IMO)

      Commenter
      Tom
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      March 16, 2012, 2:18PM
  • Oh kid you are about to get f---ed on for complaining about being a spoilt brat.

    LIke the article though.

    I didn't think he was complaining, merely writing about something that doesn't get written about too often. Remember, I suggested the toppic to him. - Sam

    Commenter
    homie
    Date and time
    March 15, 2012, 5:31PM
    • Ha setting him up for reality! Like your style.

      I like writers with balls and gall. This guy has them in spades.

      The article reminds me of that Strawb G Hetti guy who does his articles on index cards and hands them out at railway stations in Melbourne. That guys a genius.

      This kid is entertaining as well. Got to give him that despite the askew view.

      Commenter
      TheDrunkenTruth
      Date and time
      March 15, 2012, 5:51PM
    • I hope you didn't check his spelling Sam. ;)

      Commenter
      Adub
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      March 16, 2012, 1:57PM
  • Probably not a valid way to argue the "poor little rich boy" scenario!

    I hate to break it to you but you, and others lucky enough to be in your position, aren't the only ones who have the expectation of succeeding, being the best, doing better than ones parents and providing a good life for ones family. The wealth of a family has nothing to do with it. Of course the amount of wealth, like everything in life, is relative.

    You may have had privileges and experiences in life thanks to nothing more than your parent's success. No doubt you probably missed out on a lot of things that those born with only a plastic spoon in their mouth may have had the pleasure of experiencing. Who's better off? It may not have been Aspen and BMW's but I'm thinking that while you have had the material benefits others may not had it doesn't automatically translate to your experiences being any better or beneficial than anyone else's.

    What strikes me as odd is that you, probably through privilege, have an opportunity to intern with a writer and have an article published by one of two media outlets in Australia (Imagine how wealthy their Mums and Dads are! Poor little guys!), decided to complain about the pre conceptions and struggles being the son of people earning 7 figures?

    You're right! You are a privileged little s##t. You could add selfish and misguided as well. Good luck with the film thing!

    Commenter
    TheDrunkenTruth
    Date and time
    March 15, 2012, 5:40PM
    • Privilege is a euphemism, Marlo, and has long been understood to be. In our society wealth brings certain life-chances and possibilities that are denied to those who don't have it. These don't just include skiing, but access to good health care, food and the chance to lead a fulfilled life. I'm one of those that think that is inherently unfair, and inequitable, but it has to be said that it is a fundamental feature of our society. You'll excuse me if I don't feel sorry for your angst about being wealthy - I appreciate you writing about it and being willing to be open about your preoccupations, but to me it reads as fairly self-involved.

      Commenter
      Colin
      Location
      Korumburra
      Date and time
      March 15, 2012, 5:55PM

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