Tonawanda News

Opinion

May 19, 2013

Fitzgerald's 'Gatsby' a ceaseless classic

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — If you prefer, change the imagery to fit the Lehman Brothers narrative. It works just as well.

I was most interested in seeing the movie to determine what kind of “great” Gatsby was portrayed as. Was he great in the literal sense of the word? If that had been the case it would have been a real shame. 

Gatsby is great in many respects — a self-made millionaire whose outrageous ambitions are made real by his own sheer force of will. 

But the title is really sardonic. Gatsby is a vessel for ambition, a dream existing in a world where fake people don’t possess the ability to discern between the unlimited heights of a cloudless blue sky and solid ground. Gatsby lives in — he creates — a universe unto itself where the only sin is a life not lived sufficiently large.

Daisy is a clueless wanderer who, thanks to her millions, has never had to answer for actions. She and her husband Tom are, as the book’s narrator Nick adeptly points out, “careless people.” She’s Kim Kardashian minus the sex tape.

Even the erstwhile Nick, Gatsby’s neighbor of humble means has a modern day counterpart. Like the sheepish narrators that pass for a working press corps today, Nick sets out to objectively tell a story but quickly finds it’s more fun to be one of your own characters.

Luhrmann’s film isn’t this harsh on Fitzgerald’s characters. In truth, to call Gatsby and his band of brothers hedonists is only partly correct.

They are victims of their own cavalier caviar lifestyles. But intertwined in that morass of amoral indefatigable individuals is the story of American idealism. We value the pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps narrative perhaps more than any available to men. It is a mark of respectability when an American stands proudly atop the mountain he’s created out of meager molehills. 

Text Only
Opinion
  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Canal Fest, here we come This column should be titled "Roads and Streets." First of all, Meadow Drive is finally open. Although it took very long to be completed, it's beautiful. Riding by the other day brought into focus how many people will use this to cut across town. One less thing for residents to complain about.

    July 12, 2014

  • ADAMCZYK: Homesick for someplace I've never been You stumble over things that make you wonder. I do, at least, and the latest is one of those advertising artifacts from yesteryear that encourage me to ponder what's changed and what never will.

    July 11, 2014

  • WALLACE: Playing politics as usual The immigration crisis is just the most recent example of how dysfunctional Washington, D.C. is right now.

    July 10, 2014