“It doesn’t matter about money; having it, not having it. Or having clothes, or not having them. You’re still left alone with yourself in the end,” as Billy Idol once said, probably through a perfectly cultivated sneer. Unfortunately, as profound as Idol’s quote is, for some people it’s simply not true. It does matter if you have money. And perhaps most crucially, it’s important to show everyone else what you’re doing with it.
Let’s face it, when the end finally does come, if you can’t afford to have your withered, cryogenically frozen body launched into space aboard a rocket crammed with the material possessions of your obscene wealth – while funereal confetti cannons shower mourners with singed and unusable £50 notes – what’s the point of your pitiful existence?
That’s obviously not my personal view. As I have no money, I’m firmly with Billy Idol on this one. In the event of my death and subsequent funeral, I wouldn’t have the remaining funds to do anything more showy than have a single cloudy eyeball sellotaped to a firework rocket and launched from a milk bottle. But for supposedly wealthy people like Instagram user ‘itslavishbitch’, who I happened upon this week, it seems that money and possessions are everything. And thanks to social media, he’s now able to keep the rest of us “peasants” (to use his delightfully arrogant term) constantly updated about just how wealthy he is.
Not much is known about ‘itslavishbitch’ except that he’s a 17-year-old called Param, who resides in San Francisco and appears to be a sort of Asian Montgomery Burns. The unsubstantiated rumour is that he’s the son of Shikha Sharma, CEO and Managing Director of Axis Bank, India’s third largest private bank. But there are also rumblings that he’s nothing but a fake (albeit one with access to a staggering array of expensive-looking props).
A little bit of research by Digital Trends revealed that his social media channels all appeared online between January and March this year, with his personal website (www.itslavishbitch.com – also created in March) being set up through ‘Domains By Proxy’ – a service that allows you set up websites while keeping all personal data out of the public domain. Whatever the truth – whether genuine multi-millionaire or mere troll – he’s a truly detestable character. But one, admittedly, who’s actually made me feel a lot better about not having two coins to rub together.
Because when you look through his Instagram account, you can’t help but love the Internet for giving him the digital tools to make himself look like a total prick. He revels in the trappings of his vast wealth, but does so alone. The things he holds most dear do nothing more than lie around his penthouse suite inanimately, occasionally glinting in the light when a three-tiered chandelier the size of a car ferry is switched on. Meanwhile Benjamin Franklin looks on, disapprovingly, from stacks of one hundred dollar bills strewn about the place. But if you allow yourself to see beyond the apparent wealth on display, it’s an Instagram account that practically howls with the cold wind of emptiness whenever you visit.
It also seems to confirm that excessive wealth detaches people from reality to such an extent that they’re forever engulfed in a fog of complete ridiculousness. In one photo, he’s shown pouring Bulgari-labelled San Pellegrino sparkling mineral water into a toilet (the only water he’ll shit into, presumably for the expensively fizzy splashback experience), while in another he’s shown tying a $2k wad of dollar bills to a bunch of helium balloons. There’s also a photo of him wearing two pairs of expensive jeans – one over the other – and another which shows him using yet another $2k wad of dollar bills like a mobile phone, with the caption “I be talkin moneyy” (sic). Going off the images alone, Param’s Instagram account often looks less like an elaborate trolling exercise and more like the heart-rending photo-journal of someone suffering from early onset dementia.
He also seems to have a love of expensive stationery. One photo shows his gold Cartier fountain pen, while another purports to show five gold-plated staple strips sitting in the palm of his hand at a cost of $175. I assume he uses them to staple cash to peasants’ faces whenever he’s in a generous mood, which is why I would never be tempted to enter one of his many cash giveaways.
Speaking of which, you can find details of these giveaways on his personal website. Not that you can actually read anything on there, as you’re constantly harassed by an aggressive pop-up that obscures half the screen and encourages you to download his grammatically incorrect book – Its Lavish B*tch – The Guide – which is billed as “a comprehensive young entrepreneur course”. (The true extent of his entrepreneurial experience is anybody’s guess. When the Huffington Post recently interviewed him and asked the question: “How do you have all of this cash?” he bluntly responded with: “It’s my parents’ money.” I doubt he’s generated a penny of the wealth he flaunts, which makes his self-help book something of a bizarre promotion.)
His YouTube channel also gives us a glimpse into his affluent world, with one video in particular serving up a brilliantly mundane moment. After being chauffeur-driven to his “crib” to the sound of ‘I Stunt’ by the aptly titled rap artist Philthy Rich, Param enters a mirrored lift, briefly gives the finger to camera and selects his required floor. “Elevatin to the laundry room hoe,” brags the Boyz ‘N The Hood-lite subtitle. Unfortunately, once he arrives at his floor the video abruptly ends. I was expecting the camera to be plunged into a laundry basket made of spun gold, containing thousands of dollars-worth of fresh clothes, with the subtitle: “Smellin like a motherfuckin summer meadow, bitches!”
If Param is the genuine article, then there’s never been a more stark reminder of the vulgarity of excessive wealth in the wrong hands. Alternatively, if he turns out to be nothing more than a troll – more desperate for attention than possibly any troll in history – then it’s a simple reminder that we live in an age that enables us to sell to the world whatever image we create for ourselves, however ridiculous, divisive and inflammatory. Nothing is ever quite as it seems in the bizarre online world that robs us of so many hours each day.
I’d re-invent myself as an arrogant millionaire, but my stationery’s just too cheap and ordinary. A miserable life of peasantry awaits.