Come on all my Gen X brothers and sisters. I can’t be the only one who sees it! Ok, let’s at least admit what part we played in it and point out to our parents how easy it is to get caught up in it. All the lectures, all the stares, and all the shakes of the head, I finally understand why, and I would like to start by explaining how and why it happened.
My generation grew up in a time that sold greed. Greed had become so accepted it was expected. From the time we were little, TV sold us on a lifestyle. Who doesn’t remember Robin Leach and the Life Styles of the Rich and Famous? That was the club we all wanted into. The show, like many others of the time, made it clear, the only way in, the only way to the perfect life, to all the things that would make you happy, came from one thing, lots of money. Money and fame gave us power and you saw it right in front of your eyes, all you had to do was get the money. Our competition in this contest was not our buddies, they were all in the same boat trying to compete. Instead we would have to compete against a stereotype, who looked at certain way, the GQ man. GQ men all were well dressed and always in designer clothes. He had to be tall, thin, handsome, wealthy, the playboy type. That’s what all the girls wanted, a GQ man with the money. Brainwashed by it all, we began our careers looking for any chance to be in the club.
It became obvious how we could get into the club; this crazy new financial market would be our ticket. Wall Street had all the mystic we wanted. We jumped in head first, eyes closed, dreaming of what was going to be. Mortgage loan officers at 23 making 400k a year, driving 100k cars, young kids playing stock brokers making millions and the whole time building nothing. It was all made from thin air, but what I didn’t see, was our parents, while proud of our immediate success; they didn’t quite understand it. It seemed too easy, too fast, how were we making that kind of money. The kind of money they had been working for their entire lives and in a flash, we ran right by them. Buying big houses, 2 carat engagement rings, luxury vacations, all the things that they couldn’t afford until much later in life, so they always wondered, what was really going on. Than it started to come out, fraud here, Ponzi scheme there, this one failed and that one failed, it just reinforced their belief, we never really earned it. I will finally say it, you were right, and we were wrong. I apologize for the arrogance we must have shown, the contempt, the greed, it really was too much. However, I would like to say, it is much easier to get caught up in it, than you might think.
My generation remembers Gordon Gecko and his young stud, Bud. Men of no real means, out to prove to all those rich boys that they belonged in the club. The scene in the locker room at the midtown racket club, men who used to look down on him now kissing his ass for tips, Gordon talking about sitting on boards and how prestigious it was. Yes, “Greed was good”. Everyone wanted to be just like Gordon. But before old Gordon another man had laid the ground work for us, he laid out a philosophy that we lived by without even realizing it. Joe Hunt started the infamous Billionaire Boys Club. The club everyone wanted to be part of. The paradox philosophy spills out and becomes our bible. To join the club, you must come from a wealthy family, and be a GQ man. These young men were going to prove to their fathers, they could make money and be powerful just as their parents had. The problem, they couldn’t, and neither could we. It was all show, back stories, justifying the unjustified, and pushing the limits always. Why because they wanted to be part of a club, their dad’s club. Titans of industry, leaders of their time. Here’s what I finally realized, no matter what we did or could do, we were never going to be part of their club. Not the BBC or their dad’s club. Money, fame, greed, could only go so far and never far enough. For Joe Hunt to fit in, he changed his name and created a back story, but he saw something new, everybody wanted to be in the Club. Social acceptance was a must. So, he lays out his paradox philosophy to the perspective members and they loved it. Thirty young men, all from wealthy and powerful families, accepted the philosophy and joined the exclusive club of Billionaire Boys.
The philosophy seemed brand new but had hints of situational ethics and stunk of Nietzsche. One member of the club, Raymond summed it up, “Survival is the key thing”. To survive you had to put things into perspective, each party of course had its own perspective, and that’s where you could manipulate it. Hunt would use murder as the classical paradox. Everyone when asked if you could kill someone would answer of course not. Than the paradox, but what if someone were going to kill someone you loved, say your mom, would you now kill. The answer of course, yes, the perspective changed and so did your answer. Hunt to prove his point would show a scene from his favorite movie, Rambo. The scene shows Rambo encountering a young boy, Rambo must decide in that minute do I kill the boy, so he cannot expose me, or do I do the right thing and let him go. Rambo lets him go and the boy brings all the men back to kill Rambo. Hunt simply laid out what everyone was already thinking, the boy should have been killed. Your survival is paramount certainly from your own perspective. Hunt created catch phrases like, “White is black and black is white”. Explaining that something can be good and bad or true and false at the same time, depending on the perspective. Just rearrange how you perceive the situation, and all can be turned upside down. What it came down to the end justified the means. Hunt created a language to go with the philosophy using words like “shadings”, “normless”, “cells”, etc. Shadings is the one that jumps out at me. This was someone who had perfected the philosophy, someone who could turn any situation into something else. Someone so gifted could spin a bad thing into a great thing. A positive out of a negative. A BBC member Dicker once explained this, “A shading is someone fully guided by paradox philosophy, which means you throw off all constraints society might have placed on you and rules that may not be applicable to you but still blindly applied”. That would be the guiding principal the club would follow. Everyone knows the ending of this story, Joe Hunt murders someone and ends up being sentenced to life in jail.
Gen Xers I wonder if you see it yet.
Now I don’t know which came first the chicken or the egg but what I do know is one is in jail and the other in the White House. Does anyone now see the similarities between Donald Trump and Joe Hunt? I’m not sure which came first, if Joe Hunt is the shadings expert and taught Trump or if Trump is the shadings expert who taught Joe Hunt. I know both men were in Los Angeles around the same time. Hunt lived on Wilshire Blvd in a swanky condo, while Trump was trying to buy property on Wilshire Blvd. The Ambassador Hotel would have been a wonderful place to bump into each other. Hunt may have even pitched Trump on the idea, or maybe Hunt’s partner Karny introduced them. After all, Karny’s father was a well-known developer in Los Angeles. Or if neither had ever met and just picked up the same philosophy at the same time. Either way Trump follows the paradox philosophy. Here’s the difference between Hunt and Trump, it doesn’t matter how the story starts, the difference is how it ends. Hunt ended in jail as a criminal, Trump in the White House as the most powerful man in the world.
If I’m right, this may go down as the greatest con ever. Donald Trump had spent years cultivating the image, the image of a successfully and powerful man. A winner who does what he wants, takes what he wants, and never apologizes for anything. A JR Ewing type if you will. He would be hated by many but loved by more. Why because deep down inside, we all wanted to be part of his club and he knew it. The country stunk of greed and he opened the door to let you peak inside and then offered to let you in. Just look at his real-estate advertisements, Trump uses the word Club repeatedly. Often talking about his golf clubs, and as recent as 2016 Trump bought The Billionaires Boys Club. Yes, the clothing brand of Pharrell Williams is called the Billionaire Boys Club. His administration is loaded with men from the Billionaire Boys Club, all wealthy executives. Why wouldn’t it be, that’s the club everyone wants to be in. They know best, look how much they’ve made, how successful they are. There is article after article written about “Donald Trump won’t stop yapping about his billionaire boys club”. He’s fixated on it and making sure everyone knows it. Of course, that’s who he is going to hire in his cabinet Billionaires because they are already members of the club.
At rallies he boasts about how wealthy he is, how great his life is. Than he throws a catch line out there, he will talk about all the yachts they own, how smart they are, that they figured it out while the rest of them are still trying, and for those who preached against it, they are the crooks, they want it all for themselves, all the politicians are the same, they lie to you to get what they want but never let you into the club, you don’t belong to their club. The elites, globalist, they just want to keep you out of the club. They make sure they get it and you can’t. A line from Devil Wears Prada comes to mine, at the end of the story Andy is riding with Miranda and doesn’t understand how she could have been so cruel, that she wasn’t like that, and maybe she doesn’t want to live her life that way, and Miranda says it all, “Don’t be ridiculous Andrea, everyone wants to be us”. If you vote for me as your president, you too can be one of us.
Here’s why the access Hollywood tape didn’t hurt him. Locker room talk. We all thought he was talking about crude sex talk, but he wasn’t. This is what kind of talk he was alluding to, god damn I want to be just like that guy. He’s got it all. He’s so famous and so powerful he can just grab pussies. If he didn’t set up the release of the tape, if fell right into his lap. The media jumped on it and the free branding exposure was to die for. You were making his case for him absolutely for free. Remember the club, everyone wants to be in my club. They can do anything they want and get away with it. The lifestyles of the rich and famous. The media, oh so smart, Trump must have been thinking, they played right into Trump’s hands.
Joe Hunt conned 30 wealthy young men into joining a club, Donald Trump pulled off the greatest con ever, he conned an entire country. Almost SIXTY-THREE MILLION American’s wanted in the club and voted for their membership. Voted for an illusion of grandeur, maybe just maybe, Trump could fix it, maybe we all could be a part of that club. Here’s what I’ve learned along the way, you and I will never be part of that club, just like Joe Hunt and Donald Trump will never be part of their club.
Craig S. Gilbert Jr.
A Gen X Member