The whole thing, from the festival itself to the documentaries, is incredibly fascinating. Just another example of the plague that is social media. In years to come, I expect we will only see more stories of this level of social media marketing manipulation. It's scary.
I'm not an advocate for Social Media. But i do not see Fyre Festival as a product of Social Media. Social Media was a tool that Fyre Frestival used very effectively. But if Instagram or whatever didn't exist i guarantee you Billy would have been running some other high risk fraudulent venture. It's who he is. Instead of social media as the tool, it may have been tv or radio. Heck, what about all the railway scams that existed back when we had only newspapers. Conmen will always find a way.
During the south sea bubble vendors sold shares in the streets.
The first guy would be a perfect fit for GoFundMe.
FuckJerry deserves all the backlash they get and probably more but we can't let them overshadow the type of culture that has allowed someone like Billy to be doing this for so long.
This, I think, is where the fallacy of the gig economy comes from. As an example Uber should not be held not-at-fault if one of their drivers breaks the law, the standard needs to be the same as if a UPS driver did the same thing.
Noone can throw the first stone here.
Having the scumbags who were responsible for producing the festival involved in producing the documentary can lead to a MASSIVE conflict of interest and screams of bias in the narrative.
This is a false equivalency. One is good jurnos doing bad things to tell the story. The other could be bad jurnos doing a bad thing to spin a story.
They promoted the thing and it could be argued hold some responsibility for the failure.
I tried looking up the girl in the tweet to see if even that part was real and the username (https://twitter.com/dontcallortext_) doesn't exist, nor does searching "Simone Axing". So I'm guessing the entire tweet was manufactured for marketing purposes.
I guess fake tweets interspliced within other stolen content is modern marketing 101.
No, it's false advertising and misleading business practices, if not plainly illegal. The regulations just haven't caught up to this because politicians are terrible at understanding how this works and the public doesnt care.
Yes. See the news about Burning Man and the Humana Camp. Mobile right now can't grab the links easily but I will try to come back with them.
And indeed some of the awful screw ups that Churchill made at the start of WW2 (which bizarrely led to him being made PM) have been mostly removed from history - the Narvik campaign in particular.
Maybe it comes down to how much influence you think social media has, in this incident and in general? I liked the Hulu doc, but found its focus and commentary on social media influencers (including the criticism of FuckJerry) as not being interesting enough to merit the time and weight it was given. Yes, it's inarguable that Fyre seems to have gotten a lot of Instagram views. But how much effect did that have on McFarland's ability to basically run a Ponzi scheme? My impression was that McFarland had already talked himself into Manhattan financial circles, and the firms who invested millions in Fyre/Fyre Festival were fools, but not necessarily the kind swayed by social media hype (i.e. similar to the backers of Theranos).
Undoubtedly, rich kids use and are influenced by social media. But McFarland already seemed to have enough of a network (he and Ja Rule had collaborated well before FuckJerry got involved) to convince enough rich kids to pay for tickets. To be fair, though, I don't use Instagram for anything except to check up on friends, so I'm admittedly ignorant about how influential Instagrammers can be. But Fyre seemed to be very much the result of McFarland's ambition and lack of morals, and his ability to convince naive people to work towards his goals against all logical odds. FuckJerry's support felt mostly tangential.
It's in the documentary-
According to the Hulu documentary, FuckJerry was aware of the problems in the festival’s production, but proceeded full steam ahead anyway.
"How does their role make them significantly more complicit in the fraud than the photographer, who got paid for the viral glamorous Fyre ad he shot, and who ended up as a producer for Hulu's doc?"
Why do you think the photographer knew anything before arriving at the festival? The ad was probably shot very early.
fuckjerry was involved in marketing the failed festival, then also involved in creating an "objective" documentary on the whole fiasco
obviously they have large incentives to cover up the extent of their knowledge and involvement in the scam
we will probably never know how much the fuckjerry founder/team knew about the extent of the fraud
the author is simply saying the documentary they produced is not an objective telling of the truth and is probably influenced by fuckjerry trying to manage optics after a large account it was profiting from went south
a lot of people didnt know that (myself included) and its good to know who is paying for things and why - transparency
VW was fraud because they were promising emissions levels that were not accurate and they knew the numbers were lies. VW plead guilty to criminal charges, had executives evicted from the company, and was hit with massive fines in response.
If FuckJerry knew that the things they were promising in their marketing were not accurate, they should be hit with fines as well and corporate criminal charges. These sorts of acts of fraud would never be allowed on TV or other advertising media. For some reason we give companies on social media a pass. Fraud and other financial crimes that happen on social media by businesses should be punished like they are on other media.
Even if they didn't know that McFarland was acting fraudulently, which I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, what they did was fraudulent and illegal on its own.
In this category for example:
- Supersize me
- Pretty much every Michael Moore movie
It's an interesting example of genuinely truthful documentarionism.
But the problem is once you edit, you unavoidably set a narrative by that process. Charlie Brooker (now most noted for "Black Mirror") years ago did a show "Screenwipe" which was a mixture of review show and factual pieces about how TV is made. One of the examples he shows is they got a bunch of people and shot "livestream footage" of them interacting, and then they took that one set of footage and re-edited it to produce different narratives. All the narratives seem like coherent understandings of things that actually happened - there is video footage after all, but all of the narratives are contrived in the edit suite and don't reflect reality. That's how "Reality Television" is made and it would apply to documentary footage - if it's edited, which it will be unless you're making slow TV (e.g. 4 hours of a man painting a wall or a woman knitting a scarf).
The vibe you're talking about, in which an interview subject believes they were truthfully represented but an audience is horrified, is basically the MO of another UK TV presenter, Louis Theroux. But Theroux would never pretend the edit suite doesn't give him the power to choose a narrative.
Feels like in some ways that documentaries are increasingly reflective of the division in society. There are documentaries on topics I agree with that I find absurd simply because they misrepresent the 'opposing' side to be a mixture of radicals, idiots, and the misinformed. The notion of mutually respected disagreement seems to be increasingly absent in society.
Though even in things like Jesus Camp it falls into another fallacy. One group of outliers is implicitly taken to be representative of a larger group of individuals. My 'Jesus Camp' mostly involved messing with people while they were sleeping - dipping their hands in warm water, shaving cream on the hand then feather on the nose, etc. There were some sermons at the 'Tabernacle' and confession type stuff, but I have nothing but positive memories of it - even though I'm far from religious now a days.
I don't believe that there are many people that would make particularly good judges of accuracy in their representation, and there are many divisive issues that just naturally make one side come out worse when the arguments are organized and laid out side by side.
Instead, I find the opposite problem concerning: when flawed and obviously fallacious arguments are sugar coated and presented as legitimate alternatives to arguments that make sense, or when facts and falsehoods are presented as though they are both a matter of opinion and debate. This may be done in an attempt to appease to either side of an issue but IMO only serves to further the division.
When I'm pro-skub and you're anti-skub, and skub has been proven to be harmful and the supposed benefits of skub have been proven to be hogwash, telling us that the facts are a matter of perspective and that both our opinions are valid is only going to further any division there might be between us. On your end because you understand it as a fact and not as an opinion, and on my end because now I simply think it's a matter of opinion and that my opinion is at least as valid as yours.
> Though even in things like Jesus Camp it falls into another fallacy. One group of outliers is implicitly taken to be representative of a larger group of individuals.
IMO the film was very clear about what it intended to depict. It focuses on a specific summer camp during one summer, events surrounding it and even more specifically on a few kids involved in it. That you take it to be representative of a larger group of individuals than those depicted in the film is not something I would blame the filmmakers for, but on the other hand perhaps a mistake that a lot of people would make easily.
In general people simply castigate anti-vax as completely misinformed people who know absolutely nothing. This  is a rather monumental report from the National Academy of Sciences that took an extremely in depth look at this topic. In that 866 page report they analyze the data on correlations between vaccines and all sorts of nasty things. And one phrase you might find worth ctrl+fing is "The evidence is inadequate to accept or reject a causal relationship between". You'll find it repeated constantly throughout the report as the academy researchers come to their conclusion on the validity (or lack thereof) of a causal link between vaccines and all sorts of nasty stuff. And for many of these nasty correlations while the evidence is insufficient claim a causal link, it's also insufficient to reject it.
Of course this does not justify turning against vaccinations. Even if there is a causal link found between vaccines and some of these various issues, the possibility of significant numbers of people choosing to not vaccinate would be catastrophic. For instance we're right now on the cusp of completely eliminating polio, much as we did smallpox. In fact you are currently more likely to get polio from a vaccine than in the wild. And some people might use that as a reason to stop vaccinating. But if they did, that would rapidly change. The one and only thing that's bringing us to where we are is people choosing to vaccinate. So it comes down to a matter of social responsibility. Vaccines are not without risk but whatever risk there is greatly outweighed by the collective benefits.
So should you vaccinate? Absolutely. Yet I don't think any anti-vaxer would feel slighted by such comments. And I think you can provide a similarly fair treatment to most of all controversial issues today. The reason one side or another tends to think the other side is completely idiotic tends to get back to our divisions in society. People attribute disagreement on issues to stupidity or lack of knowledge without bothering to see why people feel the way they do.
 - http://nationalacademies.org/HMD/Reports/2011/Adverse-Effect...
Dutch angles were used extensively in the satirical 1960s Batman TV series (and its 1966 film spin-off) in which each villain had his or her own angle, as they were "crooked".
Having a narrative is not the same as reworking footage to tell a story you had in mind before doing any actual research.
If you really care about what happened at X, you have to read/watch/listen to multiple sources and synthesize. No one will do that for you without injecting their own conclusion.
fwiw, watching 2 documentaries and reading a HN thread is already more research than I ever expected to do on a failed festival.
I guess you could argue it is really commentary more than documentary.
Both are journalists, just different types.
"Man saves kitten from housefire" is different once you throw in "that he lit."
One movie I saw of his was intentionally misleading to a high degree in my opinion so I don't watch any others from him. To me, a point of view is to do with your subjective thoughts and value judgements. This should never involve twisting, hiding or being selective about objective facts.
You cannot avoid that, as subjective point of view cannot avoid impacting perception of the relevance and importance of objective facts (which directly effects selection and the perception of “hiding”), and also what the important relations between those facts are, which affects organization and thereby the perception of “twisting”.
Even though it's hard to 100% avoid bias, you shouldn't lump all attempts at telling a point of view as being equal. There's clearly a spectrum with the far end being propaganda and intellectual dishonesty.
I value the opinions of people who can objectively present both sides as well as they are capable of and who separate out which parts are subjective and their opinion. If someone shows the facts that go against their point of view, that makes them more credible to me.
Yes, avoiding all bias is close to impossible but that doesn't mean all people are worth listening to or can be trusted equally.
It's not hard, it's impossible.
> you shouldn't lump all attempts at telling a point of view as being equal. There's clearly a spectrum with the far end being propaganda and intellectual dishonesty.
Attempting to tell a point of view is propaganda, whether or not it is dishonesty.
> I value the opinions of people who can objectively present both sides
What “both sides”? There's one set of facts, and often as many set of viewpoints as observers, even if there are two dominant clusters in public debate.
> If someone shows the facts that go against their point of view, that makes them more credible to me.
Yes, that's a common perceptual bias that skilled propagandists exploit.
There's been a few times I've just stopped watching some newer documentaries and just read a bunch of articles and information about the topic it was covering. I figure I probably learned more and got a more well rounded view in the same amount of time doing it that way.
Are you sure you weren't being misled by the stylistic choices of those documentaries into assuming they hadn't made decisions about the narrative they wanted to present?
I don't remember if there was narration or not, but 'Word Wars', about competitive Scrabble, doesn't take a side (there's no side to take, really). It simply shows the competitors and the kind of zany world they live in.
So the type of documentary that doesn't have a narrative is the type of documentary that simply reflects the truth (as I see it.)
Obviously you can't have for example a Civil War documentary that is the raw truth of each person involved told in realtime. It would be 11 billion years long.
I don't see how any documentary can match your standard.
What you're asking for is an omniscient live-stream of events. Any even where someone felt it was worth making a documentary about will be one where there's a narrative. Can you provide an example of a narrative free documentary?
Edit: Why would anyone downvote this?
The term documentary covers (imho) a continuum, from academic style nonfiction on one end to a gray area between infotainment and fiction on the other.
Although I would argue that Michael Moore movies are indeed great documentary on some aspect of American culture for a foreigner point of view.
The Fyre festival one looks much more like a documentary, perhaps with an agenda but it looks like it is re-tracing the steps while showing a shit ton of footage. So I'm still on the fence.
All Michael Moore movies and Supersize Me are considered documentaries, categorized as such, labeled as such in screenings, participate in the documentary festival circuit, and so on. Moore even won an Oscar for "Documentary Feature". His wikipedia page reads "Michael Francis Moore is an American documentary filmmaker".
"Supersize Me" genre in IMBD is "Documentary". It was also a nominee for "Best Documentary" in the Oscars. Netflix marks it a documentary.
So, "if you're not sure where this [calling Moore's movies and Supersize Me documentaries] comes from", I can't even begin to understand where this doubt comes from. It's like a question from a parallel universe where those are not casually considered documentaries...
The "Super Size Me" WikiPedia even begins "Super Size Me is a 2004 American documentary film". The entries for Moore's films in Wikipedia begin similarly.
Not the OP, but it seems like the same type of thing that disqualifies an article from being a news report (and places it in the category of persuasive opinion piece).
It's not supposed to be some "objective" filming of a real situation or a retelling of a story either. Some documentaries strive to that, others are whimsical, personal, subjective, surreal, and so on. Some include fiction, others create the situations they cover (and not just report on them). Modern documentary creators and festivals have embraced all kinds of narrative styles, from verite to mocumentary, and from first person narrative to surreal story fragments.
Documentary is more of an umbrella category with a very rich variety than a specific "verite" style genre or the typical "WWII/nature" stuff.
(I've worked on a few and studied the field)
I would say that + focus on emotions vs facts.
The key things I see for being an infotainment:
- A predefined narrative that sometimes disregards facts (or more precisely nitpicks facts to fit the narrative)
- Focusing on extreme emotions and entertainment with shock pictures and statements.
Simply said, look at actual documentaries of historical events or on some scientific//geographical//political topics. The difference is huge.
Where documentary that honestly approach's its subject with some sense of objectivity, and pure salesmanship starts and ends is an interesting question.
I always assumed documentations sometimes have a point of view, I mean we all do. But there are some that straight up are on a fundamental level, BS, straight advertising.
McFarland has been conclusively shown to be a con-man (eg. spammed the Fyre attendee email list selling tickets to nonexistent celebrity meet-and-greets while he was out on bail). We should take narratives that benefit him at the expense of people he lied to with a big lump of salt, given his ability to manipulate.
The logical solution isn't to just sit on these two things and write the whole project off as a loss, it would be to try and make at least some revenue off of the whole thing. I think any business in their position would have done the same.
Are you asking if ANY company would have done the same, or if EVERY company would do the same?
If it's the latter, there are many marketing agencies out there that want to market products that actually exist, and understand that marketing a scam is a potential PR nightmare, in addition to being unethical. Such companies will cancel a contract as soon as it becomes clear that the product cannot be delivered as advertised.
FuckJerry, on the other hand, had far more insider knowledge as well as the financial freedom to walk away from the project. They did not.
I think the only group that could be considered "true believers" like you describe are the Fyre employees.
If HBO came out with one 3 months from now, who would care? The news cycle would have moved on.
But overall I don't think it's a huge deal.
One of the thing that screamed out to me was how collectively lacking the entire organization was in business experience. Everyone was so young and only knew one or two jobs before this one - of course they would blindly follow. This is where people with a few more failures under their belt should have been able to stomp the breaks a lot sooner.
I can't think of many better reasons to leave a company, especially when you include their doubts about the festival.
In sum; I might not get paid, I'm getting paid sketchily in all cash, and I think my company/CEO is failing.
Uuuh, how about paying the poor workers who were scammed out of their time and labor but didn't deserve it, before paying the rich lazy assholes who got what they deserved for being so shallow and gullible?
And I highly recommend rest of their episodes too!
http://swindledpodcast.com/ - A true crime podcast about white-collar criminals, con artists, and corporate evil.
The festival seemed like it was a tragic project run spectacularly into the ground by a sociopath with serious psychological issues. I mean, if it were "a scam" there would have been a "take-the-money-and-run" attempt. A scam is an intentional deception in order to gain profit at someone else's expense-- this wasn't that.
Instead, things just crashed horribly around him, a lot of people got stiffed, the concert goers ended up at an expensive vacation from hell but the promoters didn't make money (though they did get some beach time with super-models before the horrific project-death-march started).
Even in the Netflix doc, it was shown that the founder, Billy McFarland, was raising festival funding under falsified information. The fact that he went on to scam the Fyre account list with fake tickets later just shows that he was scamming from the start.
Bernie Madoff : First Degree Murder :: Billy McFarland : Negligent Homicide
I can agree that they were greedy and criminally delusional, but I can also believe they really did believe they could deliver the event.
If it was just an elaborate get-rich scam from the get-go, they’d have wasted far less money trying to produce the event.
There is probably some point, a kind of mental Rubicon, where, once crossed, they feel that there are only 2 possible outcomes - either prison or triumphal success and they just double down...
Did anyone notice how dilated his pupils were in the Hulu documentary? Eerie...
I picked the Hulu documentary because I felt in my gut that it would be more trustworthy. Looks like I was right.
We know how to drag things along
they get to make their own meta-memes about it too!
every startup spending two hour meetings on a hashtag that nobody will use needs to learn from this instruction manual.