[Wildcat Online: opinions] [ad info]





A part of the Legend


Arizona Daily Wildcat

By Zack Armstrong
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
October 12, 1999

Thanks to the weekend's proceedings in Las Vegas, if Elvis is alive, he must be laughing so hard that he's busting the seams on his velvet jumpsuit. If I'm having trouble fighting off the giggles, I can't imagine how "the King" would be feeling. It's funny what people will do with their money to hold on to the illusion of a more fulfilling life.

This weekend, Elvis Presley fanatics and impersonators, young and old, came together at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for an auction. Roughly 2,000 items that graced the hands or eyes of the King went up for bid bringing in thousands and thousands of dollars. All told, more than $5 million changed hands.

The kinds of things that are being sold run from the standard Rock 'n' Roll legend memorabilia such as clothes (well, studded jumpsuits), cars and musical instruments to the absolutely absurd. It would appear that anything that was even remotely in contact with "the King" was put on the auction block. This includes several pieces of paper.

Some of the paper I could excuse. They sold his first record contract and his Army draft card, but these two items alone brought in more than $90,000. That is just out of control. Who are the people putting the money down for this? Don't they have anything better to spend it on? These were considered high dollar items because they are seen as symbols of major turning points in his life. But still, $90,000? And they didn't stop there.

They went so far as to offer old receipts and hotel and room service bills that he signed. I don't know which is more insane - the fact that they put them on the block at all or the fact that people put their hard-earned money down to buy them. But I guess these can be viewed as major turning points, too. Items like these are evidence of what he was eating, the same things that so pleasantly plumped the man in his later years.

Who are these people? Spending that much money on trinkets should be grounds for a sanity test. People think that if they own a part of a legend, they are somehow connected to that legend. People unhappy with the routine and monotony of their lives spend their hard-earned dollars to buy a piece of what they think is better than themselves.

This is not healthy. If they're going to spend their money, they should spend it on something a little more constructive. Instead of spending $8,000 on the King's sixth grade report card (as one unfortunate soul did), they could buy $8,000 worth of books to learn from, or their very own guitar and some lessons. See what music can do to enrich your life from the performers perspective.

Proceeds for this rummage sale are, however, going to a good cause. They will go to the Presley Place, a shelter for the homeless in Memphis, Tenn. There has also been talk about using any money over the estimated return to establish a new Elvis museum at Graceland, which isn't quite as good of a cause as the first one. But, what can you do?

Now, don't get me wrong here. I like Elvis as much as every good American should; I mean the young Elvis of course. I'm pretty indifferent to the post-10,000-fried-peanut-butter-and -banana-sandwiches-Elvis.

I even want to see Graceland some time before I die (I have a reason to believe we all will be received there), but this extreme idolization is absurd. We have too much fascination with fame and those who have it in this country. These are just material objects and without sounding too much like a Buddhist, they are not going to make life more fulfilling. We put too much emphasis on material things.

There are people starving to death in the world, and then there are people who don't see anything wrong with forking out a few thousand dollars to get their hands on a piece of paper that Elvis touched. Enrich your mind instead of your net worth. There are better things to do with money than fill your life with junk and scraps of paper.

[end content]
[ad info]