Party at a Rich Dude’s House or, #OCCUPYRICHDUDESHOUSE [Animal]
Schiff, 46, is facing another kind of jam this year: Paid a lower bonus, he said the $350,000 he earns, enough to put him in the country’s top 1 percent by income, doesn’t cover his family’s private-school tuition, a Kent, Connecticut, summer rental and the upgrade they would like from their 1,200-square- foot Brooklyn duplex.
“I feel stuck,” Schiff said. “The New York that I wanted to have is still just beyond my reach.”
“People who don’t have money don’t understand the stress,” said Alan Dlugash, a partner at accounting firm Marks Paneth & Shron LLP in New York who specializes in financial planning for the wealthy. “Could you imagine what it’s like to say I got three kids in private school, I have to think about pulling them out? How do you do that?”
Max Abelson for Bloomberg: Wall Street Bonus Withdrawal Means Trading Aspen for Coupons
It seems to me that the tactic of an occupation has two main goals, neither of which the Zuccotti Park encampment is achieving. The first would be some sort of sabotage or interference that halts business as usual. When you hear “occupy Wall Street,” you don’t think Soviet tanks rolling into Prague, but there’s a suggestion of interruption. We want to occupy Wall Street because we want to make them stop what they’re doing. Camping in a park outside their office isn’t how you make them stop, it’s how you ask them to prom if you’re creepy about it*. It’s not like we’re even costing any CEO his beauty sleep “HeyHeyLBJ”-style. They all go home at night. When you walk to the encampment, it’s hard to realize anything’s happening until you get up and inside. It is painfully clear that the people who work there could not give a fuck. Wall Street’s crisis-business goes on as usual, under “occupation” or not.
The second function of an occupation would be a kind of collective enjoyment or gain at your enemy’s expense. His stuff becomes your stuff, which you get to play with and put to use.
Malcolm Harris for Jacobin: Occupied Wall Street: Some Tactical Thoughts
Cause we’re young
And we’re broke
And I can’t
Find my coat
Ke$ha for Ke$ha: Party at a Rich Dude’s House
$he’s probably never been as poor as the street urchin she presents – even as a broke girl in LA, she had a GED and industry connections and the same opportunities as every other straight, cis white girl. By all (of her) accounts, she was surviving off a small pile of pennies at the time, and by all (of her songs’) accounts, she never complained. Choices are choices; you gamble, and sometimes you become a pop megastar.
But, “Party at a Rich Dude’s House”, man. The character of Ke$ha, the one portrayed in her tracklists, will probably remain broke for albums to come (she certainly is in “We R Who We R”), and this isn’t a crime; if Sly Stone and can write “Life of Fortune and Fame”, if Jarvis can write “Common People” a year after his first gold record, if Bruce can write “Atlantic City”, then surely we’ve gotten used to rich songwriters playing poors. Often times, they have experience. There is a possibility that this party in question is based in truth, seeing as the “threw up in the closet” line is non-fictional. “Party at Paris Hilton’s House” would’ve missed the point, though, and that point is FUCK THE RICH (if you’re poor). Jonathan Bradley included “TiK ToK” in his list of protest songs for Occupy Wall Street; the argument can be made that most or all of her debauched dance songs have more than an element of class protest to them, but “Party” is the one that actually has violent and destructive assembly as its backbone.
In it, Ke$ha rallies any of the desperate impoverished willing to listen into hijacking a limo to the rich dude’s house and “fight[ing] til we do it right.” I don’t know what “it” is, or if it’s really anything, but I’d rather spend my time recognizing “fight” as the most important word in this song. She puts out her cigar in the caviar (Ke$ha! Where did you even get a cigar!), she pukes in the closet (Ke$ha! How did you aim so well!) and she pisses in the Dom Perignon (Ke$ha! What are you doing! You’re supposed to drink alcohol! You like drinking alcohol, remember! Not peeing in it! Geez!). These were, presumably, performed while drunk, but you get the sense that it was all planned sober.
The big deal here is that the excitement of the chorus – Whoooooooaaaaa there’s a party at a rich dude’s house!!!!!! – is at no point inspired by a desire to win some of that Dom Perignon trickling down the teat of the wealthy. The free alcohol is certainly an attractive point, but when you only want to get drunk and puke strategically, the price tag on the bottle doesn’t so much matter. This is one of the happiest and most relieved songs I’ve heard in years, and it’s because Ke$ha is Just. That. Excited. about the prospect of destroying a rich person’s property. This is protest. This is not the kind of protest that anyone else would find useful – cue every single soundbite of every talking head that complained about Occupy’s lack of a “message,” ignoring the fact that occupation itself is a message and if you can’t interpret it, fuck off anyway. “Party” is protest because it’s about relieving oneself (pun intended) via responding violently to a system that is violent, daily, to the poor, and forcing it to actually witness the existence of the bodies of the unwealthy as they destroy its shit. If we’re being dramatic. This is about being violent and – as is the only possibility in Ke$ha’s universe – using weaponized partying to achieve her goals (it’s not “Fight For Your Right to Party”, it’s “Party for Your Right to Fight”). She doesn’t need to think that her actions will actually create any systemic changes; they obviously won’t. But the act of getting relief and release and a great fucking story at the expense of one’s oppressor is, in my estimation, much more than what’s needed to consider one a political dissident.
J.Bogs brings up the fact that we never learn a thing about the rich dude outside of his wealth and presents this as a negative (“Which I’m all for, don’t get me wrong! but she encourages this view by giving us no information at all about the rich dude. He’s rich, and that’s enough of a reason”). I’ve got no problem with any part of that, but your mileage may vary. The thing is, she and her squad hypothetically fuck up very little – no arson or attempted murder or kidnapping, just some ruined alcohol and furniture. By all means, the rich people on the guest list (I like to imagine they’re all near-dead and still trying to recreate the parties of Jay Gatsby) probably just see these random brats fucking things up and being way too loud and probably skateboarding as a nuisance rather than a threat. A major factor here is the detachment of the classes: how, as Mr. Schiff demonstrates above, the wealthy can go their entire lives without looking poverty in the eyes. But the key to this song’s glee isn’t how the street rats are received, it’s how they spend a night creating their own success by literally stealing it from the successful. Also, it’s fiction: I can spend a lot of time waxing about the fantasy element and how the development of Ke$ha’s character (or any pop character) was/is a defense mechanism, but I’ll spare you.
I do have to mention, though, that “Party” is one of the most beautiful-sounding songs on Animal. Benny Blanco and Shellback (the two little projects, remember) take sole credit for it and use their one opportunity to show off just how ebulliently alive they can be. They take Dr. Luke’s signature pop/rock hybridism and actually make it sound youthful, something he’s never fully achieved. This is the perfect rock-instruments-in-a-pop-song sound, crisp and searing, just loud and sharp enough to give an endorphin rush; like a good rock song except it fills your ears with diamonds. This song is the reason you shouldn’t be scared by K$’s threats to Go Rock on her next album – as long as they keep the guitars set to The Veronicas rather than Rebirth, everything’s gonna be fine.
PS: 1:01 to 1:06 is the greatest five seconds on the album.