Monday, May 8, 2017

Todd Solondz, Billy McFarland went to same prep school

Here's a bit of trivia. Director Todd Solondz went to the same prep school as Billy McFarland. McFarland, of course, was the rich idiot behind the Fyre music festival disaster/fraud.

Solondz talked about Pingry prep school on Marc Maron's WTF podcast.

He talks a little about what it was like. It was full of rich kids but really wasn't very good:
SOLONDZ: "...Mine was not a boarding school but it was based on that template, let's say, of that structure of the English kind of tradition, and when I first went there my first three years it was boys only and then it went co-ed for high school while I was there. And it was--there were a couple other Jews in the school, but they were Jews who went to country clubs and I never---they played tennis and there was like in that Garden of the Finzi Continis sort of--kind of Jew."

MARON: "Upper-middle-class country club Jews."

"Yeah, which I hadn't been exposed to and from my family when I applied and was accepted to the school was a very big deal and--because my family on the one hand was very--always very Zionist, always very pro-Israel, very---the Holocaust was an omnipresent factor. My Mom came during the war to this country. And so it was very much shaped with the sense of the Holocaust preceding my exsistence."
"--they also had a certain kind of assimilationist impulse that--the idea of--not consciously but on some level wanted to de-Judify, to be able to associate and climb the social ladder...if not to pass to certainly socialize in the upper tiers of society..."

"WASP culture..."

"Yeah, and so to be accepted in that kind of a school was a big deal for them. But it was inevitable that I would have a rough time, not because I was Jewish, but I was definitely artistically inclined kind of kid. I had been writing really ever since I was reading---I had worked on a kind of novel for three elementary school, and so I was very--that kind of kid that would never be accepted socially a place like Pingry."

"Were you bullied?"

"By certain kids, yes. I always had--fortunately was fast so I never actually got beaten up, but certainly I was bullied. It was not a good school and one of the--what was not good and the message I got from it, and I felt very passionate about this, was that was my older siblings went to public school--by the time I came along, my parents could afford to send me to private school and they thought I was special, let's say, and---and what I came away with and what I felt when I was there that this school was not a good school. The distinction between this school and public school was just income, that the children came from very wealthy families, whereas in public schools they uniformly did not."

"It also facilitates a certain class structure and enables richer kids to get into certain schools and it probably helped them along those lines."

"Yeah, of course. So I didn't want---I never wanted---I remember making this fatal mistake early on when I first went to this school and they asked, Does anyone play a musical instrument, I raised my hand. And I learned that was the worst thing to do was to confess that you played the piano because that was of course total sissy fag and so forth, was kind of thing...." 
So, there it is. Solondz went on to attend Yale---McFarland went to some private university and dropped out the first year. Solondz attended prep school and was surprised at how mediocre it was; McFarland thought that it alone made him extra special, that it was all the education he'd ever need.

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