Ethics Dunce: Francesca Eastwood

“Go ahead, make me ashamed I spawned you.”

Stipulated: you have every right in the world to dispose of of your personal belongings as you see fit.

Also stipulated: if you intentionally buy a steak dinner, eat half of it in front of a homeless woman and her infant, and feed what you didn’t finish to a stray dog as she looks on, salivating, you are a cruel, unsympathetic, sadistic creep.

With so many Americans  jobless or in financial distress, with charities short of funds and government social services facing budget cut-backs, to buy a $100,000 alligator handbag and then destroy it for “art”—-as Francesca Eastwood, Clint’s daughter, recently did—is hardly better than the steak dinner stunt. It’s even an insult to the alligator. Essentially this was an eloquent statement that Francesca would prefer to throw her money away than help people with it, people for whom a hundred grand is three years of family income.

That tells us all we need or want to know about Clint’s spoiled little girl.


Facts: Telegraph

Graphic: Wn

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13 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Francesca Eastwood

  1. I believe in people’s rights to use their income as they see fit. It doesn’t mean I won’t be disgusted with their handling of said income. I never even knew a purse could cost that much money. Was it lined with platinum and gem studded? Was the zipper made with diamonds as the teeth?

    I wonder if people like her even understand the value of the money they spend.

  2. Burning an alligator handbag is a weird thing to do, but is it any worse than just owning an alligator handbag that costs $100000 and using it conspicuously? The poor are no better off than if you had burned it, and, even if you enjoy using an alligator bag, you could buy a much cheaper one that wasn’t a Birkin, while giving the difference to the poor. On a similar note,would I be unethical to eat almas caviar (price £186.00 per 30g)? Once I have consumed it, it is just as destroyed as Francesca’s Birkin. I have never actually tried almas caviar, but I find it hard to imagine that its taste justifies its price for most people who consume it (more likely, it is conspicuous consumption, as is, in a way, burning a bag).

    As for art, according to Wikipedia, Damien Hirst’s installation The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, which is a tiger shark in a large tank of formaldehyde, cost £50,000 to create. In my opinion, the artistic merits of The Physical Impossibility are on par with the artistic merits of burning a handbag. Given the cost of producing the shark, was Mr. Hirst unethical when he produced the work?

    • It’s a tough line, but I draw it between paying an absurd amount for a luxury, and buying it to burn it. The first is conspicuous consumption, but if a handbag is worth that much to someone, fine: I don’t understand it, but there is no reason why someone can value a handbag higher than a Picasso or a Honus Wagner baseball card. That’s not waste, or shouldn’t be—she has the money, she wants it, she pays for it. Ethical all the way. Buying and destroying it is conspicuous waste.

      • If you allow for such subjectivity of value in determining whether conspicuous consumption is ethical, doesn’t that invite the argument that someone might place a higher sense of value upon a handbag destroyed for art than upon one used for its intended purpose? If a person is ethically permitted to spend her money as she sees fit to fulfill her desires, why does it matter whether the item she obtains is preserved, or whether what she’s paying for is a physical object in the first place? The absence of value is the same for everyone other than the buyer, no matter how she disposes of her money. They don’t gain significant pleasure from just knowing that the bag is still in the world. The only person who stands to gain $100,000 worth of subjective enjoyment is the person who either keeps or destroys the item.

  3. Monkman’s argument has a utilitarian flavour to it. I tend to agree that simply owning the bag and using it as ‘art’ have very similar outcomes — at least for the homeless. While she could have give the money directly to the homeless, she could also have used the ‘art’ to draw attention to the plight of the homeless, thereby maximizing the amount of good from the act.
    Food for thought.

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