One Great Thing about Capitalism? Sports Cars. I don’t mean Lambos or the Bugatti Veyron and Chiron, which are for the kind of people that … you shouldn’t trust to watch over your drinks, if you catch my drift. I know luxury consumer items are the gilding of Capitalist propaganda … but Left-Wing brain and hearts are bypassed with marvels of passionate engineering and designs such as the Acura NSX, the Koenigsegg One:1, everything made by Porsche before the 2000s or the McLaren Fintail. I think we should find a way to keep those after The Glorious Socialist Revolution. Maybe as prizes for the Great Heroes of Arts and Sports or something … not too different from the purpose they fill now, but also including teachers, scientists, or … archeologists, I guess.
The reality is that the business of exotic cars would not exist without the purchasing power of people who are the worst, and that’s only counting those that can actually afford them. There are also scammers who use them as an investment to trick people into thinking they are wealthy. Both types share a passion for … being absolute douchebags about flaunting their wealth.
This is, in all likelihood, the case with one Adrian Portelli, a 34-year-old Australian who made the news recently, as he bought a McLaren Senna GTR (worth US$2 million) only to display it in his US$26 Million dollar penthouse in Melbourne. To achieve this, he had it raised with a crane to the 57th floor of the luxury condo, which is still under construction.
I couldn’t find a single legitimate article in the Australian press about who this guy is and how he made his millions, except for articles on News.com.au, a shitty News Corp aggregator passing itself as a news source, that only replicates this man’s narrative with zero fact-checking. It actually took the Daily Mail to do the bare minimum journalism, unearthing some traffic citations. Apparently, his raffle claims to operate as a charity, but there is zero transparency about how it actually operates. According to a Twitter thread or these Reddit posts, he is probably taking advantage of the laxness and loopholes in Australian regulations regarding what counts as a charity and what is just a gambling platform. I am confident in saying that this man is a con artist (one who, as it happens, now wants to sell a business that supposedly nets him tens of millions of Aussie bucks per year). It’s protected speech Mr. Portelli, come at me.
Now, by writing this article I am giving him the attention he wants, but every successful con artist knows that you should avoid attention if you don’t have an exit strategy. Adrian Portelli is obviously a boisterous idiot, for reference, just check his Instagram. So, the more eyes are turned to him, the sooner his bubble will burst.
Nevertheless, this late Capitalist era has brought us a new kind of scam artist: The ones that get high on their own supply and actually buy into the Grift & Grind mindset. And as the backlash to his obscene display of wealth (in a country that is also going through a housing and cost of living crisis), he threw a tantrum, and lashed out at the Green Party politicians criticizing the stunt with a tired version of “Haters be after me because of my wealth.” It just so happens that Australia is going to be hit with a massive wave of tax cuts for high-income earners, a policy leftover from the previous Conservative administration, which the current Labor government is doing jackshit to fix.
Portelli’s stunt is symbolic of everything that is wrong with Late Capitalism that it’s almost cartoonish. And yet, I couldn’t stop thinking of the droves of people (usually dudes) coming to his defense or simping for him in articles about it. Because the argument is always structured in the same way: “What is your point?” (always implying that we are just whining), followed by “He can do whatever he wants with his money” (always giving him the benefit of the doubt that his fortune is legitimate… and never bothering to check if it actually is), followed by “you are just jealous/a hater” (always implying that everyone just wants to become as wealthy… which, sure, wouldn’t be bother, but it implies that one would be as tasteless about it), followed and concluded with “well, actually he does a lot of charity” (always implying that we should stop party-poopers because of a few photo-ops of the subject giving stuff to smiling children). Granted, the people coming in defense of Mr. Portelli are the kind that … well, they are the kind to be easily impressed by a watch stuffed with diamonds if you catch my drift … the kind of people who are huge fans of MMA. But switch Mr. Portello for anyone else higher on the pole of legitimacy and you won’t see the argument changing at all, and the people doing the defense might be less … chud-y: politicians, lawyers, PR departments or think tanks.
But it’s still just the “you a hater” defense, a gut-level fallacy that the upper-classes inevitably fall for, more so if they are endogamic and isolated. It’s their ultimate resource when what they actually want to do is tell dissenting voices to fuck off. Among the Chilean elites, the claim is always that anyone criticizing social injustices is “resentful,” the word itself being weaponized into a slur like “uppity”: “Resentful” simply meaning “not well-off person that protests too much.” Resentment, Haters, and Jealousy used as bludgeons to silence any questioning of an economic system that is literally predicated, as George Carlin once told, on creating needs. But the wealthy have a contradictory blindspot when it comes to what they consider a “need”: As sumptuous consumption becomes the baseline, they become convinced that all basic needs are just as conspicuous as the things they normally desire. And thus, when we say guaranteed healthcare, we are just asking for spa days; when we say affordable housing, we are demanding a triplex with ocean views for all; when we say livable wages, we want workers to be paid as much as Coca-Cola’s CEO (I’ve literally heard that one). They live in a world in which every item they consume is a target of jealousy because they have envied said items before when a fellow wealthy person had them: Yachts, luxury gyms, exclusive clubs, paintings, tech. Cars. Net worth. A mindset that can’t bring itself to understand that most people in developed countries are struggling to pay rent. As long as they can tie the argument on us being “resentful” of their gross displays of wealth, well, they can sleep better at night, not realizing that they are stripping any negative connotation out of the word resentment.
But Class Struggle aside, you might just be a car lover. One that when they see a car, specifically designed for track-racing, named after a guy who actually donated millions of dollars to children’s charities, when they see it turned into a glorified paperweight… well, that gives you another damn good reason to feel resentful. Many were reminded of a certain iconic scene from the Fast & Furious. A very similar situation of a hypercar being caged in a penthouse. And with those two condo towers being so close together… well, I don’t like saying these words, but Mr. Portelli is asking for someone to ape Dominic Toretto in that scene. You know the one.