Let's look at Dan Bilzerian as an example. Dan Bilzerian, also known as "The King of Instagram," is a poker player, businessman, and social media influencer. He has been infamous for posting his lavish lifestyle on Instagram since 2012 and fits the criteria for success in America. Bilzerian discloses that his whopping net worth of $200 million accumulated through playing poker. He owns a $65 million mansion in Los Angeles that holds eight luxury cars and a private plane. He invested his "hard-earned" capital in building a global lifestyle brand. Well, at least that's what he was showing on social media. It turns out after investigation, the residence he purchased wasn't his, and he had been defaulting on rent for a long time. Bilzerian was criticized for being only "average" in poker, meaning that he got his money from illegal means. Nobody invested in his company because of his new reputation, resulting in a significant loss. This instance shows Americans' lengths to prove their "success" and how much externalized success differs from reality.
This American image of success is extolled in its advertising. Perhaps, no better example can be found than Cadillac’s 2014 advertisement simply titled “Poolside”. It opens with Norm McDonough overlooking his extravagant pool in the backyard of his multimillion-dollar home.“Why do we work so hard?”, he asks,” For this? For stuff?” A rhetorical question he will return to. “In other countries they work, they stroll home, they stop by the cafe, they take August off. Why aren’t we like that? Because we’re crazy driven hard-working believers that’s why.” He walks through his enormous and immaculate home. Along the way, revealing his kids and beautiful happy wife. All products of his hard work and more importantly of his American perspective. ”Those other countries think we’re nuts. Whatever. Were the Wright brothers insane? Bill Gates, Les Paul, Ali. Were we nuts when we pointed to the Moon? We went up there and you know what we got? Bored, so we left.” Here the ad gives its central argument for the materialistic, obsessive, and introspection-less image of success it presents- by reinforcing the mythology. If you believe Bill Gates, Les Paul, and Ali are successful, then there can’t be anything wrong with how Americans define success. “It’s pretty simple. You work hard, create your own luck, and you gotta believe - anything is possible. As for all the stuff - that’s the upside of only taking two weeks off in August.”
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