The Wolf

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Did you go see The Wolf of Wall Street? I thought about going to it, but after reading this open letter from the daughter of one of the protagonist’s partners in crime, I won’t.

But let me admit something: I’m a sucker for good writing, and either this letter was ghostwritten or this woman could polish the rusty prose off a 1920s legal brief. It’s always possible I’ve been smitten by the letter and its argument a little too much. Read it yourself.

I’m also assuming the accuracy of her allegation that the movie glamorizes securities fraud. I’ve seen the trailers a few dozen times, so her allegation isn’t hard to believe. I don’t think I’ve seen such a sex-charged, glam-filled trailer since . . . frick, I don’t know. I could barely sit through the trailers without feeling like I had to go to confession.

Her letter basically boils down to this: The Wolf’s and his accomplice’s actions immensely harmed many people, including their family members. How could Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio celebrate it, thereby allowing the Wolf to profit from his wrongdoing further? She also asks people not to support the effort.

Although part of me says Scorsese et al are merely giving the public what they want, overall, her argument is persuasive, and I won’t go see the movie. The two or three tickets I would’ve bought aren’t going to make a dent in the movie’s success, but as St. Therese reminds us, we can only act in small ways (which is, incidentally, the only cogent justification I can find for voting every four years, but that assumes the candidates’ actions, as opposed to their promises, amount to a dime’s worth of difference). I can stay home and keep those few dollars in my wallet, knowing that I did the right thing in this one little case.

That’s good enough for me.

Excerpt

So here’s the deal. You people are dangerous. Your film is a reckless attempt at continuing to pretend that these sorts of schemes are entertaining, even as the country is reeling from yet another round of Wall Street scandals. We want to get lost in what? These phony financiers’ fun sexcapades and coke binges? Come on, we know the truth. This kind of behavior brought America to its knees.

And yet you’re glorifying it — you who call yourselves liberals. You were honored for career excellence and for your cultural influence by The Kennedy Center, Marty. You drive a Honda hybrid, Leo. Did you think about the cultural message you’d be sending when you decided to make this film? You have successfully aligned yourself with an accomplished criminal, a guy who still hasn’t made full restitution to his victims, exacerbating our national obsession with wealth and status and glorifying greed and psychopathic behavior. And don’t even get me started on the incomprehensible way in which your film degrades women, the misogynistic, ass-backwards message you endorse to younger generations of men.

But hey, listen boys, I get it. I was conned too. By. My. Own. Dad! I drove a white Range Rover in high school, snorted half of Colombia, and got any guy I ever wanted because my father would take them flying in his King Air.

And then I unraveled the truth. The truth about my father and his behavior: that behind all of it was really just insidious soul-sucking shame masked by addiction, which we love to call ambition, which is really just greed. Greed and the desire for fame (exactly what you’ve successfully given self-appointed motivational speaker/financial guru Jordan Belfort, whose business opportunities will surely multiply thanks to this film).