I note with a sort of fascinated horror that a dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in the film "The Seven Year Itch" sold for a total price (including buyer's commission) of just over $5.6 million this weekend.
Ye Gods and little fishes!
That wasn't all.
Judy Garland's Dorothy test dress from "The Wizard of Oz" was estimated to sell between $60,000 and $80,000. After taxes, it sold for $1,119,000.
Dorothy's test ruby red slippers, which were estimated to sell between $120,000 and $150,000, went for $627,000 including tax.
Charlie Chaplin's bowler hat was estimated at $20,000 to $30,000. It sold for $135,300.
Harpo Marx's hat and wig were estimated at $20,000 to $30,000. They sold for $55,350.
There's more at the link.
Clearly, I'm not a movie culture vulture. I find this sort of idolatry repellent. It really is idolatry, you know . . . setting up someone's memory as if it were something sacred or holy, and paying tribute to it in this way. (Of course, there's the investment potential as well, but that potential only exists because of this sort of idolatry.) I'm tempted to wonder whether there's a modern-day Samson who'll bring down the temple of these idolaters on top of them . . . but the fact that he brought it down on himself at the same time is a bit off-putting to potential volunteers, I'm sure. (Besides, it was a temple of the Philistines; and the true culture vultures would say that I, and those like me, are the Philistines, not them!)
I find myself shaking my head in utter disbelief. To pay more than $5 million for a dress? No matter who wore it, that's just . . . crazy! Oh, I know, the value of anything is what someone's prepared to pay for it; but I can't get over the sheer mind-boggling excess. I've been trying to find a donor or sponsor for a prison ministry project, to help former inmates get back on their feet and avoid returning to a life of crime. It needs half a million dollars over ten years; but we can't find donors at all, particularly in the present economic climate. It's not fashionable or gratifying in any way, and there's no publicity value (that's the last thing former inmates need, quite frankly). Yet, someone can blow away enough money to fund eleven such projects, and have change left over . . . for a dress!
Oh, well. Clearly I'm out of touch with this sort of reality. Why else would I believe that people are more important, and worth more, than things?