Children of the very rich get fucked up pretty early on, mostly because the grow up around other rich kids who have no concept of what the real world is actually like. They go to private schools, get private tutors, go on fancy foreign holidays, and have their every needs catered to by cottage industries designed to extract money from narcissistic parents. I’m pretty good at spotting rich brats, mostly because I grew up around them. They are pretty easily identified; loud, self confident, and most annoyingly, self important. Rich kids are told by their parents they are special, and their education and legion of extracurricular activities organized for them reinforce the notion that they deserve more than everyone else.
In Los Angeles, most children want to become famous. They grow up in a city built on the worship of celebrity, and through a combination of extreme privilege and cultural osmosis, gravitate towards acting. Their parents hire coaches, pull favors from connected friends, and do everything in their power to turn their child into the next Jodie Foster or Dakota Fanning. And if you’re born into a celebrity family, your chances of success go up exponentially.
Jaden Smith, the son of mega star Will Smith and fellow actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, was born and raised to be an actor. Having co-starred with his father in The ‘Pursuit of Happyness’ in 2006, Smith jr has been a mini industry for a good 7 years, and at the age of 15 is letting everyone know just what he thinks about the world. Which is fine – I had lots of opinions when I was that age – all of which were utter nonsense. The difference being, I was told under no uncertain terms to shut the fuck up in front of actual adults. My parents always allowed me to participate in conversations, but I was always deflated rather quickly when deciding to lecture guests about how the world worked.
But not Jaden.
In a series of tweets, the precious movie star had the following nuggets of wisdom for his 4.5 million followers:
“People Use To Ask Me What Do You Wanna Be When You Get Older And I Would Say What A Stupid Question The Real Question Is What Am I Right Now,”
“All The Rules In This World Were Made By Someone No Smarter Than You. So Make Your Own.”
“School Is The Tool To Brainwash The Youth.”
“Education Is Rebellion.”
“If Newborn Babies Could Speak They Would Be The Most Intelligent Beings On Planet Earth.”
“If Everybody In The World Dropped Out Of School We Would Have A Much More Intelligent Society”
“Everybody Get Off Your Phones And Go Do What You Actually Wanna Do.”
I generally think that teenagers are off limits when it comes to sarcastic internet screeds, but this time, I think it’s warranted. I don’t need to go into the obnoxiousness of his posts – the fact that as the child of multi millionaires, he can afford not to get educated and follow whatever fantasy life he wants to pursue. I don’t need to spell out the fact that almost half the planet survive on less than the cost of his morning mocha frappuccino, and would probably sell a limb to have the educational opportunities he was given by virtue of who his parents are.
I don’t need to because Jaden wouldn’t really understand it. And that’s not really his fault. But I do need to tell Jaden Smith to shut the fuck up. Not because I was much better at his age, but because someone said it to me, and someone clearly isn’t saying it to him.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.