In case you're one of those people who lives their life completely inured to the tragedies that occur around the world every single day, the Fyre Festival was a destination music festival in the Bahamas for extremely wealthy people to gather en masse and enjoy live music by the likes of Blink-182 and Major Lazer for an entire weekend. The historic event was organized by Ja Rule, which was the final bell and/or whistle that made the Fyre Festival's multi-thousand-dollar tickets irresistible.
But it was not meant to be. The event fell apart as, slowly but as certainly as the inevitable march of time towards death, every single band withdrew. Facilities were not in place. Absolutely nothing was ready for the festival pilgrims when they arrived on the island. They were stranded with no food, no guest accommodations, and no live music. Icarus had flown too close to Ja Rule. Indeed, all of us made the same mistake as that winged, headstrong youth of fable -- we forget the most important lessons our elders had taught us. Namely, never, ever trust Ja Rule
Reading the reports from the front lines, it's hard not to feel your heart shudder with the nervous convulsions of pity -- a silent, internal dance of human anguish, much like the war raging within a man trying to contain a fountain of diarrhea in a public place. But the real tragedy is how preventable all this was, had we but heeded the teachings of history. For instance ...
When I was in college at Virginia Tech, Ja Rule was scheduled to appear at a campus concert, but he cancelled at the last minute for early 2000s reasons (he had been booked to appear on TRL with Hoobastank, he had to make an early screening of Attack Of The Clones, etc.). He rescheduled the show for later in the school year, but when the date of the rescheduled performance rolled around, Ja Rule cancelled again. That's right, he abandoned two performances at the last minute, in the same place, in the same year. In response, we took to calling him "Ja Fool" around campus, which no one ever did before or since, because the freshman class of 2002 carried a rapier wit. I took the wisdom I learned that spring for granted, and only now do I realize my folly. By not speaking up against the Fyre Festival when I had the chance, I doomed millions of dollars of utterly disposable income to the whims of Ja Rule, the trickster god of mischief.
But the fault is not merely my own. All of us conveniently forget the stories of our childhood warning us against the duplicity of Ja Rule. In Rulestiltskin, a poor miller's daughter is visited by Ja Rule, who promises to help her spin straw into gold for the king if she buys tickets to his performance on Saturday Night Live. He bails at the last minute and is replaced by Sum 41, and the miller's daughter is executed, partially because the king didn't get his straw gold but mostly because of Sum 41. And of course there is the age-old Knights and Knaves logic puzzle. You come to a fork in a road, where one path leads to safety and the other to certain doom. The fork is guarded by two men, one of whom cannot tell a lie and one of whom is Ja Rule. With a single question, can you find the path to safety without eating a substantial Ticketmaster service charge?
This was famously featured as a Ja Rule metaphor in the relentless box office sensation and timeless children's classic Labyrinth.
The point is, we have no excuse for continuing to allow Ja Rule to trick us (or "Ja Fool" us). We have nothing but our own greedy hearts to blame, because no matter how sweet his promises may seem, you cannot trust Ja Rule. Particularly not if you attended Virginia Tech in the spring of 2002.
How did these hyper-specific tropes spread so quickly?
The Hollywood rumor mill has been playing games with celebrity deaths for at least a century.