Tone deaf and dumb
“This is harder for some than others. And apparently, it is very hard for celebrities.”
There is a right way and a wrong way to support one another during this crisis. And a huge part of getting it right requires us to put ourselves in other people’s shoes. This is harder for some than others. And apparently, it is very hard for celebrities.
I come at this with a bias. So, let me begin by saying that I am NOT a fan of celebrities making political statements. Don’t get me wrong—everyone is entitled to an opinion.
The problem with celebrities “sharing” theirs is that what they have to say is often given more value than it deserves by people who don’t distinguish between knowledge and notoriety. Some people equate financial success—even if earned singing, or dancing, or acting—with life success.
That’s just wrong. Making a few million dollars writing songs does not make you an expert on foreign policy, or marriage, or pretty much anything other than… writing songs.
Angelina Jolie may be right about poverty. Charlton Heston may have been right about guns. But the fact that they are celebrities has nothing to do with it.
There is a reason why it used to be that politics, religion, and sex were not topics for polite conversation. It is because our grandparents knew that while everyone is legally entitled to vote, pray, and fuck, the vast majority of people aren’t competent to do any one of the three properly. They just think they are. This includes celebrities.
A few recent posts put on display the fact that the rich and famous can be both tone-deaf and dumb.
Billionaire David Geffen posted a message of support from the “isolation” of his $590 million yacht, “Sunset last night… isolated in the Grenadines avoiding the virus. I’m hoping everybody is staying safe.” (I know, you can’t make this shit up.)
Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez also dropped the ball, posting an image of J-Lo’s son on a hoverboard serving sparkling water during the quarantine. J-Lo and A-Rod have the added misfortune that some believe their house to be creepily reminiscent of the house in the Oscar-winning film Parasite, which is all about the disparity between the haves and have-nots.
I am guessing that these celebrities put their social media handlers on leave for the virus and figured, “How hard can this really be?”
I don’t think for one second that Geffen, Lopez, or Rodriguez are bad people. Their posts simply demonstrate a lack of empathy. They seem to be oblivious to how well they live, and how hard this crisis is for many many others.
Which is the point. A crisis like this needs to bring us together. Part of that means trying to understand what others are going through. Millions of people have lost their jobs. Thousand upon thousands have lost their businesses. People are getting sick, and dying. And this is just getting started.
You don’t have to look far to get a sense for how this tragedy is affecting other people. And it’s not lost on all celebrities. Check out these posts by Shakira and Matthew McConaughey. I am sure they also live in very nice houses—maybe even own several of them—but they are in touch enough to understand that there are people out there who are going through hard times, and they both deliver genuine heartfelt messages.
Let’s have a little more of that please, and little less of yachts and Perrier.