By Hannah Betts
The world of celebrity very rarely covers itself in glory when it comes to commenting on serious global matters. Witness the many air-brained idiots vapidly expounding their latest pandemic platitudes.
We didn’t need
There they sit in their mansions sounding off about how we, the little people, should respond to this global crisis, without having the faintest notion how terrifying the situation might be for those without million-dollar incomes or 24/7 staff. My favourite has been Madonna, addressing us in Marie Antoinette mode from a petal-strewn bath.
Hannah Betts (pictured) said: ‘We didn’t need coronavirus to prove to us that most ‘slebs’ should be restrained by their agents, but it has certainly hit the point home’
As George Orwell taught us, some animals are more equal than others, and it tends to be those who can afford health insurance and personal chefs who fare better in times like this.
Actress Vanessa Hudgens became this year’s worst example of millennial gloop when she opined: ‘Even if everybody gets it, like, yeah, people are going to die, which is terrible but, like, inevitable?’ She concluded: ‘I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this right now?’ Prompting a collective: ‘D’ya think?’
Even the more well-meaning attempts at cheer have been utterly buttock-clenching. I defy you to endure Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot’s group rendition of Imagine without squirming. Behold: the likes of Natalie Portman, Jimmy Fallon, and Amy Adams warbling without the benefit of sound engineers.
These celebrity interventions aren’t about the public good. They’re about how nutjob the stars go without an audience. What will they be like in a couple of months’ time?
Plus there’s a serious side: by trivialising the situation with their no-brain views, some performers — such as Lost actress Evangeline Lilly — encourage fellow idiots to ignore government warnings. It’s experts we should be listening to, not people paid to impersonate experts in B-movies.
And the thing is, they actually could do some good, if they thought a bit harder. Kevin Bacon is the one celeb I’ll forgive, because his campaign is genuinely sensible and effective. He shared the names of six people he loves that he’s staying home for, then asked them each to share their own list of six more people. As the trend spreads on social media, it demonstrates how rapidly the virus could have passed between them if they hadn’t ‘stayed at home’.
That’s kind of the point right now. Everybody else, kindly step away from the record button. The world has enough problems without being patronised to death by a gaggle of overpaid hoofers.
By Rachel Johnson
We’ve all seen it by now, admit it —that treacly compilation of earnest Hollywood ‘names’ singing the lyrics to Imagine out of tune.
It hasn’t gone down well. Someone acidly tweeted that every single actor involved should be fined a million pounds and the money doled out to those who had to watch it.
Rachel Johnson (pictured) said: ‘If a celebrity is reading this and someone suggests you record a video, I say, knock yourself out. I’ll definitely be watching!’
But I think it’s a light in the current darkness.
There’s nothing I like more than seeing someone who earns ten million dollars a movie sitting in their enormous country kitchen in LA, bored out of their mind, and filming themselves so I can inspect their interiors minutely while they give their all to whispering ‘imagine no possessions’ into their own mobile phone.
And surely we’ve all seen the other celebrity efforts by now, too? Best of all is that cringe Madonna video from the bath, wibbling on about how we’re all in the same boat, while one person films her and another plays the harp.
I understand the general public pushback on these worthy emissions from well-known actors and singers. We civilians are trapped in our rather smaller homes now indefinitely with our other halves, and it hasn’t been an easy year. After all, in January, we got Brexit. In February, coronavirus. In March, the aural torture of celebrities mangling peace anthems. But I happen to think it’s hilarious (the narcissistic self-promoting videos, not the killer virus) and can watch any amount of this stuff.
Arnie Schwarzenegger telling us to ‘fuhggedt’ about restaurants, fuhggedt about going out, and how it’s so much fun to stay home like he does and eat dinner with his donkeys Whiskey and Lulu. Judi Dench putting on bunny ears and telling us to keep laughing in a ten-second clip into which she somehow crammed at least a hundred different facial expressions and tones of voice.
Even Ellen DeGeneres doing Lego in her mansion was watchable, in its way, given how we are all searching for silver linings.
I can see how it has played out in their minds, too. You’re an international celebrity at home alone, tour and movie cancelled, with very good wi-fi and a passionate desire to make a difference during the global pandemic. A passionate desire, too, to continue to connect with your public. To show you care (and to show off your house as well as your emotional hinterland). To show you’re still alive and still for hire on the other side.
And why not? They’re entertainers, after all, not doctors.
So if a celebrity is reading this and someone suggests you record a video, I say, knock yourself out. I’ll definitely be watching!