Celebrity nonsense is at its peak during the coronavirus pandemic

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screenshot, Axelle / FilmMagic

Vanessa Hudgens, Gal Gadot and Evangeline Lily.


At best Often times (and rest assured we don't live in the best case scenario), John Lennon's song "Imagine,quot; is sonic pablum: the cover chosen by mediocre YouTube artists everywhere, the soundtrack to a commercial for cheesy soft drinks, the karaoke song that dampens the mood, the cliche comes at times that demand solidarity.

So, somehow, it wasn't surprising that Gal Gadot, Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Mark Ruffalo, an unmasked Sia, and a variety of other supposedly famous white women decided to sing the song in a supercut that Gadot posted on his Instagram.

But boy, was it difficult to sit down. (I have not yet reached the end). Twitter's reactions to the video were quite unanimous. "No politician can unify people in the way that the 'Imagine' video seems to have brought all people together against him," comedian Josh Gondelman said. observed.

What is the artist's role in a snowball public health crisis?

The rapid ridicule of Gadot and his famous friends' attempt to raise the masses speaks to the very difficult position celebrities have found themselves in during the current coronavirus pandemic. What is the artist's role in a snowball public health crisis? It seems difficult to determine. For one thing, we have the United States Surgeon General asking Kylie Jenner to mobilize her army of Instagram followers to take this virus seriously, and Daniel Dae Kim using the announcement of his positive coronavirus test as an opportunity to speak. . It was against anti-Asian racism. But on the other hand, we have Disney Channel's ex-girlfriend Vanessa Hudgens (also a decent Mimi in Rental: live, fwiw) telling us what a virus is like and "I respect him,quot; although people can die, which is "terrible … but inevitable?" (He later apologized.) And then there is Evangeline Lilly turning her blatant decision not to practice social distancing into some kind of "freedom,quot; call.

Initially, there was something exciting about seeing celebrities turn to Instagram with their sweats and makeup-free faces, confined to the home like the rest of the less fortunate (but still privileged) masses. But now it seems that the charm has begun to curdle. These people are much more visible than the super-wealthy silencers who headed to their second homes with boxes of fancy hand sanitizer. See celebrities isolate themselves in mansions as they complain about their fevers and admonish commoners canceling his spring break has begun to feel alien and enraged. Meanwhile, a growing number of public figures, from NBA stars to social influencers, have revealed that they have tested positive for the coronavirus, while thousands of people in the United States. USA They still have no idea if they have been infected because they cannot be tested. At what point do your diagnoses cease to be a vivid reminder of how widespread and fearless this virus is, and instead become an obvious symbol of the gulf between those who have and those who do not?

At first, celebrity statements about the coronavirus seemed helpful, even charming. Tom Hanks' revelation on March 11 that he and Rita Wilson had tested positive was reassuring and sensible. It was also a wake-up call, at least anecdotally, for some boomers who hadn't taken the need for isolation seriously. (Props also for Hanks and Wilson's son Chet, whose following Instagram video was unexpectedly relaxing.)

At what point do celebrity diagnoses cease to be a vivid reminder of how widespread and undistorted this virus is, and instead become a blatant symbol of the chasm between the haves and the have-nots?

Cardi B, who has always been in tune with the news of the moment, frankly spoke of her own fears about the coronavirus on March 10, a week before major cities began implementing restaurant and bar closings. (She also generated a viral song in the process.) Steph Curry urged his hordes of fans to practice social distancing and Instagrammed on her appropriately discreet quarantined birthday. This week, there was a nice video from the legendary comic Mel Brooks, who is 93 years old (93), and his son Max demonstrating why social distancing is so important. ("Go home!" Mel Brooks yells at his son through his window). Arnold Schwarzenegger also joined the PSA social distance train with the help of some equine friends. And let's not forget Idris Elba stupidly reminding us that, yes, blacks really can get that rona.

Although these celebrity actions only happened during the last week, it already seems like an eternity ago. In record time, celebrity speech has weakened, if you will.

Now that it's increasingly clear that self-isolation will be a marathon rather than a two-week run, and that many of us will be spending most of our days in our homes for the foreseeable future, celebrities are really showing themselves. They are bored. Their concerts have been canceled. The productions stopped. Taking to social media, her broadcasts of her thoughts and feelings are getting darker and more mutual, exposing how her privilege works. As the New York Times reporter Astead Herndon put it on Twitter, "The coronavirus is like a black light for the celebrity clown."

Of course, there are many public figures who have been doing the right thing. The entertainment industry has been hit hard, and people working on production equipment and low-wage assistant jobs are seeing months without work, money, or insurance. Showrunners Shonda Rhimes and Greg Berlanti have donated money to the Hollywood Assistants Fund. And although Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds were married on a plantation, they have also donated $ 1 million to food banks in the United States and Canada. John Legend and Chris Martin have live performances from their homes. These actions are good! It is good to give money and provide some kind of escape from this hell.

The illusion that celebrities are like us is especially intoxicating now that many of us are locked in our homes, blocked by a virus that doesn't matter if you're rich or poor, famous or dark. And just like us, celebrities are flawed and often ignore the impact, and the implications, of their own actions. The difference is that many more people are paying attention to what they say and do. At best, celebrities can use their massive platforms to defend messages from public health officials, amplify charities that do a good job, and spur personal action. But in the worst case, the deep-rooted inequalities in our country stand out. The kind of hackneyed, feel-good videos that might have seemed harmless nonsense a month ago suddenly feel like an insult to injury. And right now, we are all trying to improve. ●