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2006-06-23

America needs its celebrities to do the RIGHT thing

Every now and then, when I feel I need a good snicker and an invigorating rush of blood to the obstreperal lobe, I read the USA-based conservative punditry website Townhall.

I didn't even bother with the usual wingnut fare of anti-immigration, anti-judges, anti-gay-rights and global-warming-isn't-happening stuff, because that's all just retreaded pap, and I wished for novel pap. (There was no way either that I was going to read the trophy bilebag's column desperately touting her new book by including its name in the title of her column - AC feeds on our outrage, so starve her, people!)

One title stood out though "Anderson and Angelina" (I thought the Anderson would be Pamela, but no) by Debra Saunders. Ooh, Townhall does celebrity smackdown: this should be fun!

Saunder's column was about Ms Jolie appearing on Anderson Cooper's show on CNN. The column opened with a gratuitous swipe at Cooper for low ratings when he took over that timeslot in November 2005 from Aaron Brown. (CNN says the ratings increased when Cooper joined Newsnight as co-anchor, and his book is currently a bestseller, but she wants to paint him as some sort of failure, it seems). Then in terse, pursed-lipped prose she almost reflexively mentioned Jolie's tattoos, her divorce from a Hollywood actor (but not her earlier divorce from a British one) and her recent delivery of a baby "sired by a movie star who just last year was someone else's husband".

Then she got onto describing the actual interview:

It promised to be a package of everything annoying about celebrity culture -- the rich and statuesque preening as they bemoan the plight of the destitute and forsaken.

Not so. As a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Refugee Agency, Jolie, 31, is doing important work as she spreads the word about people who have nothing.
The rest of the piece is fluff about how Jolie is a truly admirable activist (as indeed she is):
I like Jolie's message of hope. Celebrity interviews often emit a vampire-like quality, as breathless interviewers feed on stars' personal tragedies and setbacks and the celebrity-victim comes across as the latest pouty facelift with a story that says, "Poor me."

For Jolie, the focus is on the truly poor, and the many things Americans can do for them if they open their wallets. She sees the suffering, but also she sees the resilience of people who have endured unspeakable loss -- yet it is not too late to help them.

By this stage, with the article nearly finished, I was confused. Why has Saunders been so complimentary of this very non-traditional woman? Where is the extended wingnut whine about her unconventional lifestyle choices I've come to expect? WHERE'S MY FIX!?!

I should have known that Saunders wouldn't let me down. She waited until the very last sentence, after those laudatory paragraphs above emphasising how Jolie's charity work encourages Americans to open their wallets for poor people in other countries. You see, if Jolie wants Americans to do that for other people, then she needs to do something for America in return:

Now, Angelina, think of little girls in this country who see you as a role model. Marry your baby's father.
Oh. Yes. Finding yourself a man who wants to be a hands-on coparent and co-adopt all your children, not just the one he "sired", isn't nearly good enough unless you get that ring on your finger, missy. It's downright anti-American, asking people to donate money to poor people when you're blatantly unmarried with a new baby and we see that the baby's father hasn't run out on you. Why, it's cheating the American people, that's what it is. That's the stuff. Give it to me, baby.

The marital status of Jolie is a recurring theme in Right-Blogistan. Apparently, Pitt going through all the bother of legally adopting Jolie's children and changing their surname to include his own means that obviously he is going to be a meaningless and impermanent feature in their lives, because all that means nothing without a wedding certificate. In fact, the wingnuts would be much happier if Pitt and Jolie had got married without him adopting the other children at all, as apparently then he would "really" be their daddy, instead of just legally their daddy.

Forget about doing good work for people in danger from trivial things like starvation and disease. America needs you to protect all those little girls from unwedded bliss. Right now! Before they get minds of their own!

Give something back to America, you selfish pair - walk down the bloody aisle.

Oh, that was good wingnut.

6 comments:

kate said...

yeah, it's coz of Angelina & Brad that Himself and I aren't getting hitched. even though we're having a baby. it's got nothing at all to do with our lives/relationship/money/effort involved in having a wedding with 700 relatives.

tigtog said...

Whatever makes you happiest, because it's nobody else's business, just as the the Pitt-Jolie relationship choices should be nobody else's business.

I've got nothing particularly against marriage - I'm married, because it was important to my husband and not such a big deal to me that I refused to do it. We ended up having a very nice simple party for 80 guests in a community hall after a celebrant hitched us in a friend's waterfront garden. It was a good day, and there is a powerful emotional reaction to a ritual espousal in front of friends and family (but couples can always do that in their own backyard with a simple handfasting declaration and no marriage certificate anywhere in sight).

It's not having gone through that day and signed that piece of paper that makes us committed to each other as partners and coparents - that's an ongoing affirmation renewed daily. There's nothing magical about a wedding ceremony that confers the will to keep the partnership alive, as the divorced celebrities in question can attest.

tigtog said...

Oh, and congratulations on the upcoming baby! You could always have some sort of handfasting combined with a naming day party if you wanted to ritual community blessing effect without the big wedding plan hassles.

kate said...

Cheers, I'm quite happy to have a 'proper' wedding at some stage, and there are still legal reasons for being married rather than shacking up (which is why I'm so vehemently supporting same sex marriage). I just don't particuarly want to right now, and I don't think being pregnant is a reason to rush into it.

We're not really into handfasting & naming ceremonies, being lapsed Catholics we figure we have enough ceremony to fall back on if we want it. At the moment we're looking at a Baby Warming BBQ. We wont be cooking the baby, just snags & burgers etc.

Incidently, 80 people would barely cover my relatives, and Himself's sister just had 80 people (mostly her relatives) at her Melbourne celebration and another 80 for her bloke's family in Manchester so 'small' isn't an option unless we elope. Simple & BBQ are definite options, just not a small guest list.

tigtog said...

Someone I know did elope simply to avoid the whole expected big wedding thing that neither of them wanted. They were perfectly happy for both sets of parents to throw a welcome-back party afterwards on a less lavish scale, and a large portion of the ranks of rels that would have been offended at not getting a wedding invite refused to come to the "lesser" party (and were exactly the ones they didn't want anyway) so meh.

kate said...

unfortunately the problem is that we like our relatives, and we want them to come... it's a good problem to have in a world full of feuding families and broken marriages, I'm a very lucky girl.

and all this reminds me that I have to cry poor and turn down a wedding invitation in Perth.