Things are … not going great. One in three Americans is living under lockdown, a number that is rising every day. The stock market is in shambles; the unemployment rate could feasibly hit 30 percent before the pandemic is over. There isn’t enough medical supplies for doctors or patients; convention centers are being re-purposed into makeshift hospitals; mercy ships are en route to the ghost town that is America’s greatest metropolitan area, New York City.
Celebrities have responded by stepping up to show solidarity and raise awareness about the public health crisis: Margaret Qualley has demoed proper hand-washing in her kitchen, JoJo rewrote the lyrics to her hit “Leave (Get Out)” to urge proper social distancing, and Britney Spears is inexplicably calling for wealth redistribution on Instagram. The only problem is, in attempting to connect with fans over the pandemic, celebrities who previously passed as “relatable” and “down-to-Earth” are exposing themselves as the opposite.
To be fair, we’ve always known the rich and famous were out-of-touch, to some degree — that’s why we follow them in the first place. But while the rest of America is becoming accustomed to life in protective, isolated bubbles, it’s becoming bitterly clear who has never left theirs.
Celebrity culture reels us in with the glimpses we catch, through the window of tabloids and social media, at a lifestyle that feels potentially attainable. The attention economy is oiled by our addiction to aspirational wealth porn, as well as our inexhaustible fascination with the antics of famous people who we pretend to not actually care about. Celebrities, in turn, perform roles back to us to keep us sucked in: they pretend to be our best friends — “a celebrity is, by definition, someone whose career depends on familiarity,” once wrote GQ — or to be awkward geeks “just like us.” There is always just the right removal, a calculated amount of information withheld, so you can imagine yourself in their shoes or as a member of their squad.
But these are not normal times, and the quarantine has greatly limited the sort of content celebrities can make. The only available stage is whichever of their homes they’ve holed up in to ride out the pandemic — mansions with pointy stainless steel appliances, gargantuan marble bathrooms, and slick ultramodern windows and balconies. Homes that no longer succeed in making us want to see more, but that exaggerate the cramped places we’re spending our own time in, suffocated by homeschooled children, stir-crazy roommates, or high-risk parents. Will Ferrell doesn’t sing “Imagine” in a collaboration with Gal Gadot and inspire us; he draws attention to the hypocrisy of dreaming about “no possessions” while crooning from his $9 million home he bought from Ellen DeGeneres. Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard don’t simply suspend tenets’ April rent out of the goodness of their hearts, they’re “outed as landlords.” We’ve learned that “Jennifer Lopez’s house …read more
Source:: The Week – Business