Thank Heavens for Celebrities on Social Media During COVID19
So another day goes by in isolation for a huge swath of the world due to COVID19, but we’re all blessed because those wonderful, generous celebs all over the world have decided to do a lounge room concert for us on their cameras. Whew, I feel so much better, that really takes the edge off all the stress far better than alcohol, food, Netflix, and exercise ever could. I know I’m thanking my lucky stars that they thought of us little people enough to grace us with a song…
Look, I’m generally not one to criticise, because being a writer online, I know most criticism isn’t worth the pixels it’s written on. There’s something about this and other celebrity videos though that feels really, really gross. A lot of people immediately jump to their defence, saying that it’s a nice gesture and that they’re just trying to help everyone get through it in the way that they know how, but I’m not so sure about that.
On the surface, on a conscious level, that’s probably what these celebs are saying and thinking as well. But on a subconscious level, what’s actually going on? Think about it. Think about what goes through their head when they decide to sing to everyone over their Instagram account or gather other celebs to sing with them. What questions are they asking themselves? Is it a eureka moment where they think “I know what will cheer everyone up! I’ll get on my account and do a song for them!”
No matter what the intention, there seems to be massive ego at play here. When you think that people love you so much that getting on your account and singing is going to help them during this crisis, that’s a pretty huge level of self-absorption. I mean, no matter what angle I come at this from, it comes across as ego driven rather than altruistic, because the result screams “how can I make this more about me? My songs are so good that they’ll lift people’s spirits. My fans love me so much that it will help them out.”
It’s almost a messiah complex at play. That their words alone have the power to change things. It reminds me of Jason Lee’s character in Almost Famous, who says “rock can change the world” when he’s being interviewed. Even he has the self-awareness though, when the quote is read back to him later in the movie to say “rock can change the world!? I sound like a dick!”
Don’t even get me started on the celebrity version of Imagine, possibly the most pretentious song ever written. Come on, whatever good intentions they might have had, even they can’t be so clueless and tone deaf not to realise that singing about “no possessions” from their mansions is going to really piss people off when millions have lost their jobs and don’t know how they’ll make ends meet next week, let alone when this is all over. If they really were that clueless then they’ve just had a rude awakening, because judging by the comments I saw on Gal Gadot’s page there was a tsunami of resentment and the attitude of “does us all a favour and get back in your box.”
One person that always impresses me in this kind of thing is Rihanna. She hasn’t popped up doing this kind of thing because as usual, she’s just quietly donating money. You know, the kind of thing that actually helps in these situations. It seems to be that these celebrities that think we need to see their faces and hear their voices would be far better served helping where it counts than assuming that their mere presence is going to do anything at all.
Here’s an idea — instead of making it about you, how about making it about the people who are actually on the front line? Instead of singing to us, post a picture of a nurse that you know through a friend of a friend of a friend. Tell their story, not yours. You’re fine and we don’t need to hear from you. This isn’t about you. There are actual heroes out there doing their part from society who deserve individual recognition, how about you put them in front of your millions of followers instead of milking the spotlight for all it’s worth?