Mar 23, 2010

So let's talk about Angelina Jolie.
No, really.

She's famous, she's beautiful, she's married to one of the world's most notoriously beautiful men, she uses her wealth and fame to help impoverished foreign countries.

These things are not fascinating to me on every level. I mean, sure, I look at a picture of Angelina Jolie and I think "prreettty" but that is about it. That is about the extent of my reaction. She's good looking and reasonably talented enough to not offend my tastes. But she hasn't done a decent movie in years, so she remains mostly uninteresting to me as a celebrity.

And yet, well, she really gets alot of play. Alot of play in that "famous for being famous" way that Paris Hilton gets attention. Famous for being pretty and well connected and living her life with a certain amount of...flair and freedom only the rich and beautiful can exercise.

And this is not interesting to me either. People used to be fascinated by royalty or socialites. Skills are hardly the only calling card to bring on celebrity.

So here is what IS interesting to me: I have come to notice, as of late, even with the limited exposure I get to pop culture, that for a lady who sits around being pretty and is really quite harmless, she certainly inspires alot of anger, annoyance, petty distaste and catty reaction. I mean, really, actually, more than alot of also pretty also moderately talented starlets.
Infact, it wasn't that long ago that I was sitting in the home of a woman my mothers age, and when he image flashed on the screen, she muttered a series of insults that made my head whip around in surprise.
Where, I wondered, did this anger and annoyance come from.

And it's the things people get so angry about: her gall to be adopting so many children, her absolute nerve to not be smiling in every photo etc..etc... It's almost as if her desire to live a life that has more to do with hollywood represents some sort privileged lack of gratitude they just can't stomach.

And then I think about this: the other day I was in the checkout line and I picked up a magazine and there was an interview with someone. Posh Spice? I think. Or. Sorry. Victoria Beckham. I think. Maybe. But she made a comment about how she was never the prettiest or the most talented girl in the room and that she got where she was by sheer will and perseverance.
Now. Now we all know this is not the lord's only truth. There is no doubt a massive amount of luck and some other good connections that could be blamed. But she also had an interesting point: she was not top of the heap. Objectively. She needed to bring something else to the table.
And you look at someone like Madonna who is very pretty and very strong and reasonably, well, in a sense talented with some serious business smarts and you get that same sense. She is funny looking and has a boring voice and sang alot of lame lame songs but is still the biggest music star in the world and she seemed to make that happen by sheer willpower.

And it then I wonder about Angelina Jolie. Because, quite frankly, she IS the prettiest girl in the room. I mean, if you can believe the pictures she very much seems to be someone without a bad angle and with enough beauty to not need a nice dress or good lighting, even, to shine. And she has a famous dad. And she has an acting career that has showcased, sure, a decent amount of talent, enough to not hate her for riding on looks alone. Which is to say. She is lucky. very very lucky. And there was a short period where she was married to Billy Bob Thornton and it made her seem interesting, but it was still this luxury of choice, like she didn't even need a beautiful boyfriend to make a statement. And then she had the most beautiful boyfriend of them all.

So I wonder this: do we just hate truly fortunate people. I don't mean lucky as in they were there, working hard, and got lucky enough to let their modest attributes carry them straight to the top. I mean, is it just very hard to stomach people who really don't HAVE to try. Who are born with an inn to the good life and have such a surplus of beauty and brains as it is that they barely need it.

And if so, why? It seems to me humans used to concoct these deities, these greek gawds of mythic proportions, each one more beautiful than the rest, and we did it for inspiration.
But yet we can't stomach mere mortals with an abundance of natural charms.

I suppose it's because even the drabbest, saddest, least fortunate person can look at someone like Madonna and think "hey, she tried really hard and she got somewhere, if I try, outrageous fortune may hail upon me unseasonably as well. But we look at someone like Angelina Jolie and just know there is not a lesson to learn. We know we aren't going to be reborn again tomorrow with accidentally fantastic lips and standing invitation to the Oscars. And that is hard for us to accept, let alone like.

Or is it something more than petty jealousy and the stark contract of actual true fortune? You tell me.

1 comment:

Mischief Maker said...

I don't have an answer to the question, but a comment overall. I saw somebody respond similar to the situation you described in your post, this over a news story involving Megan Fox. After listening to her belittle and scold for a minute I piped up, "There's nothing wrong with being a beautiful woman." She gave me a surprised and betrayed look, as though as a non-celebrity regular-type woman I am automatically supposed to have a disgust for somebody who is extraordinary in some way that is beyond my own potential. I've never held the fascination, negative or positive, with celebrity. But then again I've never been a keeping-up-with-the-Jones's type. It might take a bit of a competitive personality for that entire scene to inspire any response, beyond the casual observation that you described of "pretty" or "talented" or "has cool clothes."