Cult Of Celebrity!

red-carpet

It may be too much to hope for, but it looks as if the terrible, terrible plague that has gripped our planet for far too long may be over.  … SERIOUS PAUSE … Uh – no – not that one, the other one: the soul- eating Cult of Celebrity.  Maybe — just maybe — our unholy obsession with celebrities could be in its final days.

It all started in March when Wonder Woman and her tone deaf (that works on so many levels!) choir trotted out John Lennon’s ode to hypocrisy, Imagine.  Although they meant it as feel-good manna from the ruling class, it didn’t take the peasants more than a few minutes to “imagine” Gal and the gang were a bunch of assholes.  After all, millionaires telling a bunch of people who are having trouble paying the rent to “imagine no possessions” is kinda adding insult to injury.  And from there, it just got worse.  Ellen DeGeneres, the world’s mightiest sycophant, told us that living in her multi-million dollar mansion was like “being in jail.”  Clearly, Ms. DeGeneres has never been in jail, seen a jail or even had a jail carefully described to her.  And of course, since then we’ve all learned that, even as she spoke, her smiles and chuckles production company was treating the staff as if Ellen was the warden.  Then along came Madonna, the Queen of Pop, and named Covid-19 the “the great equaliser.”  Oddly enough, she did it stark naked in a bathtub that probably cost more than my car!  Apparently, some of us are more equal than others, huh, Madge?  Then there was Jennifer Lopez frolicking in her huge backyard; Pharrell Williams, asking for money; Katy Perry, bored out of her mind, and on and on and on.  But for sheer audacity, nothing beats the crew of really, really white people on Twitter, celebsplaining how much Black Lives Matter in their “I Take Responsibility” campaign.  These Malibu militants were giving it their best shot, but it was almost impossible not to laugh at their “Dammit, I’m sincere!” sincerity.  First of all, they’re actors – Duh!  Secondly, we all know their only brush with black anything is probably Will Smith.  And finally, aside from wearing a T-shirt and maybe giving the housekeeper a Christmas bonus, these folks were done.  When they shut off the camera, they were going back to their enormous homes, their manicured lawns, their nannies, their drivers, their personal assistants and a little Grey Goose by the pool.  The message might be “We’re all in this together,” but anyone who’s watching knows we aren’t.

The truth is without Award Shows, Red Carpets, parties, photo-ops and the Late Night Jimmies (Kimmel and Fallon) the celebrity emperor has no clothes.  When push comes to shove and serious stuff is on the table, it’s painfully obvious that celebrities are less than useless.  In fact, they’re part of the problem, because they insist that fame somehow makes them relevant — that their political insights, their social awareness and – OMG! — their medical advice actually means something.  It doesn’t.  It’s just muddying the water.  Personally, I’m praying that, as more and more people discover this, when the New Normal finally gets here, there won’t be any room for these parasites.  We can only hope!

Spelling Counts!

orlando

Valentine’s Day is over; next stop, St. Paddy’s Day.  So, as winter clings to the Northern Hemisphere like a drunk clinging to a lamp post, and Mother Nature and Old Man Winter fight it out to see who marks the calendar this month, let’s find a cozy place out of the wind and rain, take a page out of Puck’s book and wonder “what fools [we] mortals be!”

Celebrity tattoos are as common as hen poop in a barnyard, so it’s no big deal that Orlando Bloom got a new one the other day.  You remember Orlando Bloom: he’s the “actor” who played Legolas, a Middle Earth elf with an emotional range of .07 on a scale of 1 to 1,000.  Anyway, it seems Mr. Bloom was having a little trouble remembering his son’s name (Flynn) and, rather than constantly bother his entourage about it, he decided to get it permanently inked into his arm.  Problem solved?  Not quite!  First of all, Standard Written English wasn’t cool enough for Bloom, so he had it printed in Morse code, a form of communication that’s been dead since Roy Rogers roamed the Earth.  Unfortunately, something got screwed up in the translation, and they spelled the name wrong.  Okay, a “dot” here, a “dash” there; it was an honest mistake.  But here’s the good part.  Nobody noticed!  Obviously, tattoo artists are not known for their cryptographic skills and there’s no app I know of that spellchecks Morse code, but … here’s the deal!

You’re an A-list (high B-list?) movie star.
You’ve got a ton of people around you every day with nothing better to do than suck up to you.
Every single one of them has an iPhone, iPad, iWatch, iWhatever.
Yet, not one of them, from your publicist to your personal assistant, cared enough about you to take 30 seconds and say, “Siri, what’s Flynn in Morse code?”

That, boys and girls, is a cold and lonely life.

Anyway, the ink dried, and there’s Orlando on Instagram, proud as a puppy with a chewed-up slipper.  He’s selfie-d a forearm shiver with what looks like a surgical diagram drawn on it, and the teasing caption reads “new #tattoo can you guess who?”

And here is where we veer off into the land of WTF!

Apparently, Orlando’s Instagram audience includes more than a few people who took the time and trouble to figure out his body art was Morse code (Remember: it’s not a written language.) and then were willing to spend even more time translating it. (I doubt if many people can do Morse code from memory, these days.)  Plus, they know enough about the life and times of Orlando Bloom to realize that this was his son’s name and that the dolt had misspelled it.  Then, they felt morally compelled to publicly point that out to him – a number of times.

At last glance, Orlando and son are doing fine, despite the looming years of therapy.  But honestly, folks!  Our world has a bunch of people with way too much time on their hands.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect

incompetent

After years of trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with our society, last week (quite by accident) I discovered the problem.  It’s called the Dunning-Kruger Effect and it’s the reason our world is riding the Express bus to Crazy Town.

For those of you who haven’t googled it already, the Dunning-Kruger Effect is some serious scientific blah, blah, blah that boils down to this — incompetent people don’t know they’re incompetent.  In fact, they generally believe they’re actually good at what they do. (Explains a lot, doesn’t it?)

Okay, this has been accepted folk wisdom since the time of Socrates.  Most of us kinda know the world is full of arrogant assholes who haven’t got a clue; documenting it has just confirmed our suspicions.  However (and this is the scary bit) given the recent research, there’s a lot of speculation that this phenom is actually growing.  OMG!

The problem is, the 21st century has created a perfect storm for the Dunning-Kruger Effect.  Here’s how it works.  In our totally connected world, any nitwit can post the most cringe-worthy crap on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. and within seconds, tons of people are calling it “incredible,” “amazing” and “awesome.”  This just adds fuel to the fire.  Now, throw in an unhealthy dose of celebrity worship, and suddenly the flames of nitwittery are out of control.  Let’s take a look:

Gwyneth Paltrow is a decent actress.  She was a great Polly Perkins and an acceptable “Pepper” Potts.  She has millions of fans.  But, here’s the deal, folks: she’s not a health care professional.  Her lifestyle, health and welfare company GOOP is nothing more than a walking encyclopedia of quackery, chicanery and out-and-out stupidity.  Yet she boasts millions of disciples.

Jim Carrey, a comedian with zero medical credentials, talks about vaccinations as if he were the Surgeon-General.

Leonardo DiCaprio (a spectacularly gifted actor who didn’t finish high school, BTW) truly believes he has the inside scoop on climate change.

Bono, Sting and Sir Bob Geldorf, a crew of used-to-be musicians, walk with presidents and prime ministers, chatting about the causes and cures of poverty, disease and starvation – and they’re taken seriously.

Russell Brand is not an economist.  Neither is Tom Morello.  And, it’s no stretch to say the accumulated political expertise of Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Alec Baldwin and Angelina Jolie is the ability to cry on cue.

And it goes on and on — from fly-by-night diets to Flat Earth athletes.

But the Oprah Winfrey Award for arrogant incompetence has got to go to Kanye West.  Mr. Kardashian, who freely admits he doesn’t read history books, somehow came to the incredible conclusion that slavery was a choice.  A CHOICE!  And this guy has 27 million plus Twitter followers!

This is insanity, people!

But here’s the scariest of the scary bits.  I haven’t even mentioned the Big Kahuna, the poster boy for the Dunning-Kruger Effect, the beginning, middle and the end of most arguments in 2019 — a certain politician who’s presumably the leader of the free world.  Now, that is scary!