Lachlan Mitchell just gets mad. Won’t even try to say otherwise.
In New Zealand, we’ve been pretty lucky to not have the imminent collapse of society hanging over our heads – many of us have lost and will continue to lose our jobs, and by no means are we in the clear or have even seen the worst of this, but we have a chance of keeping our head above the water that the failed state of America simply does not. My anxiety and general fears have felt like they were exponentially increasing, but in context, I am aware of the relative luck I & many others have in this global meltdown. In my paranoia, I have very sparingly left the house in over a week, over two by the time of publication, aside from a secluded swim or a walk or what have you. I’m being responsible, but I’m already getting a little antsy and a little agitated. However, I am generally of a calm persuasion, able to channel my feelings into a nice long round of Civ V and exacting a fair but restrictive rule over my Russian Empire via Catherine the Great, with enough Great Wonders that my state could be considered the cultural centre of multiple worlds.
That was until I saw the ‘Imagine’video as started by Gal Gadot. Now I’m just mad.
I can so easily go on a socialist rant on a dime, but it feels almost superfluous when these people are doing the job for me in a way that does not necessitate any addition. That’s not to say that I won’t go on said rant anyway, however. Like, let’s get fucking real here.
My literal job at Craccum currently relies on the perpetuation of celebrity culture, and I am far from innocent in holding up the power of pop culture like it’s the Ark of the fucking Covenant, but does anyone here give a shit about what these people are saying? Do we truly give the tiniest atomic-level fuck about the empty well wishes of these insipid little Malibu residents? What joy, what emotional sustenance were we supposed to take from an utterly tone-deaf proclamation of ‘we’re suffering too!’, sung to the spineless ballad of John fucking Lennon? There’s a grand blowback on social media, which is great. It’s cringe beyond anything else, but it’s cringe to a level that we so rarely see played out in public. It’s beyond played out to focus on the utter hypocrisy of ‘Imagine’, so I won’t. And you might be thinking, ‘wow, they’re a little worked up over a harmless video that meant well’. I understand how such a thing can simply be handwaved as mere cluelessness.
But, like, lmao. This is the sort of thing from the wealthiest of the wealthy that does so much more than annoy or create feelings of cringe – it’s such a perfect encapsulation of why people are so mad. Demonstrably, furiously mad. The world is facing quite literally the crisis of a generation, an existential fear that climate change has not quite summoned up in the masses – an unseeable virus that could incapacitate you, and has struck the global ‘economy’ down with a fury not seen since Kratos impaled the Olympic Pantheon on his blades. And it doesn’t even care! Virus go brrr haha! And in the context of such a black swan event that millions will not survive, does it not inspire the slightest bit of radicalisation in one’s moral fibre to see fucking Natalie Portman sing about ‘imagine no possessionssss’ while they are holed up in compounds that could see the Rapture happen with little adjustment to their lives? We don’t care about the well-wishes of Mark Ruffalo – he’s a nice guy, but Jesus, really? You could bottle up the class consciousness being created right now.
I don’t honestly quite know where I’m going with all this – I never do when I’m in one of these moods. I don’t wish to focus solely on the sheer ludicrousness of the Imagine video, it’s just such a keenly visual method of the uber-wealthy practically scrambling to offer themselves on the altar for public vengeance. We’ve all internalised the joke of ‘thoughts and prayers, thoughts and prayers’ about American shootings, and like, we know how empty-headed and empty-willed it is. We, as a collective, know that. But there’s something so viscerally laughable about the total delusion of ‘deigning to help the povos’ in this crisis that I think is truly waking a lot of people up on a level that simply couldn’t have been imagined before. It’s not the kind of laughter you sustain any true sense of mirth from, but it’s laughter nonetheless.
I’m not trying to tar all with the same brush. I’m being incredibly mocking and critical, but it would be unfair to not highlight those that are earnestly seeing the problems inherent here. For example, Britney Spears is paying hundreds of people’s bills – no questions asked, either – and posted a photo calling for redistribution of wealth. She even directly identified with the socialist movement! Maybe the red spandex suit in Oops was a hint we were too foolish to recognise all these years! The immediate thought of many has been ‘well, she’s Brit Brit, she doesn’t really understand what it means’. Hell, I won’t lie, I adore Miss Spears and that was one of my initial feelings. However, that’s so… callous. Calling myself out for that one. Does her idea of what ‘redistributing wealth’ means really matter? Does it matter how dumb people think she is, lol? She’s clearly understood what people need during a time where we’re likely going to see the largest rate of unemployment ever seen in the history of her country – direct action, stepping beyond Being Britney Spears and being a good person in a way that directly impacts a person’s daily wellbeing. So it doesn’t matter what she thinks about wealth redistribution when she’s internalised the principle of it in a way these aforementioned fucks haven’t even bothered to try doing. Maybe it’s because her experience of fame and Being Rich has been one of our generation’s cautious tales of abuse, and that her fight for autonomy is gearing up to be a landmark court case in mental health rights in her homeland. Maybe it’s to do with having all of her material wealth kept in the hands of people who didn’t earn it, and being subjected to Being Treated Like An Idiot for 15 years. Maybe she’s just as mad as the rest of us. No matter the cause, she is a transparent example of how even someone we can so easily stereotype as an airhead has enough sense to recognise what the people need. I’ve always gone to bat for that woman, and I really hope it all works out for her.
In the context of such a clear-hearted show of generosity, you can see why many are so cynical, so ready to laugh without joy at the cluelessness of the rich that don’t have any idea what they are doing. Like… it’s so fucking LAUGHABLE to see Lionel Richie, in all of his wealth, suggest that ‘We Are The World’ should be brought back to help save the people during this crisis. Is that not one of the bitterest laughs you’ve had in a long while? That mocking anthem of abject tomfoolery? No, please Lionel, bring back Diana Ross and Huey Lewis. Please, we’re crying out for it. On God, give us that fated (and feted!) reunion of The Supreme and The News.
Please Gal, please Lionel. Don’t bring yourself to actually imagine why poor people can’t go get themselves tested, or could be financially destitute from not being able to work. Or knowing they’re sick, but living so close to the wire that missing work would leave them homeless. And will leave them homeless. I know money is a blinder, but Christ, it’s not fucking glaucoma. You can take off the sunglasses to see the gallows if this sort of sheer cluelessness towards an increasingly frightful, an increasingly furious people, doesn’t abate.
Imagine that, Wonder Woman.