Thanks, Celebrities

Harsh. But fair?

This is brutal:

It’s amusing but I’m not sure it’s quite fair.

Yes, the “We’re all in this together” and feeling sorry for themselves for being cooped up in their mansions has to be grating to those whose jobs force them to risk death on a daily basis, much less those who’ve lost their jobs because of the crisis. On the other hand, I’m not sure what it is the celebrities are supposed to do. Their job is to entertain people, giving them momentary respite. It’s more than many of us can do.

FILED UNDER: Entertainment, Popular Culture, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. wr says:

    We’ve demanded to know every tiny personal detail of your lives for years, we’ve insisted we have the right to judge everything you do or say, but now that we are no longer in the mood, how dare you continue to exist.

  2. Scott F. says:

    Unlike broadcast or cable TV, with social media you’ve got to click on a link. If you are being subjected to well wishes from celebrities or some videos with their opinion of the current situation, you’ve had to actively choose to be.

    It’s on me that I caught the first few moments of the tweet you’ve posted. But, I caught the heavily sarcastic tone almost immediately and shut it off. See, that was easy…

  3. @James:

    I’m not sure what it is the celebrities are supposed to do. Their job is to entertain people, giving them momentary respite. It’s more than many of us can do.


    Speaking of which, I found this amusing: An Impromptu Tour Of Conan’s Humble Home

  4. On a more serious note, I do know that this “celebrities griping” has become a right-wing talking point, as a family member who watches a lot of FNC brought it up out of the blue the other day.

  5. Jen says:

    I choose to focus on things like this, which are amazing and uplifting.

  6. EddieInCA says:

    Here’s the rub. If celebrities were not public during this time, the same people would complain about how selfish those same celebrities were acting.

    Instead celebrities are doing things of which people probably aren’t aware:

  7. Gustopher says:

    Thanks celebrities, for showing us that everyone gets a little stir crazy sitting at home and socially distancing, and that our own reactions are normal and universal. Distancing is hard for a lot of people, harder than it sounds at first.

  8. MarkedMan says:

    When I was a young adult (and not the old adult I am now) I realized that if you were sick with the flu and heaving your guts out, so weak you were just laying your head on the bathroom floor in between, it really wouldn’t matter if you were rich or poor in that moment. You can guess what I was doing when I had that revelation. But afterwards, I started thinking about it and realized the same was probably true for someone with an abusive spouse, or addicted to drugs or with a child addicted to drugs. That led to a further realization that I don’t really see that much difference between rich and poor people in terms of empathy or generosity or, for that matter, cruelty and assholery. The ultra rich can affect more people either way , such as Bill and Melinda’s Gates thirty year long effort to change the world for the better vs the Koch’s and Mercer’s long term effort to keep the poors down. But you are just as likely to meet poor assholes as rich ones, and just as likely to meet someone reaching out a helping hand from either category.

  9. Kathy says:

    @Scott F.:

    Unlike broadcast or cable TV, with social media you’ve got to click on a link.



    “The rich just have more money.”

  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    I agree with Ms. Jackson. I have a low tolerance for rah rah and virtue signaling. But then I’m not one of the people who has ever given a single damn about celebrities. I admire talent and accomplishment. Fame is irrelevant.

    At the same time, though, my wife, who is rather closer to being a ‘celebrity’ than I am thank God, is getting hammered with emails wanting her to do videos for basically everyone who has her email address, which includes multiple publishers and schools and professional groups. Not everyone who does these videos wants to be doing these videos, some of them just want to get on with work.

    Our preferred approach has been to budget a certain amount for charity, support homeless shelters, spousal abuse shelters and food banks. I’d give blood if I wasn’t such a pussy about needles. And also, stay the fuck home so you don’t end up being still more work for some nurse pulling yet another double shift.

    Or if you’re a Trumpie, inject some Lysol and shove a UV light down your throat. I mean, to each his own, right?

  11. Michael Reynolds says:

    I’ve been poor and I’ve been rich and then broke and now I’m doing fine. Through all those changes I have not noticed my virtue increase as my bank account swelled.

    I had a useful moment of revelation when I had restaurant review newspaper* columns in Maine and Virginia. I was still decidedly not rich, in fact I had to hide my car when I went to judge a meal – there was something about a rusted-out, hand-painted, robin’s egg blue Plymouth Valiant that did not signal, ‘gastronome.’ I was simultaneously broke and influential, earning contempt and respect while remaining the same person.

    You are what you are and neither celebrity nor wealth change that.

    *For the yutes reading this, a ‘newspaper’ was the internet made of paper.

  12. Nightcrawler says:

    I don’t get stuff like this, and I never have. I don’t begrudge any of those celebs their money or stuff. I don’t want their money or stuff. I want my own money to buy my own stuff.

    It’s not as if, but for Ellen Degeneres, I’d be doing so much better. Her wealth has zero impact on me.

    I’m not mad at celebrities or rich people in general. I’m mad at the right-wingers for flinging the doors back open before it’s safe and making people whose employers are forcing them to come back to work choose between not being able to pay their bills or getting infected (and possibly infecting and killing other people). They’re going to kill both people and the economy.

    That does have an impact on me, so that’s what makes me mad.

  13. inhumans99 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    That was great, but even better was the Tibco autoplay where he crashes their meeting. Planned or not the exec team on the virtual call were great sports and just further proof that even company execs are humans just like the rest of us.

  14. Nightcrawler says:


    If you get COVID, and things go downhill, it doesn’t matter how much money you have. There’s no cure. You can’t buy something that doesn’t exist.

  15. Michael Reynolds says:

    I would disagree with that. Poor people get sick and worry about their medical bills, or how their family is going to pay the rent with them out of commission. They worry if they die that their kids or spouse may be destitute. (And the difference in lockdown living conditions is stark.) Money makes everything easier, even getting sick and dying. We all die, we don’t all die afraid that our kids will end up in a state home.

  16. Nightcrawler says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    That is certainly true, but I was just talking about the probability of surviving COVID complications period. If Kemp gets infected and deteriorates, no, he doesn’t have to worry about his next of kin being destitute. However, his personal probability of survival won’t be any better than anyone else’s, or it may be only marginally better. He’d get a vent before anyone else, but most COVID patients who end up on vents either don’t make it or wake up so debilitated, they wish they hadn’t. (For this reason, if I get infected and deteriorate, I don’t want to be vented. I want to be euthanized.)

  17. Jay L Gischer says:

    Interestingly enough, the message I took away from that video was that there are lots of people for whom the typical celebrity message does not represent their situation, and they feel invisible. That is, simply being stuck at home with no social contact, while burdensome, doesn’t stack up with losing a loved one, losing your job, or just simply feeling like you’re standing on the edge of the cliff, and weirdly shaped creatures with poky spears are jabbing at you, trying to get you to take that last step.

    I mean, nobody is taking pokes at Tom Hanks, after all.

    My other takeaway is that entertainers have a strong drive to, well, entertain people. If they can’t do it the normal way, they will do it some other way. We need to laugh right now, even if it seems a bit inappropriate.

  18. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I was simultaneously broke and influential, earning contempt and respect while remaining the same person.

    So you, for a time, lived the life Cobain tried to have, but couldn’t get. Reynolds 1, Cobain 0.


  19. Kurtz says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    What’s revoltingly fascinating about the RW obsession with celebrity is that the ones most rabid about following famous people don’t seem to actually pay attention to much of what their targets produce.

    They’re consuming something else.

    Go to any gossip site, and a commenter will call DiCaprio a “piece of shit,” then defend Trump as unfairly maligned in another post.

    I can’t take a position on the DiCaprio, as I only really know about his acting skills–he may indeed be a turd. But Trump? He’s certified organic sun-dried excrement.

  20. de stijl says:

    The disconnect is about money and privilege.

    If you are secure on both fronts, then the stay at home bit seems overwhelming and burdensome because you cannot socialize.

    If you are poor then the overwhelming bit is I have no money and you need to navigate shelter in place and food for you and your family. In the near future the rent you can’t pay now will be due.

    Celebrity solidarity statements ring false because they are about the most shallow interpretation of what shutdown means.

    I am bored vs. I have hungry kids.

    Social “starvation” vs. actual starvation.

    Some folks get it.