When Angelina Jolie showed up at the Golden Globes ceremony, dressed in a billowing slate-colored gown, her hair pulled back and up in a neatly coifed bun, her famous tattoos littering the landscape of her pale, young skin, Brad Pitt at her side, the only thing people could say about her on the news and on the web was that she looked grouchy, bitchy, above-it-all – they were replaying one clip where she was supposedly snooty to American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, who apparently ceased being a public joke the minute Kelly Clarkson became a star.
Seacrest asked the inane question of what the two of them had for breakfast, or what their morning was like at home. “Cereal,” Angelina said tiredly. “We had cereal.” That was apparently her biggest faux pas. She half-snapped at Ryan Seacrest’s ridiculous question to draw out yet more private info from the lovefest that is Brangelina.
When news was learned this past weekend that Angelina’s beloved mother, Marcheline Bertrand, had died at Cedar’s-Sinai the same weekend Brad was to attend the SAG Awards, suddenly everyone understood: she hadn’t been bitchy at all. Her mother was dying. Her mother had just a few weeks left. She has three small children at home, photographers trail her constantly, AND she’s expected to be nice to Ryan Seacrest who wants to know what they were doing for breakfast? Is this really what has become of our great species?
The public has not been smacked down hard enough for this latest embarrassment. I say this as a member of the grubby masses, one who also wondered, “Why the sour-puss, Angelina?” There was a New York Times article about Angelina’s supposed fall from grace, how she went from angelic savior to hated husband-stealer in a few short weeks.
Angelina, however, did not bother trying to argue with us, nor did she want to discuss her mother’s illness Live from the Red Carpet! In fact, the places Angelina goes, the tasks she undertakes, the big picture she gets, the amount of time and money she gives has most of us beat, folks. We have no right to criticize her, especially if our criticisms are going to be that she wasn’t huggy and smiley enough at the Golden Globes. Truth is, it’s a miracle she went at all to that pointless kudos fest, which serves no worldly purpose other than to showcase stars hoping to win Oscars or Emmys someday.
We are part of a giant, hungry, insatiable beast that eats goddesses like Angelina for breakfast. We have a taste for the kind of blood that only celebrities on the decline can provide. After we watch them beg us for our love and attention that we willingly give, and after they do something we disapprove of, we relish the moment where we toss them out of our lives. We don’t need them anymore.
Angelina Jolie is one of the better of our kind. No other actress that beautiful, with that much power and that much attention focused on her has handled it better than she. She never throws cups full of ice, she always smiles and poses for pictures. When the New York Times dug up some supposed diva dirt on her it wasn’t even dirt, really, just stuff people accused her of that was later debunked or proven to be a misinterpretation.
Even worse, Angelina has given us more than most celebrities do. She has spoken candidly, too many times, on television because, at her roots, she doesn’t want to be the kind of person who hides herself. She never had to because we liked her as she was. But now it seems like she’s turned her back on us and is suddenly acting aloof. Now we’ve paid her back in kind.
This is a dynamic that ought not to go unchecked. You can say that Angelina is going to be just fine; she’s the most beautiful woman in the world, has Brad Pitt as a life partner, for god’s sake, has three lovely children and she’s rich and famous. What needs to be checked, though, isn’t Angelina. She has earned her wings and then some. We need to look at ourselves, at how we watch people on the red carpet, and why it is that we expect so much from them.
Finally, we owe Angelina an apology. Anyone out there who had a bad thought, wrote in a letter of complaint about her or railed against everything she’s stood for, ought to take pen to paper and mail a letter to say, “I’m sorry.” Not for Angie’s sake, for ours.