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You know we’re done with celebrity when even Jennifer Aniston suffers backlash.
Her offense? Posting a photo of her newest Christmas ornament, memorializing “Our first pandemic 2020.”
And off she went, trending on Twitter for being — like so many of her cohort this year — tone-deaf, insensitive and out of touch.
“Why do celebrities not use logic?” went one typical anti-Aniston tweet. “Why?”
Among the many disruptions brought by COVID, our relationship to fame, Hollywood and celebrities has also shifted. As it turns out, they need us more than we ever needed them.
As the world went into lockdown, movie theaters and music venues closed and blockbuster releases were put on pause. While the rest of us worried about our next paycheck or the nationwide toilet paper shortage or whether a trip to the grocery store would kill us, we saw what happens when celebrities don’t get their daily dopamine attention-hit.
First came the super-ill-advised and unasked-for “Imagine” video, spearheaded by Gal Gadot (whose much-anticipated “Wonder Woman 1984” did, in a movie star’s worst 2020 nightmare, go straight to streaming). Along with Gadot were Kristen Wiig, Jimmy Fallon, Natalie Portman, Sarah Silverman, Will Ferrell and far too many other stars singing from their beautifully appointed homes, basking fireside or strolling through expansive, verdant backyards.
Such was the public recoil that even The New York Times weighed in. “Far from inspiring in a time of crisis,” the paper said. “The brutality is relentless.”
Yet celebrities, rather than take heed from such intense and justified scorn, doubled down. Was it out of cluelessness or callousness? Let’s take a quick case-by-case review.
Chris Cuomo, the insufferable younger brother of tyrant Gov. Cuomo, contracted COVID and was then spotted around East Hampton maskless and yelling at people. Next, he faked his emergence from “quarantine” on CNN. He was most recently spotted flexing in his apartment building’s elevator, admiring himself in its mirror, oblivious to the smirks of three neighbors riding with him.
We are all Chris Cuomo’s neighbors now.
Also, just days in, J.Lo and A-Rod posted video of her son serving them soft drinks from his hoverboard. They also had a gym open up just for them before going on Facebook to scold the rest of us.
“Hey everyone,” said our down-to-earth pal Jenny from the Block. “We want you to please stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
Audacious doesn’t begin to cover it.
Zero lessons learned, because (as of yet anyway) why bother? Just a few days ago, Lopez was photographed in a vulgar Christian Dior bucket hat and bundled up in fur as she prepped for her New Year’s Eve performance. Right before that, she posted a photo from her private jet, asking us to “text me at (305) 690-0379 which songs you want to hear on my setlist!!!”
I can think of plenty of other thoughts the public would like to share with Lopez right about now.
The list goes on: Madonna whining that COVID was “the great equalizer” from her rose-petaled bathtub. David Geffen’s superyacht selfie. Ellen DeGeneres broadcasting from her gorgeous estate, a wall of greenery behind her floor-to-ceiling windows, complaining that quarantine was “like being in jail.” Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas’ staged and incessant paparazzi walks during lockdown. Arnold Schwarzenegger posting videos from his hot tub, puffing on a cigar or from his kitchen with his mini-ponies. Harry and Meghan’s logorrheic online videos. Chrissy Teigen and countless Kardashians engaging in luxury travel, still, now, as numbers spike and ICUs verge on overflow.
Meanwhile, it’s the non-famous heroes who resonate: The frontline workers and health-care providers New Yorkers cheered for every night at 7. The wealthy Secret Santa profiled by CBS News who anonymously mailed $1,000 cash to 100 carefully chosen essential workers in need. Nathan Apodaca, the Idaho potato warehouse worker longboarding and lip-syncing to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” while sipping an Ocean Spray, giving us all a lift.
That TikTok video sent Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 hit soaring to the top of the charts. And when Apodaca revealed he shot the video after his beater broke down and he longboarded to work, Ocean Spray bought him a new truck. Cash donations from around the country poured in.
In the perfect epitome of this new moment, the elevation of the everyman at the expense of the famed, here came Mick Fleetwood himself, reenacting Apocada’s ride and expressing gratitude.
“Did we expect it?” Fleetwood asked NPR. “No. Are we happy and delighted? Absolutely.”