In these dark times, you’d think a jump-cut video in which quarantined celebrities take turns warbling lines from John Lennon’s “Imagine” would be a balm for our souls.
You’d be wrong. If this all-star singalong, recently spearheaded by Gal Gadot in Day 6 of her isolation, was supposed to soothe our jangled nerves and provide streaming succour to inspire us to endure indefinite lockdown, it had the opposite effect. After watching these stars massacre one of my favourite songs, I had to fight the urge to break exile, say a final goodbye to my wife and kids, and then bolt outside to lick lampposts in a desperate attempt to get infected.
I don’t care what anyone says. This video is worse than this virus.
With all of the horrors unfolding during this global pandemic, it’s easy to lose sight of a secondary tragedy in the making: cooped-up celebrities losing their minds. People, if we don’t vanquish COVID-19 soon, in addition to the global carnage and economic misery, we will also be emotionally scarred by impending videos of Taylor Swift having staring contests with her cats in flannel jammies or Harry Styles serenading broccoli while wearing only a pearl necklace.
The other day, Cardi B posted a video that begins with her standing a few feet away from a Jenga tower erected on a crate. The structure is as tall as she is. Then without explanation or a grasp of Jenga rules, she charges, head first, like an angry bull at a matador. She sends the wooden blocks crashing down as chill music plays in the background.
Then she grabs at her skull and bellows, “OW!” Yes, less than two weeks into isolation, Cardi B is flirting with head trauma by going kamikaze on innocent board games. She has lost her mind.
Madonna recently posted an Instagram video in which she got metaphysical about this novel coronavirus while soaking in a tub. The outbreak, as she sees it, is a “great equalizer.”
“That’s the thing about COVID-19,” she tells fans. “It doesn’t care about how rich you are, how famous you are, how funny you are, how smart you are, where you live, how old you are, what amazing stories you can tell.”
The blowback from her “great equalizer” soliloquy was so swift that, by Tuesday morning, the video was deleted. I get what Madonna was trying to say. She’s not wrong: all mass contagions are equal-opportunity threats. But if your message is how we are all in this together, maybe don’t deliver it in a swank bathroom that costs more than most family cars while frolicking in a milky elixir as rose petals float on the surface and cling to your nipples?
Madonna, the “we” now includes millions who can’t leave their cramped apartments and are bidding for toilet paper on eBay while wondering how they will make next month’s rent. Your quarantine is very different from their quarantine. It just is. So this COVID monstrosity is not a great equalizer; it’s a great eye-opener on disparity based on wealth and social status.
Also, during this global crisis, I’m really going to try my best to not be as childish or mean as usual. But what happened to Madonna’s face? She looks like a taut, creepy doodle sketched by a drunk anime artist. Madonna’s face scares me more than COVID-19. That face is a post-pandemic cautionary tale on the dangers of not aging gracefully and hastily slingshotting toward cosmetic intervention.
OK, let’s get back to how celebrities are going insane under quarantine.
And as the next exhibit, allow me to present a video shared by actress Rita Wilson. Along with her husband, Tom Hanks, Wilson was recently diagnosed with COVID-19 in Australia. They are recuperating, wonderful news. Less wonderful is the video Wilson recently shared on social media, in which she raps to Naughty by Nature’s “Hip Hop Hooray.”
I adore Wilson. But watching her in a bandana tap into her inner Eminem and ironically keep it real while belting out old-school hip hop is like hitting up Taco Bell in search of truffles. And then I scan this week’s quarantine celebrity-vid hinterland and see Sir Patrick Stewart has vowed to read a Shakespearean sonnet every day and Neil Diamond has written new social-distancing lyrics for “Sweet Caroline” and Drake, after testing negative, is giving fans a virtual tour of his bonkers sneaker closet. My heart breaks for the rich and famous.
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You and I, we can cope with whatever this pandemic brings. But these glitzy lunatics who need to be in the public eye are obviously finding private life to be harrowing. You can see it in their lost eyes.
They are used to being out and about, in the spotlight. And now they are trapped in unnatural habitats — their homes. In that “Imagine” video, Will Ferrell’s hair is standing on end, as if he was jolted with an electrical shock while trying to fix an old transistor radio. These poor celebrities are alone and cut off from publicists, writers, agents, makeup artists, stylists and, in some cases, mirrors. They are chafing under self-isolation.
Showbiz, as it turns out, is a team sport. And left to their own devices during a global pandemic, our beloved entertainers are proving to be not very entertaining at all. God bless them for trying to provide distraction. But with every unscripted speech or unwanted song, instead of inspiring citizens to stay apart, they are making us want to run into the arms of strangers to commiserate.
Celebrities, I implore you, no more verité videos and quarantine streaming.
You are only making us realize how life as we knew it is on hiatus.
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