Yesterday evening, as I was browsing the Internet, I found myself absentmindedly clicking through a slideshow of “Supermodels: Then and Now.” What can I say? I like fashion, the intriguing artistry and aggravating arrogance behind it. I also really like slide shows, with their wordless imagery and quippy captions. At the end of a long day of reading, slide shows are relaxing.
My wandering attention was vividly arrested, though, by a slide that featured a sleek Linda Evangelista with a fire-engine red bob. So, I read the caption. Apparently, Ms. Evangelista once said this about the life of a supermodel: “We don’t wake up for less than $10,000 a day.”
Ah, the rich and famous — so blissfully disconnected from the reality the rest of us live. Note that I don’t begrudge Ms. Evangelista her $10,000 a day. I’m not a member of the 99 percent (well, technically I am, but you know what I mean). I just think it’s interesting that liberals forget how many members of the one percent are actually … liberals. (I don’t happen to know whether Linda Evangelista leans left, but, if she’s anything like Elle MacPherson …)
George Clooney is like that, a liberal member of the one percent, who, because he travels to the Sudan and speaks out about genocide, is never accused of being “unable to connect” with “the average American.” The guy is worth $160 million — just a little shy of Mitt and Ann Romney’s collective $200 million net worth — but people still talk about him as though he’s a people’s hero and plead for his opinion on politics.
At least, I assume they do. Why else would he — like Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and others — make a point to give political opinions over and over again? Surely they wouldn’t risk alienating half their audiences for any other reason.
Apparently, people also clamor for these guys to run for office because interviewers perennially ask them whether it’s a possibility. In a recent issue of InStyle magazine, for example, an interview with Affleck’s wife Jennifer Garner included the question as to when Ben and Jen are gonna take the political plunge. In an interview pre-taped for today’s “Meet the Press,” Clooney addressed the same question.
Here’s what he had to say:
The actor turned human-rights activist told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that he believes he has more of an impact on U.S. policy now than he would have if he ran for public office. …
“I can actually have an opinion and it may not fit what the U.N. wants and it may not fit what other people want,” Mr. Clooney told NBC. “And so I think it’s a lot easier than running for office. I don’t have any interest in that.”
According to Jesse Watters, Clooney is actually quite nice when he expresses his political opinion in person. Nor could anyone really find fault with his attempts to increase awareness of the horrors that are occurring halfway around the world. Fame can and should be used in accordance with the consciences of those who possess it.
So, it’s not actually anything George Clooney has said or done of late that I find so aggravating: It’s that here, too, is detectable the double standard that so pervades the MSM and the culture. A woman who has enriched herself through beauty or a man who has enriched himself through art and has come to hold liberal views loses no credibility because of wealth but a man who has enriched himself through private equity and has come to hold conservative views does?
Then again, perhaps we should cease to complain about the double standard and instead recognize that, yes, artistry does give the one who possesses it a special kind of clout. If we did that, perhaps we’d begin to meet “the people” where they are — at the movies.