I saw in a headline the other day that Madonna and Robert de Niro are signatories of some celebrity petition calling for things to ‘not return to normal’ after ‘this is all over’. They would like to see things move away from extreme consumerism. As usual, I didn’t bother to do any research, and didn’t even bother to read the whole article, not even more than that titillating headline because I would like to let my mind run with the idea. Consequently, I’m not even aware of who the other 200 co-signatories of this pact are.
That does not matter. It is enough to know that they are people whose opinion is considered to matter, therefore, they must be famous and they must be wealthy. This means that their names are known, probably because what they produce is consumed in large quantities by us proles.
Just those two names, Madonna and de Niro, music and film. It is very hard to justify the immense wealth that success in those two fields brings. Some may say that they have worked really hard for the money, but I would not agree. Try digging holes in solid ground with a shovel if you want to know what hard work is. These two have produced a product that many people wanted to consume, I can agree with that, so how would curtailing consumerism work for people like these?
Firstly, let me say that I do not begrudge them their wealth. I would very much like to have the kind of money that they enjoy, as long as it didn’t make me into the kind of wanker that it seems to make people into. So, good luck to them. But, when it gives them the kind of arrogance that allows them to make statements like, ‘we want to see and end to consumerism’, I have to draw the line. Does this mean that they would sell the many houses in different countries, distribute their money amongst the poor, and come to live down the road from me? Would I be able to wave to Madonna as she waits for the bus to Tesco, or would Bob be down the pub with ordinary people when his pension comes through?
You see why I have trouble with this whole plan, it almost certainly would involve them making publicity material to promote the anti-consumerism message, because that is what they are good for and nothing else. Every year you see ‘celebrities’ doing stuff to raise money for charity, but you don’t see them get a job actually doing something useful that doesn’t involve making their brand bigger and more visible. They don’t get to where they are by being useful, they get there by being good at self-promoting. It is just my opinion, but de Niro hasn’t made a film worth watching since Taxi Driver or Raging Bull, so he’s probably feeling quite redundant and low-profile these days. Madonna is a relentless whore for publicity of any kind and her music, if you can call it that, has always been pretty rank, relying on raunchy film clips and gimmicks to give it shock value.
So these two, and as I said, I don’t know who else is party to this bullshit, are probably looking to rejuvenate careers which are dead in the water. They can’t continue in the business where their names were made so this is just another form of bigging-up their brands, or consumerism in other words.
Unless they intend to divest themselves of their wealth and live like ordinary people, which is about as likely as Boris Johnson telling the truth, the message is for us and not for them. It will involve them telling us how we should stop buying so much stuff, or we should stop being acquisitive and following their example. The same example that is screamed out of every telly all over the world, the standard that we are supposed to aspire to. It is not about making good music or producing something that makes us happy it is about making something that sells, or else it is substandard. It is not enough to write stuff, if it is not a best seller then we are quietly told that it is not real writing. And behind all this is the drive for more and more wealth and more stuff.
Do not get the wrong idea, I want to make lots of money so I can live the life that rich people have, or at least, I think that I do. It is just as possible that I don’t really, I just think that I do because it is the message I have heard all my life. This is what you should be after.
Being lectured on not consuming so much by people who are in the position to lecture me by dint of massive consumer machinery, the film industry and the music industry, seems highly hypocritical and that is why I will not be following up on the attention grabbing headline.
If the headline had read; ‘Madonna and Robert de Niro forswear all personal wealth that has ties to consumerism to work as cashiers at Walmart or whatever the Hollywood equivalent of Tesco is, then I would have been interested. The thought of what kind of ‘Lockdown’ the two of them have been suffering through that allowed this kind of brainwave makes me wonder if they even know what consumerism actually is. I mean, what aspect of recent life has brought this on? Was it the prospect of millions of Americans being thrown out of their employment that inspired them to tell people to shop less. Making virtue of a necessity would be another way of putting that message
Does anyone in the lap of abject luxury in which both of these people undoubtedly live, ever look around and actually see how wide the divide is between themselves and the people who waste their hard earned money on the drivel that they pump out? There must be a pretty high and thick firewall, I’d suggest, to prevent such ideas breaking through, and if there is an inkling, it only results in this kind of initiative as a balm for their consciences.
Let’s see how this develops then. When the world is living in poverty, brought on by this latest crash engineered by the moneyed elites, if the virus scam ever finishes playing out, it is unlikely that there will be much cash available to purchase unnecessary rubbish. This will make their message superfluous anyway. It is to be hoped that they will fade away into irrelevance and wither as their publicity machine has nothing to feed upon.
Maybe I will get my wish and I can refuse to lend de Niro ten quid for a beer as he hangs around down the high street. Or be able to drop a low-denomination coin into the hat of an elderly Madonna as she stiffly shuffles through some irrelevant dance routine trying to make enough to put another fifty pence into the meter.
My message to them as they seek to keep their consumer-generated wealth and pull up the ladder behind them would be, read the above and get away to fuck.