A while back, a guy who writes for a magazine called Radar emailed to alert me of his "exclusive" discovery that Barbara Streisand is totally a hypocrite!!1!
I replied, in so many words: eh.
Apparently it struck a nerve, as he has now gone on to pen an opus that strains mightily to convince us that celebrity eco-hypocrisy is a Very Important Subject that we should all take Very Seriously.
Look, if he wants to spend his time on this stuff, it’s his business. I can see the appeal. It’s a cheap way to generate traffic. The hoi polloi resent being lectured and love to see the rich and famous taken down a notch. It’s a shot of schadenfreude to the lizard brain.
The trade-off, of course, is that you provide Drudge/Limbaugh/Hannity with the next day’s headline.
Is that trade-off worth it? If you’re just after links, sure. But the Wonkette wannabes who write about this stuff don’t want to think of themselves merely as star-fuckers in a media culture filled with star-fuckers. No, they need a veneer of nobility. So we’re told that while mindlessly tribal enviros rally around to defend their patron celebrities, only high-minded journalists like Radar guy can see beyond to the Real Issue. Which is, apparently, this:
Eco-hypocrites undercut the very message they’re trying to peddle. How desperate could the planet’s plight be if the people who present themselves as most concerned about it consider flying first-class commercial an unacceptable sacrifice? Why should anyone bother to carpool when Streisand requires her own convoy?
Why, just the other day I was about to hop on my bike to go to the store when I thought, "Wait a minute, what about Babs?! That bitch doesn’t ride a bike! Why should I?!"
The idea, I guess, is that people won’t accept the word of the vast majority of the world’s scientists, politicians, businessfolk, and activists until it’s clear that, um, the diva community is on board.
Believe me, I’m the last one to overestimate the cognitive faculties of the American public, but this is an awfully extreme degree of vapidity to ascribe to one’s countrymen, especially given the complete absence of evidence. Who are these people who dismiss global warming because of Barbara Streisand’s entourage? Do you know any? The Hannity crowd pretends to, yeah, but does anyone think they wouldn’t find some other dumbass talking point if they needed to?
Whose opinion is actually determined by the behavior of celebrities? I’ll venture a guess: no-damn-body.
Say, as a thought experiment, that all of us who care about global warming rise up with one voice and demand — demand! — that, I don’t know, Leo swear off private jets. Cameron Diaz move into a cottage. Barbara Streisand reduce the size of her whatever. A War on Hypocrisy! Wait, no … a War on Extremist Hypocrifascists!
Would that war change any celebrity behavior? Doubt it. Would it lend any additional credibility to the fight against global warming? Doubt it. Would it quiet the right-wing propaganda machine? Hell no. There’s nothing the Fox hounds would love more than to see the debate conducted in these terms, focusing on messengers rather than message.
The net effect would be this: a few celebrities would be cowed into silence. Fewer people would talk about global warming. Enviros would alienate some allies and strengthen some enemies. That’s it. All in a quixotic quest to stamp out a universal human trait.
Anyway, enough about this silliness. To be clear, I don’t mean to defend Streisand’s entourage. I mean to say I don’t give a shit about Streisand’s entourage. If you do, mistaken views about climate change are probably the least of your problems.
I care about global warming. I don’t think celebrity behavior is going to affect the issue one way or the other, so I don’t bother to write about it.
Radar guy made a different choice. That’s fine. But let’s call it what it is: trivial tabloid gossip.