Tuesday, March 24, 2020

You Peasants Are All In This Together


off-guardian |  The rush to elevate self-isolation to Olympian heights as a way to combat the spread of COVID-19 has gotten to the celebrities. Sports figures are proudly tweeting and taking pictures from hotel rooms (Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton being a case in point). Comics are doing their shows from home. Thespians are extolling the merits of such isolation and the dangers of the contagion.

All speak from the summit of comfort, the podium of pampered wealth: embrace social distancing; embrace self-isolation. Bonds of imagined solidarity are forged. If we can do it, so can you.

The message of warning varies in tones of condescension and encouragement. Taylor Swift prefers to focus on her cat. “For Meredith, self-quarantining is a way of life,” she posted on Instagram. “Be like Meredith.” Meredith, of course, had little choice in the matter.

John Legend delivered a concert on Instagram, wife Chrissy Teigen beside towelled and quaffing wine. “Social distancing is important, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. I did a little at-home performance to help lift your spirits.”

Then there was Arnold Schwarzenegger, who actually boasted two miniature ponies. “We will get through this together.” So good of him to let us know.

Others, like model Naomi Campbell, can barely hide their revelations, moments of acute self-awakening amidst crisis. 

A long dormant, cerebral world, awoken by a virus. 

Similarly, singer Lady Gaga has found that within that deodorised, heavily marketed form of celebrity is the heart of a human. “This is reminding me I think a lot of us,” she reflected on Instagram “what it is to both feel like and be like a human being.”

Self-isolation has seen the rich with their entourages making an escape for holiday homes and vast retreats. Then come the eccentric and the slightly ludicrous options: the well-stocked and equipped bunker; the safe room. Such an approach is far more representative of the estrangement between haves and have-nots.