Celebrities Aren’t Real People

An analysis on the Brangelina Split

Illustrator: Emily Hill

Illustrator: Emily Hill

Upon hearing the dreadfully tragic news that Hollywood’s most quintessential couple, the physical manifestation of true love, Brangelina, was splitting up, I did what any sane and non-heartless mortal would do: wrapped myself in a blanket, made some Chamomile tea, and wept profoundly whilst watching Mr. and Mrs. Smith in a desperate attempt to revive my belief in true love.

…Or did I?

In actuality, when I heard the news of the Brangelina split, I let out one of those little half-laughs where you sort of blow air out of your nose faster than usual—more of a grunt, really. Then I went back to washing my breakfast dishes.

Here’s the deal: I don’t care about the Brangelina breakup. Like, I aggressively don’t. Does that make me a bad person? I mean, they’re real people with real lives and real friends and real children (dozens of them, I’ve heard) whose lives this divorce will likely drastically impact. All I can focus on, though, is the grand meme of it all.

I don’t care about the Brangelina breakup. Like, I aggressively don’t.

The internet—or the media in general, I suppose—has a tendency to depersonalize people, celebrities especially, by showing us a segmented, often branded outlook of who they are. The lives of celebrities are like a spectacle to us. We watch them on TMZ, browse their Instagram accounts, make memes with their photos, even start fan clubs and make T-shirts—but we don’t really know who they are. Angelina Jolie could be a cyborg commissioned by the CIA to test humanity’s ability to tolerate intense beauty for all I know. She’s not real to me, because celebrities aren’t real to any of us. They exist only in our minds as broken images of the people we (and their PR teams) construct them into being.

So, no, I don’t care whether possible cyborg Angelina Jolie remains hitched to also possible cyborg Brad Pitt. I have dishes to do.