Its only Tuesday and already we’ve had pretty heavy stuff going on across the country – shootings, bombings, stabbings, Corey Feldman…its been exhausting.
As a self-described celebrity gossip junkie, that is the world I generally turn to when things in the “real world” start to feel too heavy. So imagine my disappointment when this morning , amongst all the other very real devastation happening in this world, I wake up to the news that Brangelina is no more.
I know what our informed, educated Redstate readers are saying right now.
Kira, who cares? Why does this even matter? I couldn’t care less what some rich, lefty celebrity does.
It does matter and let me tell you why.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are married. They are now dissolving that marriage. They have 6 children together. They’re not the first people in the world with a big family to end their union, but they are very high profile and the success or failure of that union has larger cultural ramifications.
For years those on the right have complained about Hollywood culture and how it has left them behind. However, the blame for that lies squarely at our own feet. We let the left run away with the culture because we had “more important things to worry about.” As it turns out, “more important things” are boring for the bulk of American society. As a culture we take most of our moral and social cues from entertainment.
As the late, great Andrew Breitbart so accurately (painfully accurately) explained years ago, politics is downstream from culture.
How do you think we ended up having all these ridiculous conversations about bathrooms and gender? Until a year or two ago most people in America wouldn’t have given such a subject a second thought. The transgender population in this country is so tiny it is nearly statistically irrelevant and yet the debate about gender identity and who gets to use which bathroom has never been more heated and more public.
This is because Hollywood took on the subject. When celebrities start making PSA’s and Netflix shows start glorifying this lifestyle or that, people start to notice. The language of gender identity has seeped into the public lexicon because the entertainment industry has normalized it.
Culture matters. I can’t say it enough.
It is no longer an option for people like me who consider themselves conservative or conservatarian or libertarian or whatever you call yourself if you don’t call yourself a liberal. We cannot afford to be high brow about entertainment culture anymore. Our ideas are being beaten in the public arena time after time because we’ve eschewed the main avenue for reaching the masses with those ideas – entertainment.
It matters that Pitt and Jolie are divorcing because they’re parents and the break-down of the family has been one of the most (if not the most) devastating crises in modern American history. The loss of fathers in the black community has nearly crushed us. I, myself grew up without a father and I can tell you it leaves a hole inside of you that can never quite be filled.
Family is the bedrock of any successful society. When I look at the black community I see firsthand what happens when we stop valuing the nuclear family. We needn’t look very hard to see what was once (conveniently) tucked away in black American neighborhoods is now spreading to the general culture. Not only that, its now – like the sexuality issue – being normalized.
When mega-celebrities who are role models of a sort (Pitt/Jolie have been passionate philanthropists and human rights activists) break up their families and drag them through the harrowing trauma of divorce it has ramifications for the rest of us. If we simply scoff at the headlines and say to ourselves, “What do I care?” we are complicit in normalizing the break up of the family unit.
I’m not suggesting you don your sackcloth and go into mourning for 90 days. I’m simply saying that its at least important to recognize that someone’s parents are breaking up, and that this means something to those children…and that divorce does mean something to the people involved.
It means the most to the children.
Hollywood continues to flood us with shows and movies about well-adjusted kids who laugh as their parents try to navigate the consequences of divorce. This is such a horrible lie and misrepresentation. Divorce is always devastating. Always. Be it cordial or nasty. As a child, it tears away all your expectations of safety and comfort. There is no way to “do it right.” Not for the kids.
Don’t dismiss this divorce as celebrity garbage. That’s the exact garbage we’ve allowed to overflow because we thought we were better than everyone else who gathers around to watch the pile grow. Let’s engage in this discussion about family and responsibility and the effect the breaking up a family has on our future leaders.
It is not a waste of time.