South China Morning Post
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Yonden Lhatoo marvels at the non-existent personal connections people are making with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie upon news of their divorce
Omg! The world is running out of weeping emojis. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are getting divorced.
I usually couldn’t give a hoot about celebrity romances and the inevitable break-ups that follow, but there’s no escaping the global hysteria over “Brangelina”.
Even a senior colleague, who normally comes across as one of the most level-headed editors I’ve met in the news business, was swooning over a line she read in Vogue magazine: “Today shall go down as the day love died.”
Puh-lease. If you combined all the world’s exploding Samsung phones into one mega blast, it would still be extinguished by the “love is dead”-themed cry fest that has waterlogged the internet and social media platforms.
Most of the reactions project shock and despair. “Honestly, how do people expect me to still believe in love after this?”; “How is there hope for anyone else? There is no love in this world”; “I don’t know what to believe in any more”; “If love fails them there is no hope for us muggles”.
Some are defiantly supportive: “If Angelina Jolie doesn’t need a man, I don’t need one either.”
Others are opportunistic: “Ladies, Brad Pitt is single again!”
Or philosophical: “If a couple with millions of dollars, six kids and a brand of overpriced rosé wine can’t make it, we should all just give up now.”
The day of the earth-shattering announcement, #Brangelina saturated Twitter with well over 700 mentions a minute – more than triple that of the ongoing UN General Assembly meetings.
It’s good to know that the world has its priorities straight.
Of course, there are sensible types around as well who get the supreme irony of it all. “Help, my heart is breaking for humans I don’t actually know personally.”
I would replace “humans” with a more appropriate phrase: “super-rich celebrities who really couldn’t care less about our delusional connections to their ups and downs while they enjoy luxuries in life that the vast majority of us can only dream of”.
They eat, sweat and defecate like the rest of us. They shed hair, grow old, catch unglamorous diseases and die, just like any other Homo sapiens. And, yes, they also get married and divorced.
Let me clarify that I’m not deriving any sadistic glee from the break-up of “the most beautiful and inspiring couple in Hollywood” – whatever that means. I don’t know them and I’m just not bothered enough to be sad or happy about it.
Judging from all the media reports, the male half of Brangelina has already found a new love. The other is “beautiful and brilliant” enough to get any man she wants, if the very fans who are crying for her are to be believed, so why the tears?
Serial monogamy is a way of life in Hollywood. Give them a few years, if not months, and they’ll each move on to the next great romance. And there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s only something wrong with the people outside the couple’s social circles overreacting to something that doesn’t really concern them.
Celebrities themselves have made pretty astute observations about marriage and separation.
Monica Bellucci: “When people divorce, it’s always such a tragedy. At the same time, if people stay together it can be even worse.”
Joan Rivers: “Half of all marriages end in divorce, and then there are the really unhappy ones.”
Picture me as I wrap up this column now. I’m holding up one hand and rubbing the tips of my thumb and forefinger together.
It signifies the world’s smallest violin playing a mournful tune for Brad and Angelina – and for all those out there who think love is dead now. Get a life.
Yonden Lhatoo is a senior editor at the Post