This Magazine

Progressive politics, ideas & culture

November-December 2020

Dear celebrities, it’s time to log off

Please stop your performative attempts at activism—this moment isn't about you

Rayne Fisher-Quann



Dear Celebrities,

The time has come for you to stop posting. We’re tired of it. Stop tweeting, stop snapping, stop dialing up your Rolodex of similarly-famed friends to orchestrate twee, black-and-white videos lamenting any of the society’s various ills. It’s time to take a step back, go to therapy, and realize that while there certainly is a time for your antics to occupy centre stage, that time is not now!

I understand your confusion: in the past decade, celebrity worship has reached critical mass. Social media not only gave us a whole new window into the lifestyles of the rich and famous, but it also gave us a whole new genre of celebrity. With the introduction of the Influencer, we learned that our lives couldn’t be complete without constant voyeurism into the lives of the richer, so-called hotter, and better-dressed. Social capital has become the dominant market force, and attention its most valuable commodity. You could be famous for as long as you were relevant, you were relevant only so much as you could garner attention, and you could get attention so long as you just kept on talking.

But in the wake of the COVID crisis, the Black Lives Matter movement, and more, the general public suddenly has far more important things to worry about than the musings of people whose handbags cost more than our country’s median income. By throwing society’s existing inequalities into stark relief, this period of social unrest has laid bare how out of touch celebrities really are; and, in a social ecosystem where whole empires are built on seeming relatable and down to earth, this has spelled disaster for the celebrity class. Celebrities, I’m sorry. I know how difficult this must be for you, to find yourself irrelevant in a world that once waited on your every move. But I have a simple solution, and I’m giving it to you for free: Stop talking! You’re making everything worse!

Celebrities, you’re so out of touch—so absolutely detached from a reality that doesn’t revolve around you—that it seems like many of you simply can’t fathom the idea that there are times when your opinion isn’t warranted. You can’t imagine why a video of you smugly humming along to a Beatles song didn’t immediately unite the masses in Kumbaya contentment, you balk at the idea of keeping your pseudo-eugenicist COVID takes to yourselves, you fancy racial tensions shattered after posting an aestheticized #BlackLivesMatter post to your curated feeds. It would be almost sad if it weren’t so infuriating. When I see a Kardashian post yet another video in their billion-dollar mansion, desperately trying to make their #QuarStruggles seem relatable to followers entering their third month of unemployment, I can’t help but feel twinges of pity. You’re victims, in your own way: so blinded by years of debilitating narcissism that you can’t figure out how to exist in a world that’s outgrown you.

Celebrities, I hope for you almost as much as for us that the pandemic will be over soon. I truly hope we can go back to a place where I could seriously make myself care about your breakups and dinner plans and expensive shoes, instead of being caught up in the boring, everyday struggles of my own life, like paying rent and affording food. Watching you desperately grasp at straws of relevancy for an audience that grows more disillusioned with your painfully inauthentic empathy by the day hurts me more than it hurts you—so, please, shut up. Log off Instagram. Somehow figure out how to sustain yourself for a couple of months without trying to rebrand as the voice of the people.

Or, even better, redistribute your wealth!

Much love,

Rayne Fisher-Quann

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