Tuesday, September 20, 2005

On Being Angela Jolie

David Warren's latest column is hilarious:
Turning now to The National Ledger, I learned this week that 27 percent of 1,639 women polled online by StrategyOne "would most like to be like Angelina Jolie in the bedroom" .... [The result] raised more questions than it answered. Perhaps I am obtuse, but it strikes me a sceptic must ask, "How would 27 percent of women know what Angelina Jolie's like in a place like that?" I mean, even I don't know, and I'm a man; and maybe Brad Pitt doesn't know, either. In another of my tabloid trawls, I had encountered the provocative suggestion that Ms Jolie "swings both ways". But is it possible that, at the minimum, she has had intimate relations with 27 percent of the female population? Alternatively, as a person with political interests, I might note a certain fallibility in the art of polling. And here I am thinking less about the danger of unrepresentative sampling, than of irregularities in polling questions themselves. You ask huge numbers of people to reply to a question that is intrinsically absurd, on a subject they can know nothing about. You do not thereby ascertain a truth, nor establish a fact. It is almost like creating an effect without a cause, for the result might conceivably hurt somebody. But whether it does or not, we are left somehow pregnant without issue. It would seem, from my casual electronic forays, that the popular mind has been loaded with such ethereal monsters. And the male and female mind alike (plus any other minds you care to mention) are positively weighted down by weightless beings.
I take Warren's point about ethereal monsters and respond that if he were more plugged in he might know that for a good chunk of the population, celebs are not real people, but brands. 'Being' Angelina Jolie in this sense has nothing to do with knowing what she's really like. It's more like choosing Crest toothpaste over Colgate, or Adidas shoes over Nike. We've evolved to the point where we now buy our personalities a la carte. I'd like Ewan McGregor's speech patterns and Mike Tyson's physique, with a dash of Chesteron's wit and Tolkien's faith. That's to go please.

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