OPINION: You could have been forgiven for thinking something terrible had happened last Friday. Everyone on my various social networks suddenly gave up on love.
Nobody had any faith in relationships anymore. Someone even asked @BarackObama - who was already rather busy with that small business of the Democratic National Convention - what could be done about the situation.
[pause for keening noises/tears/long, quiet cups of tea]
Typical of the response was Gawker's news piece, titled, in full, Amy Poehler and Will Arnett Are Separating So Go Home and Break Up With Your Boyfriend Because Love is a Lie: "But if they're so amicable, why are they separating? Is this separation intended as some sort of punishment for us? What did you, personally, do wrong to bring this about? What more could you have done to prevent its happening?"
Before you accuse me of being Sally Serious, I get it, I get it; it's a joke. (Mostly.)
And I'm certainly not one to talk: were Ice-T and Coco ever to split, I'd be all over Twitter like a bad rash with a box of Kleenex and a Jackson Browne record. I thought it was a shame when Heidi Klum and Seal split. It's okay to like people together, even if they're people you could never hope to meet.
But is our "concern" about the relationship woes of our favourite celebrities genuine concern, or an ugly symptom of online solipsism? Spending a day tweeting about how the Arnett/Poehler divorce - like Heidi and Seal, or Zooey Deschanel and that bloke from Death Cab (jokes, I know his name is Ben Gibbard) before them - has ruined our faith in love is really all about us. It may seem party-pooper-ish to suggest it, but chances are the (ex) couple themselves probably feel worse.
Furthermore, it seems odd to put so much faith in celebrities' ability to "make it work". A common cry upon the news of yet another Tinseltown relationship breakdown is "If they can't make it work, how can I?" when in fact the opposite is probably more true. Hollywood (industry, or perhaps construct, as opposed to the slightly grimy suburb), scrutinised as it is by the klieg lights of the gossip industry, is a tough place to exist. It is surely even tougher to try and have a relationship there.
Everything about the Entertainment IndustryTM is about spectacle and facade. To what extent do we actually know any celebs had "got it right", relationship wise, other than by gleaning some sort of vague sense of what we piece together from interviews (which are always edited), red carpet photos (which are also edited) and the occasional candid shot (which we know are hand-picked by gossip editors according to what story they want to tell)?
In the compelling reality/documentary series Take This Job, a pair of paparazzo were shown making up a story from the photos they'd obtained of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston (who were, at the time, happily married). After "hosing them down" (setting the camera's flash to go off so often that the star becomes dazed) outside a restaurant, the snappers decided to sell a "Brad and Jen get in an argument" story by picking the shots in which the pair looked annoyed. Chances are that, in reality, they'd just had a great dinner and were pissed off they'd been door-stopped by the paparazzi.
The thing is, we have no real insights into why any high-profile relationship failed. We will never know if Amy Poehler insisted on leaving used wax strips in the basin, infuriating clean-freak Will Arnett. We can't know if Will Arnett liked to watch championship bull riding while wearing a Snuggie. Or if they couldn't decide how to raise the kids. Or if they should replace the wallpaper in the rumpus room. Or if one of them thought all the politicians in the world were lizard people.
We just don't know. Because we just don't know them.
And in that way, perhaps it's better to just acknowledge the sadness of love lost, and families split, and move on. It's what they're trying to do, after all.
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