Opinion: Let’s just imagine no celebrities instead

by Peter Heck · Mar 21st, 2020 9:20 am

Social isolation and self-quarantining is tough, particularly in an entertainment-driven, service industry-rich country like ours. There are some things that make it better – reconnecting with family, binging on Netflix, Bible study. There are some things that don't make it better – things like this:

CBS calls that montage moving. If by moving, they meant provoking full body dry heaves, or prompting uncontrollable facial cringing, I'd say they nailed it. But if they meant that this hodgepodge of the world's most pampered elites singing off-key the lyrics to one of the most inane, nihilistic, self-contradictory, and morally repugnant song ever to be penned (and yes, I'm including everything by Nickelback in that assessment), somehow inspired the rest of humanity to lose sight of their current troubles, I'm going to have to disagree.

First, is there not something insanely ill-conceived in having multi-millionaires sing "imagine no possessions" from their 10,000 square foot palatial summer home to a country of people holed-up with four other people in their modest houses, dining on Chef Boyardee? Instead of lecturing those folks with a fraction of a percent as many possessions as they themselves have, why doesn't this cadre of stars think about spending some of their own fortunes to help stabilize businesses and communities at risk of collapse?

Second, if anything, this pandemic crisis should be reminding us all that it is the definition of unwise and imprudent to simply live "for today." Recognizing our own fragile mortality should drive us to set aside childish things, temporal pleasures, and selfish pursuits to live for something far greater. Besides, here's a glimpse of those who are "living for today" like these celebrities encourage, coincidentally also shared by CBS News a day prior:

Those "dreamers," as John Lennon's garbage song would call them, have been receiving universal condemnation for their selfishness. I guess at least they can take heart in the fact that Will Ferrell, Mark Ruffalo, Natalie Portman, and company have their backs.

Third, it's remarkable that before singing "imagine there's no countries" in the midst of a pandemic, this simple fact didn't dawn on our chorus of scholars:

It's sovereign countries that have allowed us to maintain quarantines, coordinate response, conduct research, and communicate effectively. A global free-for-all is not what you're looking for in the midst of a contagion.

Finally, I do understand the temptation for those who have everything at their fingertips to conclude that this world is as good as it gets. Assuming no eternal justice likely assuages their sense of guilt as they live in opulence compared to 99.9% of their fellow humans. Dismissing the notion of eternal glory likely doesn't bring discouragement to those whose streets are already paved with gold.

But the truth is that imagining no sense of eternal justice is as horrible a thought as one could ever contrive. And proposing that all awaiting human souls on the other side of the grave is emptiness removes the singular hope that many who are stricken with poverty, pain, or yes pestilence, cling to.

There's nothing honorable, helpful, or moving about that. Maybe we should just imagine no celebrities instead? Ahh, that's a comforting thought.

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