Angelina is really happening

In her continued attempt to bridge the gulf between Real news and Foofy news, Angelina Joli is adopting a baby girl from Ethiopia. Kudos to her, though I sense she’s doing this just to foil her critics, like me, who’d rather label her as a darling of the Foof. Apparently she’s even bringing Pitt over to her side. Did she convince him to dye his hair though? Not so good, Brad–the light hair draws attention to your pockmarks.

I happened to catch the soft-core crapfest that is Troy on HBO last night. The gods must be rolling around on their hilltops while watching this one, which fetishizes Brad Pitt’s belly button and Orlando Bloom’s hairless chest more than the classic story of the Iliad, which is almost a back story that supports the display of Brad’s glutes. It’s shot in this weird, digital-y soft light and when the director–Wolfgang Peterson, who directed the genuine classic Das Boot and the not-so-genuine classics Air Force One and Outbreak (though I like Dustin in that one)–wants to call attention to something he uses this grainy, two- or three-second slow-mo effect that frankly looks cheap and slutty.

So maybe Angelina can bring Pitt around from crapcore like that film to more stuff like his recent performances, including his speech at the London Live 8 concert (“let us be the ones to say we dont accept, we are not satisfied, let us be outraged, let us be loud, let us be bold”).

I’m conflicted about the role celebrities should play in calling attention to Things that are Really Happening. For all his bullshit I admire Bono for using his massive ego in the service of one of the noblest causes on earth, and it’s arguable that the recent relief of African debt would not have been possible without the support of Bono’s group, DATA. And Angelina seems like a true warrior herself. For me, it’s enough that she made the Foofy news with her story about adopting an Ethiopian baby, which must have entered her calculus as she made her decision. But what about these gripes about Live 8 being a vehicle for celebrity and, despite its earnestness, being incapable of focusing on the truth of what’s happening in Africa? As one blogger from Kenya wrote (thanks to Global Voices Online):

If a concert in Africa would have me sceptical, words cannot describe just how I fail to see how the remotest benefit a 1 million strong concert in Edinburgh will be derived by a poor fisherman in Lamu. I don’t see how one million partygoers will contribute to the filling of stomachs in Darfur, or a reduction of the gunfire. This concert, oddly enough, does not seem to have any African musicians performing aside from the good old token Yossou N’dour, something that will no doubt soon be hastily corrected and laughed off as a “technical oversight.”

It was disheartening to read some accounts of audience members not knowing why they were there. And the African community seems to not be so impressed. What do you all think? Is the Live 8 effort ultimately worth it?

update: to check out the blog community’s discussion of Live 8, click on the Live 8 Technorati tag below.

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