The International Writers Magazine: Life

A Jolie Good Time
Colin Todhunter

Some months ago the Hollywood star Angelina Jolie finally had her first biological baby with Brad Pitt. Including two adopted children, they now have three. Their estimated wealth is currently $150 million and either of them can command easily over $10 million for one film. Mr Pitt reportedly got $20 million and Ms Jolie $10 million for their film Mr and Mrs Smith. Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt was born on May 27. “Brangelina” is set to inherit at least $50 million of the Pitt-Jolie fortune one day.

Mr Pitt and Ms Jolie are excellent actors. I admire their work. I also like the fact that they give hundreds of millions of dollars to their favourite charities. They don’t have to. The government of Namibia said that to celebrate the birth of their daughter there, Ms Jolie and Mr Pitt donated $300,000 to help other babies in the impoverished African country.

But come on, they are only actors and they are only acting! Do we live in a world where acting is considered more worthy than being a doctor, teacher or nurse? Indeed we do if we go by the financial rewards dished out. Brangelina has been born with a silver spoon in her mouth that her head would have to be the size of the Grand Canyon for it to fit in and her neck muscles with the strength of steel to hold it. I think you will agree that is some silver spoon.

But don’t be shocked. Most of us merely laugh in astonishment at the rewards doled out to superstars. Of course, few of us may think that their talent and ability merit the type of financial remunerations given (but many do), but hey that’s life! That’s the way the market works. That’s the way the cookie crumbles… and any other number of sayings to be said while holding one’s hands in the air in complete and utter resignation.

Little Brangelina will never want for anything. She will inherit $50 million that she never earned, will go to the best schools, and will be pampered from cradle to grave. In the weeks leading up to her birth, the couple retreated to Namibia for government-assisted privacy. Ms Jolie had the best bodyguards, nutritionists, gynaecologists and health care team that money can buy. And when Brangelina grows up she can, if she so wants, own a hundred pairs of shoes that if she lived to be one hundred, she would never be able to wear out (or even wear). But that’s no crime. In today’s world, where most people have a real struggle to get by, it is totally acceptable. Yet let some needy person in the US work all day long for a pittance and steal a single pair of shoes from a big corporate store and that is without doubt a crime.

Unfortunately both the underprivileged and the Jolie-Pitts are victims of an upside down world of warped values, albeit in different ways. Mr Pitt and Ms Jolie know it. In a joint statement released shortly after the birth of their daughter, they said that while they celebrated the joy of the birth, they recognised that two million babies born every year in the developing world die on the first day of their lives. They went on to say that these children can be saved, but only if governments around the world make it a priority. I admit to having a soft spot for the Jolie-Pitts.

Mr Pitt and Ms Jolie own all they will ever need. They and their children may vacation wherever they want and can live in any number of mansions of their choice. It’s not a crime is it? Perhaps not. The massive rewards and huge privileges received are totally acceptable within the framework of today’s standards. It’s just the standards that are absolutely criminal.

© Colin Todhunter November 2006
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