Desperation at the Met Gala

Getty Images

Getty Images

This week brings two examples of the perils of celebrity.

First, the Met Gala. I doubt there is anyone who's turned down an invite from Gala hostess Anna Wintour, the chief justice of fame and celebrity. What is billed as a night of glamour is more a rite of public humiliation and excess. History is rife with examples of let-them-eat-cake crass, from the robber barons to Gatsby to Reagan-era Ladies Who Lunch. But as young people today call out privilege and inequality, the spectacle of desperate celebrities wearing dresses with 50-foot trains (I wonder who stitched that together, and what they were paid?) and candelabras on their heads is tasteless and tone-deaf. The showboating, the need for attention, the vapidity of it all is something straight out of Fellini. Beyond that, most guests look not glamorous, but ridiculous. I can't help but wonder if Anna Wintour secretly envisions the night as some circus of contempt for all the guests.

Meanwhile, in the UK, Pam Anderson paid a visit to jailed Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, declaring him "the world's most innocent man." I have no reason to question Anderson's sincerity. And while I do question her faith in Assange's innocence, that's not my beef either. The sad fact is, Anderson's public persona is insolubly cartoonish, and to take her seriously in regards to all the issues surrounding Assange is just too much of lift. In attempting to publicize Assange's plight, someone like Anderson can't help but minimize it. If anything, her visit highlighted just how marginalized Assange has become.