Georgia Bisbas | Student Writer
In the past few days social media has been awash with stories of generosity and kindness. There has been an upsurge in people looking out for elderly relatives and neighbours and offering help to those in their community who need it most as the threat of Coronavirus continues. On twitter however, I have witnessed a war cry of outrage against those in positions of vast privilege and wealth who are extolling the Keep Calm and Carry On mentality and reminding us to wash our hands, as if digging for victory will make a difference. Self-quarantine is not improved with bunting. The comedian Karen Brady criticized Philip Schofield for the stoic British attitude he extolled on This Morning, whilst being paid an exorbitant amount to do so. ‘No more financial advice from millionaires please’ she tweeted. Whilst Brady is correct to an extent, Schofield’s advice is a comfort to some people who are desperately trying to avoid succumbing to mass hysteria.
Combing through the confusion, anger and sadness on twitter, there is a more severe anger at celebrities who are not seen to be doing enough to assist during this pandemic. If the bedrock of a celebrity career is built on the public investiture in their life, their clothes and their diet, why do we feel more grievance when in our time of need they aren’t seen to be investing in our lives with the same amount of money and time we invested in theirs. More fool the people who have liked, bought, and endorsed in reality television stars and celebrities only to find out the mutual gain of their investment is not a million dollar donation to a local foodbank or hospital, but rather filtered proof of their ability to thrive away from the virus, safely in their respective mansions. To employ a loose political framework, the public elected these people to such stratospheric levels of fame but now we want evidence of a good deed or two just to prove they aren’t the creatures we made them out to be, but wholesome billionaires capable of kindness. The Kardashians have been known to post videos of the contents of their fridges, overflowing with organic, fresh produce and bottled water and provide virtual tours of their snack cupboards; a room with shelves of labelled Tupperware, a room big enough to warrant £700 a month rent in London. If we adopted the revolutionary attitude of say France 400 years ago, people would be marching towards Calabasas, donning surgical masks and pitchforks ready to storm the mansions of their once beloved celebrities and demand they do more to help.
The question remains, why do we demand financial aid from the people we made so rich? Is it evidence of a deal that we feel owed? Or do we cling to the adage that those who have, and indeed have in such abundance, should share with those who have not. I would plead the latter. Demonstrative philanthropy is not to be sneered at. Christian Ronaldo has pledged to fund the conversion of his branded hotels into temporary hospitals in order to help combat the virus, he was confirmed as an affected case. The actors Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds have donated $1 million to food bank charities in Canada and America which work to relieve hunger in communities where poverty is rife and food banks are a life source. Charles Dickens once wrote, ‘it was the best of times, it was the worst of times’ and now as a pandemic grips the world and the vulnerable members of society become increasingly more so, we see daily acts of kindness and selflessness but the worst aspects of selfish capitalism pervade. And the worst part of these ‘worst of times’? We let it happen. We endorsed and now we demand a pay out from the people who could assist but appear incapable of doing so.