What do you make of the news that Brangelina is no more? Also, completely unrelated, how might you suggest a news website increase its traffic and social-media impressions?
I’m only human, so of course I was left hollowed-out and broken by the devastating news last week. Not by news of the terrorist attacks in New York and Minnesota, or of the Charlotte race riots, or of the largest data theft in U.S. history—500 million Yahoo users, of which I am one, seeing their personal info compromised by mercenary hackers. (Full disclosure: Yes, I am a sad person who still uses Yahoo Mail. Which I hope crashed on the hackers as often as it does on me.) No, like most Americans, I have become entirely inured to current-events calamities, since they seem to never stop. Instead, I now take my victories and defeats vicariously, through celebrities. So what really rocked me was word of the conscious uncoupling of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, i.e. Brangelina, the most instantly recognizable celebrity portmanteau since “Frill” (Fred Barnes and Bill Kristol.)
I’ve not yet decided whether to throw in with Team Brad or Team Angelina —that will require lots of thoughtful prayer. Plus, I’m still waiting for all the facts to come in from my facts bible (In Touch magazine.) Oh, I might feel a little more naturally sorry for Brad, since Angelina will be just fine in the re-coupling department, but how is that ugly mug ever going to find a woman again? Though I’m sure that time will heal all wounds, as both A-listers get back to doing what they do best: for Brad, smoking weed and nailing co-stars; for Angelina, getting inked with questionable body art, collecting third-world children like a cat lady hoarder, and not eating. (Brad may no longer give Angelina what she wants, but what the skeletal star seems to need most immediately is a bag of cheeseburgers with all the fixing’s.)
With online rumor mills ruminating over what caused Jolie to file for divorce (speculation has ranged from Pitt having an affair with co-star Marion Cotillard—which she’s adamantly denied—to a drunk Pitt allegedly roughing up one of their children during a fight with Jolie on their private plane), all the background leakage seems curiously managed by Jolie “intimates.” You’ll forgive my skepticism, but I’m old enough to remember Jolie before she became a revered feminist icon and St. Angelina of the U.N. Refugee Agency. I recall when the pillow-lipped star was still knocking around with Billy Bob Thornton, wearing vials full of her beloved’s blood, making out with her brother at awards shows, collecting spears and battle axes and other weaponry while explaining her cutting habit (“You’re young, you’re crazy, you’re in bed, and you’ve got knives. So shit happens.”). All the while, she vowed that her love for Billy Bob would last “forever.” Though forever ended by 2002, after just two years of marriage. Jolie sells the Audrey Hepburn/Mother Teresa/Susan B. Anthony act pretty hard these days, but lest we forget, she did put the “crazy” in “crazy love.”