I’m not a fan of celebrity culture. I never got the appeal of tying my identity so closely to a public figure that I get emotionally attached to the course of their life. That can be dangerous. There are too many Mel Gibsons, Charlie Sheens, and Gary Buseys in this world. You’re basically putting a big target on your identity and giving a squad of snipers a loaded bazooka.
That’s why if I’m going to tie my identity to anyone, it’s going to be a fictional character, such as superheroes in comics. As anyone who has followed this blog knows, I’m a big fan of superheroes and often use them to make important points about romance and pop culture. At least with fictional characters, they can’t be caught fucking the babysitter outside a bad porn parody.
All that said, I’m inclined to comment on the recent news surrounding the divorce of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. I know. I can sense your eyes rolling and your heads banging against the wall. This is not why you come to this blog. You come here to be entertained and updated by the twisted thoughts of an aspiring romance/erotica writer. Then again, it’s not like a lot of people come to this blog anyways so I don’t think it makes a difference.
I don’t know if it’s a cosmic coincidence or lousy timing on my part, but this monumental celebrity split happened in the same week where I’ve been discussing/ranting on our collective failings when it comes to divorce and commitment. It’s kind of spooky that I bring this topic up and then a famous couple splits. Maybe that means I should bet more money in my fantasy football pool this weekend or maybe my timing just sucks that much.
Whatever the case, let’s get this over with. Let’s talk about this latest celebrity heartbreak that we all knew as Brangelina. What happened? They were so in love. Their story was like a movie in and of itself. They meet on the set of Mr. and Ms. Smith, hit it off, and fall so madly in love that it causes Brad Pitt to leave Jennifer Anniston, who looks like this.
There had to be a hell of a love to draw them together like that. It had to be a pretty powerful love for them to stay together for over a decade, having children and even adopting a few along the way. Were they the typical Hollywood couple? Hell no, but then again there’s no such thing as a “typical couple” in Hollywood. That’s a flawed concept, sort of like “well-adjusted former child star.”
Every relationship is different. Every relationship has its quirks and proclivities. As I pointed out in an earlier post, every relationship has expectations as well and most of the time, these expectations aren’t reasonable to say the least.
Men want to be married to multiple supermodels who spend their days making sandwiches. Woman want to be married to a rich prince who spends his days massaging their feet and carrying her bags while she’s shopping with his credit card. These are the laughable expectations that we’ve all been fed by movies, TV, and bad love songs for decades. The difference with a couple like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt is that in their world, these expectations aren’t that ridiculous.
When you look at the details, Brad and Angelina had a lot more going for them than most celebrity couples. They were both very successful in their own right. Angelina Jolie has an Oscar. Brad Pitt is one of the most bankable movie stars in all of Hollywood. They each found success in their own way and their success was not dependent on one another. They were very much equals, which is rare in a place like Hollywood, so much so that you have to look to X-men comics for examples.
On paper, these two had everything they needed to make it work. If one of them hadn’t been successful, then that would’ve created some unhealthy dynamics to say the least. Speaking in terms of history and economics, when someone is overly dependent on someone else, it tends to leave a bit too much room for abuse and neglect. That’s just a sad fact of human nature.
When we’re among those we consider subordinates, we don’t treat them as equals. It’s not necessarily evil. It’s kind of a holdover from our evolutionary past. Remember, humans are evolved from predators. Predators, like wolves and bears, have to see their prey as subordinate. It makes them easier to hunt. Since our brains are so poorly wired by the blunt instrument that is nature, we tend to do a bad job of differentiating between survival and romance. Not saying Mother Nature is incompetent, but she can be pretty crude.
Since this wasn’t the case with Brad and Angelina, this must mean other forces were at work. Plenty of news outlets and gossip sites are speculating what those forces are. It may be infidelity. It may be drug use. It may upheavals in their careers. Who knows? I’m not going to speculate. I’m not going to contribute to that shit storm. If Brad and Angelina want to get a divorce, they can and it’s none of our god-damn business.
With this in mind, I’m going to say something that’s probably going to offend a certain crowd of people, especially those who got emotionally attached to their romance. Put the pitchforks down. Unclench your fists. I feel like this has to be said so here goes.
It’s perfectly fine for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to divorce because they can manage it better than you or I ever will. As such, they do not deserve sympathy.
Am I assuming more than I should about the intricacies of their personal lives? Maybe I am. I don’t deny that. However, I think there’s a point to be made by this split and it ties right into my arguments about our flawed approach to marriage and commitment.
It’s because that Brad and Angelina are a relationship of equals, as I described earlier, that they’re able to deal with this in a much better way than most. This isn’t a case of Tiger Woods’ ex-wife asking for $750 million. These are two people who don’t need to gouge one another for money.
They’re both rich and successful on their own terms. The only issue they need to resolve is custody of their six kids, which can be emotionally frustrating, but not nearly as much when money is involved.
Make no mistake. Keeping money out of the equation makes anything easier, especially divorce. Remove the money and you just have two people trying to find a way to move out of the same house and agree on the assets. That just involves legally binding negotiations, which is something people have been doing for centuries. We don’t need to subvert our evolutionary wiring to make that work.
I understand that there are still those upset by this split. I understand I’ve probably made a few enemies by commenting on this issue. That’s the chance you take when you share your thoughts on the internet and I gladly take that chance.
It’s impossible to know for sure what drove Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to divorce. Citing the laughably obscure legal term, “irreconcilable differences,” leaves many blanks for our perverse imaginations to fill in. Our imaginations rarely line up with reality because our imaginations rarely stay tied to the real world.
The only assumption I feel comfortable making about this relationship is that, as is so often the case, they went into this relationship with expectations. Despite all the money and resources they had, they were disappointed when those expectations weren’t met. Once they realized that they couldn’t be met, they ended it. Sometimes the best we can hope for us that, within a relationship of equals, the end is beneficial for both sides.