Unless you have no internet connection, no television, never go to the grocery store, or aren’t on speaking terms with your mother, you have probably already heard the news: George Clooney is getting married! The internet is abuzz with THE woman who finally captured George’s heart. Her name is Amal Alamuddin, and her resume is dizzying. She’s an Oxford-educated human rights lawyer who, coincidentally enough, also looks like a supermodel. She speaks three languages and her list of accomplishments range from representing Julian Assange to acting as advisor to Kofi Annan. In other words, she isn’t mortal.
First, congratulations are in order. I’ve been married for 15 years, and I am a big fan of the institution myself. Marriage is a wonderful blessing, so I wish to express my heartfelt sentiments to the happy couple. I am truly glad that the man, who has so famously expressed disdain for marriage in the past, finally met someone with whom he can envision spending the rest of his life. I wish them all the best.
What is NOT making me happy, though (you knew it was coming, didn’t you?), is the way it’s continually being reported by the media.
“She’s on his level.” “He’s finally met his match.” “She’s the total package.”
In case you were in the dark like me, there are levels of humanity and apparently the George Clooney Level is the pinnacle. It is a level that you and I can only dream of attaining. One in which we are dashingly good-looking and filthy rich, speak multiple languages, and have powerful political leaders as BFFs. I am familiar with the Indian caste system and various other social strata present throughout the world where invisible but ever-present barriers exist. And sometimes scrappy, yet persistent individuals break through. But this one truly caught me by surprise. Apparently starring in Return of the Killer Tomatoes puts you in a league above the rest of us.
I marvel at the incredibly high pedestal media outlets and we as a society have put him and other celebrities on. Our obsession with happy, shiny, beautiful, glossy people has become a national psychosis. I felt slightly clobbered after I read a couple of these articles, for not having accomplished more myself (Ms. Alamuddin is two years younger than me), comparing myself to an unrealistic standard. For only attaining an A.B. in political science instead of the full law degree. For only learning how to speak one and a half languages instead of three. For holding onto a few extra inches because my body bears the glorious reminder that I have borne 4 children. And because of this obsession with the cult of celebrity, I am realizing the temptation to overlook others, and miss out on getting to know some pretty incredible, albeit non-George Clooney Level human beings. Also, what does this say about previous women he has dated who didn’t make the cut? By this “level logic” I guess Stacey Keibler, Elisabetta Canalis, Sarah Larson, et al. are in the sad camp with the rest of us.
Don’t buy into it, Internet People!
I met a woman the other day who was raising her daughter’s children (i.e., her grandchildren). Because her daughter “didn’t want them” (her words, not mine). We met at our community pool; my kids were there for swim team, and she brought them for swim lessons in preparation for some summer fun. This woman had neither supermodel looks or any education to boast of. And yet she was one of the most beautiful women I had ever met. She will most likely never be famous or have her face plastered on the cover of People magazine, but to me she was a hero. Not only did she step in and take care of two beautiful little girls who would have otherwise been orphaned, but she seemed incredibly happy to do it. She smiled the whole time she talked about her granddaughters. She waved to them and took photos of them learning to swim. She patiently tightened and loosened goggles every time it was needed. I almost asked her if I could hug her, but gathered myself and decided she probably wouldn’t appreciate it!
Now I ask you, is she on George Clooney’s level? Am I? Are you?
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” Philppians 2:3-8 (NIV)