Virtue signaling: “The sharing of one’s point of view on a social or political issue, often on social media, in order to garner praise or acknowledgment of one’s righteousness from others.”
As James Bartholomew of The Spectator observed six years ago, elites tend to assume this condescending tone toward those who are perceived as lessers.
Along with the viral spread of COVID-19 has come the viral spread of virtue signaling. As it turns out, the most infectious vector for such spread is the celebrity “Public Service Announcement.”
Suffer with us through four such examples.
“Just Wear A Mask”
Last summer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) achieved the impossible: making Paul Rudd of “Ant-Man” unlikeable.
“Yo, what up, dudes?” starts a skateboard-carrying, baseball-cap-and-hoodie-clad Rudd in his advertisement for the State of New York.
“Apparently, a lot of COVID is transmitted by us millennials. No cap,” the 51-year-old said. “So Cuoms asked me, he’s like, ‘Paul, you gotta help! What are you, like 26?’ And I didn’t correct him.”
After declaring that “masks are totally beast,” Rudd takes a few strums on an electric guitar and insists that he is not trying to “preach at you like some celebrity.” Instead, he tells viewers to “shut up and wear your mask.”
Imitating a TikTok dance, Rudd continues, “Do you want a challenge? How about a ‘stop the pandemic’ challenge? What about that? How about a ‘save Grandma’ challenge? Is that fun enough for you?” Perhaps Rudd ought to have passed along that last challenge idea to “Cuoms.”
Dropping the millennial facade at the end of the video, Rudd takes on an unabated tone of condescension: “Please, it’s not hard, people are dying — hundreds of thousands of people are dying and it’s preventable. It’s preventable — just wear a mask, I shouldn’t have to make it fun. It’s science. Ugh!”
Trevor Noah, Danny DeVito, JoJo, and other celebrities jumped at the opportunity to lecture the public in the spring of 2020 about the need to stay home.
“I’m watching you,” said Robert De Niro. “We all need to stay home.”
“I’ve got a message for all you young people out there who think that it’s business as usual: It’s not,” pronounced Ben Stiller of “Night at the Museum” fame.
“Let’s act like we live in a community, not just by ourselves,” said Noah.
“I had to go and f***ing confiscate my 84-year-old mother’s car keys,” vented Pamela Adlon.
“As best we can, practice social distancing so we can get rid of the spread of this virus as soon as possible,” said Golden State Warriors basketball player Steph Curry. “Flatten the curve. Make sure you stay six feet away from people. Wash your hands.”
Perhaps the holier-than-thou lectures would have been more effective had they been directed at fellow celebrities. At this year’s Grammy Awards — which Trevor Noah hosted — celebrities were pictured maskless on the red carpet, even though mask mandate violations in Los Angeles typically involve $1,000 fines or six months in jail (for non-elites, of course).
“Does Not Include Pork”
British celebrities from ethnic minority backgrounds collaborated in a PSA to reassure other Brits that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe.
“There is no scientific evidence to suggest that the vaccine will work differently for people from ethnic minorities,” said one celebrity.
“The vaccine does not include pork or any material of fetal or animal origin,” said another.
“The vaccine does not contain the virus itself,” continued another, “only harmless elements of it.”
“There is no chip or tracker in the vaccine to keep watch on where you’re going,” said a fourth, adding that “your mobile phone does a much better job of that.”
With 2,400 likes and 8,800 dislikes on one platform, it is clear that the public did not particularly take to the celebrities’ tone.
“Imagine there’s no heaven,” sang a grinning Gal Gadot as thousands clung to their lives in hospitals across the globe.
“Imagine all the people living for today,” James Marsden and Sarah Silverman sang.
“Imagine there’s no countries; it isn’t hard to do,” sang Eddie Benjamin and Jimmy Fallon in a tacit endorsement of President Biden’s immigration platform.
With sixteen times more dislikes than likes on the video, perhaps viewers would have been pleased with a line or two about the end of celebrity PSAs?
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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