THE JOLIE-PITT SPLIT: Why can’t we respect their request for respect?
Where's the solidarity and compassion for this family in crisis?
No matter which way you cut it, the news this week that one of the world’s most famous families is disintegrating is shocking and sad.
But for me the most shocking and the saddest part about it right now is the vilification of both Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and the endless speculation about how screwed whom over….alongside the cruel insinuation that Jennifer Aniston will inevitably be leaping around with joy and writing ‘karma is a bitch’ on her mirror in lipstick.
But everyone loves a good vs evil story, right?
What I want to know is this:
Where’s the sense of solidarity from other parents who feel empathy for this family in crisis?
Where’s the compassion for a couple who have built a life together, brought children into this world and have now lost their way?
Where’s the consideration for the most important ones at the centre of this tragedy – their children?
Those six children who right now are feeling vulnerable, overwhelmed and scared and at some point will inevitably wonder whether what’s happened to their family has anything to do with them.
We have no clue what the truth is about how their relationship started, what’s gone on since and why they’ve made the decision that it’s over. We have no right to know; it’s none of our business. None whatsoever.
We must always bear in mind that we are drip fed carefully-constructed, speculative and ethically questionable stories, snippets of statements and quotes from ‘sources’ that have been spun to fit the chosen narrative.
While the media feed us their take and as a culture we soak it up, we must remember that it’s impossible to form intelligent opinions based on a very small slither of the whole picture which we are deliberately fed.
Yes, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are arguably one of the world’s highest profile couples and along with that comes the only-to-be-expected permanent scrutiny and invasion of privacy.
But in this age when so many of us are sick to death of the judgment we endure from others, why can’t we see that by sharing smug memes, declaring which team we’re on and commenting on articles which could be based on complete fabrication we’re actually perpetuating the very same poisonous cycle of callous disregard for others’ emotional wellbeing that we hate so much?
Let’s imagine for a second that the most intimate moments of our own lives were played out in such a public way. That the days through which we’ve hurt the most profoundly were discussed, mocked and belittled by millions of people. I can only imagine the additional layer of trauma that this would bring, and the complication it would add to an already terrifying and daunting time.
We don’t know these people. We like to feel as if we do, but we don’t.
And they have every right to demand the same privacy and respect as we would want if we were enduring tough times ourselves. That demand may be futile, but we should at least hear their words and make attempts to play a part in enabling them to get their heads down and just get through this in the best way they can.
They’re just people. And right now, while they’re suffering some of the most uncertain and traumatic days of their life together – in spite of all the perceived glamour and privilege it brings – they’re being picked apart in the most brutal of ways.
I think they deserve the respect they’ve asked for, along with some solidarity and compassion.