Almost everyone in my circle knows that one of my celebrity guilty pleasures is Jennifer Aniston. She’s splashed in most gossip magazines and celebrity blogs that it’s really not possible to miss her at all. She hit the headlines once more two weeks ago for breaking up with John Mayer (whom I learned to really like after all this, Jen or no Jen).
I sincerely do not believe that her personal life’s machinations were all deliberately done to counter any Brad/Angelina/kids publicity. She doesn’t seem like someone who would purposely do something to get people’s attention. In fact, she has been called ungrateful many times; to her fans, to the media who stood by her, simply because she did not care to acknowledge the support by being gracious with interviews and details. For her, she just lives in Hollywood, she gets photographed every time, but above all of it, she doesn’t care at all. Many people love to hate her, I know. And they actually have a point in saying that Jen can never be compared to all those celebrities out there to save the world.
I know that it is noble to help and inspire, especially if you are a celebrity, but it is not an ultimate barometer of your worth and goodness as a human being if you are not into philanthropy work. Is Jen apathetic? Probably, to an extent. She has helped several foundations, hung out in various political dinners, but since she was not heard taking a tough stand on issues, she still fell short of many people’s expectations. Again, granting that she is not out there reaching out to Africa or adopting babies, does it make her less of a person than Angelina Jolie or Madonna? If she is not yet a mother at 39, does it make her less of a person than a mother in Colorado with 14 children (by the way, refusing to have children is a far cry from having a hard time getting pregnant – yes, it’s a fan in me talking)? I don’t think so. Well, if you think otherwise, I totally respect you, too.
Anyway, okay, riding on the assumption that Jen and her PR team (aka Stephen Huvane, the publicist?) have been doing rotten tricks to keep her in the news, I appreciate the article in New York Magazine about what was wrong, and what could be done to change their course. It’s somehow dead-on. An excerpt:
Granted, Aniston’s in a tough spot. Since her marriage to Pitt imploded, she’s been the tabloids’ favorite lovelorn punching bag, forever yoked to the glittering Brangelina and unfairly — not to mention archaically — doomed to be branded a dried-up crone until she spawns and/or gets hitched. So the suspiciously convenient timing of Jennifer’s long-term relationships could be seen as self-preservation. For every “Brangelina’s Baby Joy” headline, we’re spared a matching sidebar that cruelly screams, “ALONE IN MALIBU,” or “WHY JEN CRIES.” We’d want to avoid that, too.
…this weekend’s breakup not only didn’t surprise us but made us sad for her. Aniston used to be America’s most-loved comic actress. Now, thanks to her counteracting all that Brangelina PR with obviously labored stories — full of suggestive pictures and coy denials — about her own love life, we’re barely able to name a single thing she’s has done lately that doesn’t involve hanging around with a bunch of notorious man-children. Or, worse, signing up to star in forgettable rom-coms with titles that hit a bit too close to home. The Break-Up was bad enough, but He’s Just Not That Into You? Honey, no. There’s self-awareness, and then there’s masochism.
In fact, until we recently caught a late-night rerun of Friends, we totally forgot Aniston is actually quite charming and talented. If she really wants to prove she’s risen from the ashes of her marriage — and who can blame her? — she ought to take a page from Nicole Kidman’s book and let a kick-ass career be the best revenge. After all, she can’t beat the Jolie-Pitts at their own PR game, but a memorable guest stint… a self-effacing cameo, or even a regular TV gig would do the talking better than the tabloids ever could. Remind us why we took a shine to you in the first place, Jen. They didn’t make those “Team Aniston” shirts for nothing.
The article has many debatable points, particularly about the assumption on Jen’s calibre as an actress. I’ve seen too many rants about it, too, so I will not defend her at all, because it’s not going to end. It has always been a perception game where no one really wins. What peppers this kind of celebrity preference is the one-track mentality of liking someone in order to hate someone. It’s just pathetic. Now, this may be very jurassic and frankly, so above and beyond the actual people involved, but we (okay, Rachel and I) are happy for Brad and Angelina’s seemingly perfect family (we mean it), but we will always be on Team Aniston. No problem with that, right?