The PJ Tatler

Celebrities have 'other needs'

“Celebrities have other needs,” so says the Israeli super-duper model Bar Refaeli, she of the Illustrated Sports sexy swimsuit edition, and the part-time girlfriend of the aging boy actor, Leonardo DiCaprio.

This plain fact statement was not something Bar Refaeli said as she jumped to the front of the line at the El Al counter, but rather it was offered as part of the justification for why she used the fake marriage to avoid having to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces, something required of all young Israelis, both male and female.

Here is the full quote from the Israeli website

“I really wanted to serve in the IDF, but I don’t regret not enlisting, because it paid off big time,” she said. “That’s just the way it is, celebrities have other needs. I hope my case has influenced the army.

“Israel or Uganda, what difference does it make? It makes no difference to me. Why is it good to die for our country? What, isn’t it better to live in New York? Why should 18-year-old kids have to die? It’s dumb that people have to die so that I can live in Israel.”

The operative word here being “dumb.”   Yes, the Bar Refaeli is immature and selfish and shallow, but more than that, she is just dumb.

Does she not know that the respectable peoples usually couch their objections to personal military service in more nuanced terms.  The bien pensants do not say, “I did not serve because I wanted to party down in Ibiza, or New York, or Yale” but rather, “I did not serve because the military is taking advantage of the poor minorities, discriminating against the gays, and chopping down the rain forest with the depleted uranium chainsaws.”

This is how it is done by the smart peoples.

Although, such qualified political statements are not the pacifistic objections of honorable conscientious objectors, but rather just the socially acceptable way of excusing one’s failure to do one’s duty. They are the tribute that selfish vice pays to patriotic virtue.

And if the Bar Refaeli had been smart enough to say something similar perhaps much of the subsequent imbroglio (to include threats of boycotting) would have been avoided.  But, she said something dumb and dumber, and now she is in the hot and hotter water.

But, back to her original contention, that “celebrities have other needs”.  This is obviously true.  The requirements for celebrities to maintain security and privacy are different than what you and the Manolo need. But beyond this, what other needs have celebrities that separate them from, and elevate them above the rest of humanity?

Here is the Manolo’s answer to your question: none.

To treat the celebrities as the special class, exempt from the ordinary duties demanded of the citizens of the democracy, is offensive.

Celebrities are not demi-gods, trapped between Olympus and Earth, raged at by Hera and beset by Minotaurs.  They are ordinary people distinguished from the rest of us by their beauty, talent, intelligence or simply notoriety. And yet, again and again, we tolerate and excuse their outrageous actions, complicit in encouraging the very behaviors we deplore.

Of the course, even as we deplore some, we must acknowledge the many, perhaps the majority, who do their duty quietly and without complaint.

Indeed, even the mightiest of mega-celebrities have answered the call to serve.

And now the Manolo asks, if Elvis Presley can, at the very peak of his fame and notoriety, do his duty, why cannot the infinitely less famous, less important, less significant Bar Refaeli?

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