THE wish to be taken seriously is a dangerous thing. It rarely works out, often has the opposite effect and God, it can be wearing -- for everyone involved, those who strive for respect and of us from whom it's demanded. Angelina Jolie, for example, appears literally worn out by her conscience, her desire to collect a "rainbow" family of adopted children, her struggle to square showbiz with political activism. She does good deeds, gives a comfortable life to kids in need, even makes films with more meaning than money-making potential and still, that's not what we love her for. Instead, last week, we gave her the loudest applause in years when she turned up at the Screen Actors Guild awards and spent the night smooching with Brad Pitt.
We didn't care that her film, A Mighty Heart, did not win an award, we wanted to know if her flowing dress hid a new pregnancy and if the flame of passion still burned between the two best-looking actors in Hollywood. Which is all, really we want Brad and Angelina to be, while they, God help us, seem to want to be Bill and Hillary. Hot on the heels of the SAG awards' new-baby speculation, came word that Brad's thinking of running for mayor of New Orleans, where he and Angelina have a home, have put millions into a scheme to rehouse those dispossessed by Hurricane Katrina and, it has been said, from where they intend adopting a fifth child. It's a big ambition, a move that screams he wants to be seen as more than just beefcake and not necessarily the route to respect, even if Brad has, allegedly, hired a "philanthropic adviser" who once worked for the Clintons.
What the film stars don't realise is that they fulfil a role for which there is a demand. We all need frivolous, photogenic people in the world for a bit of light relief. We need people to be perfect couples, make beautiful babies, smooch at their work dos and wear nice dresses. There are plenty of ugly people for politics and really, they should be left at it while the likes of Brad and Angie play pretty. We'd even pretend to respect them for it, if needs be.