It's time to hold all our celebrities to the Keanu Reeves standard of excellence.
Everyone loves Keanu Reeves, and it's not hard to figure out why.
He's kind––he once bought an ice cream cone he didn't even want just so he could sign the receipt paper for a young fan. He's generous––he quietly donates millions of dollars to philanthropic causes and famously gave away the majority of his Matrix paycheck to ensure the special effects team got paid what he thought they deserved. He's also apparently single, which makes him available.
But the craziest thing about Keanu Reeves' amazingness is that he's really not so "amazing" at all; he's just a genuinely decent person, which makes him stand out amidst the wasteland of egoism, greed, and selfishness that makes up most of celebrity culture. Keanu Reeves' behavior shouldn't be an exception amongst celebrity millionaires. It should be the baseline.
John Wick is pretty amazing, though.Credit: Niko Tavernise/Lionsgate
Many people were shocked when the #MeToo movement first swept through Hollywood, outing influential, powerful people, one after another, as sexual predators. But perhaps we should have seen it coming. Our celebrity culture revolves around putting people on pedestals solely based on how much we like their movies or music or physical appearances. We prop them up like gods, ignoring rumors about their entitlement, their meanness, and their sexism until the allegations pile up too high to ignore, and even then we defend them. We give them millions of dollars in ticket sales and downloads and merchandise, knowing full well that they treat the people around them like crap when the cameras aren't rolling. And then we're surprised when these terrible people do terrible things.
Even worse, we regard someone like Keanu Reeves as "special" for doing the things everyone else should be doing in the first place. While it's admirable that Keanu Reeves relinquishes so much out of his paychecks to make sure various behind-the-scenes teams get paid more, we should be asking why these other people who are so integral to the production of any movie––stunt teams, costume departments, camera crews, etc.––are so underpaid in the first place, especially when the leading actors get paid so much.
Why do so many actors who publicly speak out against various inequalities also tacitly accept working on sets where they get paid so much more than everyone else around them? Shouldn't more celebrities be putting their money where their mouths are and taking action like Keanu? Even celebrity charity donations tend to take place in front of cameras. Imagine if the wealthiest 1% of Americans just quietly donated because they wanted to make the world a better place––like Keanu Reeves does––rather than seeking good publicity.That's not to say there are no other decent, kind, and charitable celebrities. They just seem few and far between. Out of all the popular celebrities today, how many would we be truly shocked to hear accused of assault? We can't continue to allow and even celebrate consistent patterns of narcissistic behavior and then feign shock when that person's behavior escalates. Why do we continue to prop up the likes of Justin Bieber? Kanye West? Chris Brown? And why should all the goodness in Hollywood fall solely on Keanu Reeves' shoulders? It's time to hold all our celebrities to the Keanu Reeves standard of excellence.
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