Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie went to Subway, forever changing the nature of celebrity http://t.co/uLDeqnJaED— VANITY FAIR (@VanityFair) July 14, 2015
Two of the biggest movie stars in the world got a fast-food lunch recently, making them seem a little more like us.
Of the many pressing questions posed to 21st century America—Is climate change real and man-made? Can we forge democracies in inhospitable lands? Who is Rita Ora?—perhaps the most urgent is a deeply existential one: stars. Are they, in fact, just like us? We’ve debated this for years now and have only been met with confusion. For every photo of Jennifer Garner lugging groceries to her S.U.V., just like us shambling nobodies do every stupid week, there’s some coverage of a party so fabulous, so exclusive that us mere non-star mortals could never dream of attending it. The stars seem to near us on occasion, at the perigee of their societal orbit, but they then go rocketing off to some otherworldly extreme and our sad hopes for commonality, for connection, are dashed. And so we stumble on, unsure of our place in the world relative to the stars’, uncertain of how we measure up to them, if we’re even using the same scale.
But now, today, we perhaps have some evidence that tips the balance in our favor. TMZ, among other outlets, is reporting that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, perhaps the most movie star-y of movie stars, recently went to a Subway sandwich shop and bought food to feed their family. The event is said to have taken place in the blasted burg known as Glendale, California, a ruinous waste in a sun-scorched valley where fast-food chains dot the landscape as frequently as cacti in the desert. Pitt and Jolie are said to have spent some 44 of our American dollars in the sandwich shop, buying items including “2 Meatball Marinara footlongs, 1 Chicken Teriyaki sandwich, and a few kids’ meals.” That would, I assume, be five kids meals, as theirs is a family of eight. I’m guessing, perhaps out of some gendered bias, that the two Meatball Marinaras were for Mr. Pitt and his eldest son, Maddox, the Chicken Teriyaki sandwich was for Ms. Jolie, and then the remaining children received the kids’ meals, of which no other details are known.
I may be wrong, but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, gods on Earth, have done something we bottom-feeding lowlifes do only when we are at our most desperate: they have eaten at a Subway sandwich shop. Or, well, they didn’t eat there, they took it to go, but they did ingest its airy, substanceless food, its curiously flat, squished chemical sandwiches. And if they, the biggest stars, can eat there, the second saddest fast-food chain after Long John Silver’s, then it seems to me that, yes, dear Americans, the stars are, indeed, just like us. Could they do anything more “like us” than eat at Subway, the most debased of human acts? I aver that they couldn’t. Well, sure, they could buy a Coolatta at Dunkin’ Donuts just so they can use the bathroom, but let’s not get greedy. In the realm of even remotely likely events, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie going to Subway is about as “like us” as it’s ever going to get.
So how do you feel? Do you feel satisfied? Does it feel good knowing that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie spent $50—there was a $6 tip involved—at a Subway recently? I for one feel heartened, lightened, somehow more understood by our ambivalent creator. I feel a sense of communion, one I’ll likely never feel again, unless, for some reason, Cate Blanchett goes to a combination KFC/Taco Bell and orders a strange hybrid mix of the two cuisines. (“Mashed potatoes and a Mexican pizza, please.” “Right away, Ms. Blanchett.”) Barring that world-ending event, this is probably the closest I’ll ever feel to that thing called Celebrity. Brad and Angie, hittin’ up the Subway. How about that. How. About. That.
Kate Winslet may be going to space with Richard Branson. Leonardo DiCaprio may have special altered vision that only allows him to see 21-year-old models. There may still be royals in England. But Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie went to Subway, which means humanity still has a fighting chance of being worth anything in this lonely universe. Most of us may not get to live in mansions or go to premieres or dance the hully gully with Zac Efron in Ibiza, but now every time we demean ourselves by going to a Subway—and it’s going to happen, don’t fight it, it’s just going to happen at some point—we can at least sigh and close our eyes and think, Brad and Angie did this too. And then, in that moment, we are special. Because, somehow, just then, they are not. And isn’t that something.