The virus has made celebs pathetic and needy. But we don’t need ...

Ideas

The virus has made celebs pathetic and needy. But we don’t need them

They’re desperate for attention, but hit all the wrong notes. The real heroes of the hour are the frazzled moms online

Jemima Lewis

Ping! Here’s another meme: a frazzled mother in a Spandex leotard, prancing around her house singing a self-isolating version of I Will Survive (“I should have bought that bag of rice, I should have stockpiled more bog roll”) while her husband and children loll catatonically on the sofa.

I smile drily and forward it on to my other WhatsApp groups, along with the video of a home-schooling mum teaching maths by filling up her wine glass in fractions; and the toddler howling with grief as her mother explains that all the fast-food restaurants are closed. (“You’ve literally got to eat Mummy’s cooking now. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”)

This is fame in the coronavirus era: making a meme that makes people laugh. Even tech-nervous Generation X-ers like me – strangers to TikTok, and only partial dwellers in the rest of social media – can see the point now. What most of these successful memes have in common is their universality. They are filmed by normal people in normal homes, with messy kitchens and tired sofas and rippled glass front doors. The tone is wry, self-deprecating, bleakly funny. It is the comedy of shared experience. Physically, we may be isolated, but spiritually we are all adrift in the same leaky boat...

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