I have been vaguely aware of Dame Angelina Jolie for some time - oh, yes, don't think that just because I'm an old Brit codger I don't keep up with the latest 'sleb' news - and I was intrigued that she has been granted an honorary Damehood for her services to charity. The cynic in me wanted to sneer, the idealist in me (yes, there is a bit left!) thought I should double-check. So I went to the font of all knowledge these days, Wiki, and skim-read Dame Angelina's bio. I was impressed.
Of course, by almost all standards she had a wealthy upbringing being the daughter of John Voight (I didn't know that!) and living mostly in the Hollywood film ambience. Needless to say, Hollywood must rank as the very worst place in which to grow up, in fact, you might do better as a child living in a Rio de Janeiro slum! Thus, true to Hollywood form she turned into a monstrous, dope-taking, amoral, rebellious yobette ... and yet ... and yet ... she survived. She pursued an acting career and whilst most of her films sound like tripe some of her performances were rated very highly. She went on to direct her own films whilst working her way through sundry husbands, one of whom was my 'hero' Billy Bob Thornton, but alas, that lasted even shorter than her other relationships - can't imagine why!
But as success and riches flowed inexorably towards a woman who by any standards is truly, magnificently beautiful, she managed the extraordinary feat of ceasing to gaze forever at herself and look outwards at the oceans of misery and poverty that most of us try to ignore. More than that, she did something about it, donating zillions of her own money and using her fame to raise money from others to support a plethora of genuinely needful causes around the globe. Nor did she limit her efforts to signing cheques but spent considerable time visiting the areas of need where she insisted on living as the other volunteers lived.
Of course, she is equally well-known for her recent decision to undergo a double mastectomy because the women in her family have a genetic history that disposes them to breast and ovarian cancer. A huge decision for any woman but particularly such a gorgeous one, much of whose fame and success stemmed originally from her looks. I suspect that Dame Angelina is a mighty tricky woman to deal with. Apart from being an arch-luvvie her past life must have given her as many emotional scars and she has tattoos. But I try to judge people by what they do rather than anything else and on that basis I reckon Dame Angelina is, in the immortal words of Sellars & Yeatman, "A Good Thing"!
Congratulations, m'Lady, and, yes, I am available for supper for two any time you feel like it!