Your Barrister Boyfriend co-creator Natalia Naish is faintly repulsed at the Amal Alammudin-George Clooney wedding
It is easy to get caught up in the glamour of George Clooney and Amal Alammudin’s fairy tale wedding. Surely this is a guilt-free pleasure if ever one existed. Beautiful and brilliant human rights lawyer succeeds in “taming” (let us forget about the sexist implications of this for now) the world’s most eligible bachelor. Both live happily after, and in the process give us all a vicarious thrill with their star-studded wedding celebrations.
But as the details of their four-day wedding emerge — the caseloads of tequila, the never-ending parade of Amal’s designer dresses, the boatloads of grinning celebrities, and the $13 million (£8 million) price tag — it all begins to seem slightly unseemly and in-your-face, especially for a couple who profess to be extremely private.
In the last few years there has been a lot of talk about rising inequality and the triumphant march of the 1% and, more importantly, the .01%. These stratospherically rich high-net-worth individuals are clogging up London and turning the city into the happy stomping ground of oligarchs, bankers, aristocrats, and, last but not least, celebrities. George, and now Amal, are bona fide members of the global super-rich.
George has made his money fair and square you might say, and if he wants to spend $13 million on the woman he adores, why not? Increasingly, ostentatious displays of wealth are the norm. Just look at the Ferraris and Maseratis parked outside of Harrods or have a perusal of Rich Kids of Instagram. George’s expensive wedding was just par for the course.
The problem I have with the Clooney wedding was not the excessiveness per se, but the back-patting smugness that has accompanied the entire courtship and ceremony. Even though George and Amal careened around Venice in speedboats, posed up a storm for the paparazzi like modern-day royalty and sold their wedding photos to glossy magazines, they received none of the tut-tutting that was directed at Kim Kardashian. Why? Because Kim Kardashian is perceived as vacant and shameless while George is supposedly a sophisticated humanitarian.
It is of course admirable that Clooney donates a percentage of his vast salary to charity, and I am glad that he has helped raise awareness about Darfur and the Sudan through his role as a Messenger of Peace at the UN. But how intelligent, and above all, how virtuous is he? All we really know is that is he is good at playing twinkly silver foxes in action films, that he holidays in Lake Como and that he supports various charitable causes. This alone has enabled him to shed his reputation as a hot college dropout from the Midwest and assume a more dignified and statesmanlike mantle.
An interchangeable collection of cocktail waitresses would no longer do for a man who grew to think of himself as urbane and cultured (even if he does have niggling doubts about his actual knowledge of Giotto and Titian). So he scoured the world far and wide, sampling but not committing to the delicious morsels thrown his way, until the one fateful day that he saw Amal on our website (or so we like to think) and discovered the joys of a hot barrister’s witty badinage.
Thank god for Amal Alamuddin! The trilingual, Oxford-educated goddess can fill in the gaps in his knowledge (does he speak any languages other than English?) and engage in some very highbrow pillow talk with him. If George is hoping to run for office one day, he couldn’t have chosen a more perfect First Lady. And luckily, in this age of 24/7 media attention, Amal has taken to her newfound fame like a duck to water, radiating “in love” while she struts her stuff in surprisingly short couture dresses.
The entire Clooney/Alamuddin wedding was a masterful piece of Hollywood magic. It was wildly expensive, carefully choreographed, predictably sentimental and satisfyingly public. Amal and George provided the paparazzi with endless filmic photo ops as they gazed passionately at each other on gondolas named ‘Amore’ and dressed up like Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in Hitchcock’s ‘To Catch a Thief’. Even the choice of Venice, the Disneyland of Italy, is apt.
Hello! Magazine has just come out with an exciting 40-page spread of the wedding, giving us unlimited access to their intimate and heartfelt ceremony. This seems quite rich given George’s hatred of tabloids and his very public spat with the Daily Mail. While tabloids should obviously be held accountable when they publish lies about George’s mother-in-law, he should also acknowledge the degree to which celebrity culture has made his fame and fortune.
For the time being George Clooney is more style than substance, and until he has proven himself as a towering intellect, let us see him for what he is: someone who has benefited from the arbitrary rewards of Hollywood and chosen to splash out on a very flashy and self-aggrandising wedding. Please spare us all the do-gooding talk.
Natalia Naish is the co-creator of Your Barrister Boyfriend.