Ben Affleck is a relatable everyman, says Esquire, Vice and The Ringer
Last week, a couple of suspicious stories came out about Ben Affleck being a relatable everyman. They were both in the “he’s rich and famous, but struggles with packages and coffee delivery while looking exasperated” vein. It could have been a “great minds” thing, that happens a lot in our industry because we’ve been following the same celebrities for years and end up coming up with similar ideas. (I try not to read other blogs’ takes before writing a story for that reason.) Plus those photos of him went viral. However we’ve seen Ben Affleck try to control the press narrative, to a ridiculous degree, for years. He’s dictated questions in press junkets, has given blow-by-blow updates about his relationship status, bitched repeatedly at being called out by tabloids ten years ago, and even tried to whitewash his own ancestors. So when I see stories about poor Ben I wonder if it’s some kind of new PR strategy, especially when the stories all sound similar. It isn’t a bad one, actually. Here are excerpts from those two articles, with more at the sources.
Vice title: We Are All Ben Affleck and His Dunkin
Recently, mention of the former Ben half of Bennifer and Bennifer 2.0 conjures up images of giant cups of Dunkin, stacks of mail, and paparazzi strolls with his now-ex-girlfriend Ana de Armas, not to mention a cardboard cutout of de Armas being stuffed into a trash can. Ben Affleck has crossed over into meme territory, and we can’t look away because in him, we see ourselves at our most defeated…
Affleck is no different than, say, Lindsay Lohan or Britney Spears in that he’s experienced public personal traumas, and the fact that he’s openly discussed his struggles can make the jokes a bit hard to stomach. Even so, the images of him fumbling with a stack of mail and a huge cup of Dunks are painfully human and deeply relatable in their mundanity. While we can all comprehend that Ben Affleck is technically a human person, seeing a celebrity of his stature chugging his Dunkies with an arm full of Amazon packages is mesmerizing. Like, he could probably pay someone to get his mail and coffee, right?
Esquire title: Ben Affleck Is the Only Relatable Celebrity
Then it was announced that Ben and Ana had broken up, the reasons unspecified. Soon, a life-size cut out of her was being dumped in the bin outside of his house. There were no more trips to Whole Foods, the iced coffee order was for one, not two. Who gets to keep the dogs? Over the weekend, Ben was photographed wrestling with approximately 103 Amazon parcels, a Dunkin’ Donuts cup placed precariously atop the pile’s peak, a grimace spread across his stubbled face. Breakups are always rubbish, but especially so when everyone wants to see yours play out in real-time on Just Jared and TMZ.
Ben Affleck is the only relatable celebrity because, despite having an Oscar and being worth $150 million (I googled it), he wears dodgy jeans and smokes actual cigarettes and has bad tattoos. With no red carpets, premieres or glossy paparazzi opportunities, he has become a sort of street style anti-hero; the king of the Whole Foods car park and the suburban pavement, in a pair of old Sambas and a pained expression. The gloss of money and fame melt into the Calabasas concrete. As things have gone from bad to is-it-over-yet? over the last 12 months, the only thing to do is to forget how to get dressed, buy too many things from Amazon and go on silly little walks for a silly little coffee. Ben Affleck is the king of that. King of the melancholy, Sisyphean stroll. See you again tomorrow, yeah? What’s your coffee order? Who cares.
[From Vice and Esquire]
Vice linked this earlier article in The Ringer about Ben, which says essentially the same thing as Vice and Esquire, that he’s relatable because he’s gone through a lot and drinks Dunkin’ coffee instead of Starbucks, essentially. The narratives are strikingly similar and all three stories mention Dunkin Donuts, his back tattoo and his smoking. The fact that these are more prestige publications makes me really think they were encouraged by Ben’s people. As I said he could do worse, and he often does. Then again, he could change his perspective instead of trying to use the press to change ours. I listened to that over hour long podcast with him a couple of weekends ago. I didn’t hear much gratitude nor did he seem able to move past the consequences of how he treated his then-fiance ten years ago.
There’s definitely one thing I can relate to Ben Affleck on though, and that’s ordering too much crap from Amazon.
Photos credit: Backgrid
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