She was right because — more than any pundit, and certainly more than any politician — she captured the terminal nature of a culture that couldn't change even if it wanted to, even if it had to.
Granted, it's also a celebrity profile — well, a profile of Angelina Jolie — and so calling it a 9/11 story may sound like a stretch. It's a 9/11 story because it's a celebrity profile — because celebrities and their perceived power are a big part of the strange story of how America responded to the attacks upon it.And no celebrity plays a bigger role in that strange story than Angelina Jolie.She called the United Nations and became a goodwill ambassador for the UN's High Commissioner for Refugees.She visited something like thirty refugee camps in the world's most remote and forbidding and, yes, war-torn places, and in so doing became what she calls "a citizen of the world." At the same time, of course, she became a mother: first to Maddox, from Cambodia; then to Zahara, from Ethiopia; then to Shiloh, from Brad Pitt; then, most recently, to Pax, from Vietnam.She became the most famous woman in the world because despite her willingness to take on the world's suffering — no, precisely on of her willingness to take on the world's suffering — people suspected that she was still crazy.
The idea that Angelina Jolie is still crazy is central to the story told to Americans week after week.The black dress parted, and in the conventions of the celebrity profile, I should have been thinking, virtue sexy — a sexy topic, as the saying goes — but she's not, and there's nothing even she can do about it. The cutting, the tattoos, the drugs, the self-professed sexual dabbling, the spectacle with her brother at the Oscars, and, above all, the vial of Billy Bob's blood she hung around her neck — she seemed crazy, even though now, looking back, she says she was just young and unfulfilled."I entered this business before I had focus and purpose in my life. In 2001, she went to Sierra Leone, a country that has won "war-torn" as a permanent adjective, and, she says, "got into some situations that were pretty intense and just realized how completely naive I was to think I had a difficult life. It was as if someone slapped me across the face and said, 'Oh, my God, you silly young woman from California, do you have any idea how difficult the world really is for so many people?ran a story about one of the unacknowledged victims of 9/11 — celebrity gossip.It started with a scene at a New York restaurant famous for its hospitality to famous people.It is not about her work in Darfur, her work with children orphaned by AIDS. She entered the restaurant out of the sputtering soundstage mist that passes for rain in Hollywood, but now that she's sitting down, she doesn't dry off. Her brown hair stays damp, and she keeps grabbing it in her fist and putting it behind her pillared neck.