Poli-Wood: Hollywood’s Leonardo DiCaprio has made what was called an “impassioned” speech to the United Nations about global warming. Has there ever been a celebrity who so achingly craves validation?
DiCaprio spoke last week on Earth Day, as 175 world leaders signed the Paris climate agreement. DiCaprio told them that “now is the time for bold, unprecedented action” and asked the delegates to look around and “ask each other, which side of history will you be on?” It was a speech filled with many more bromides, none of them insightful and all of them coming from a movie star who takes himself far too seriously and wants others to see him as a high-minded and thoughtful adult, not just an actor for hire.
But that’s what he is. Yet he cries out, as few ever have, to appear to be more. DiCaprio is the ultimate virtue-signaler: he has to show everyone just how virtuous he is. His chosen vehicle, as it is for many affluent Westerners, is global warming.
DiCaprio has for years strained to demonstrate his nobility. He has arrived at the Oscars in a Toyota Prius, not a limousine, to draw attention to himself. Two years ago, the U.N. made him its climate change messenger. This year he made a canned speech when he received his Academy Award. He called global warming “the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating,” and got exactly the response he was looking for: wild applause from an adoring crowd that reverently whispered “See how much he cares?” among themselves.
Though he gets a warm hug from his own kind, DiCaprio comes off as a smug movie star to the rest of us.