I’ve had a hard time getting interested in the adventures of Brangelina because Brad and Angelina are so obviously morons. But a piece on Spiked calls their gambol in Namibia what it is: celebrity colonialism.

“Leon Jooste, Namibia’s tourism minister, explained to the UK Independent on Sunday how Brangelina’s diktats work: ‘What we’ve done is that every time they’ve got an appointment with a photographer or a journalist they contact me and tell me that ‘Mr So-and-So’ is coming, and I contact the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and they contact the Ministry of Home Affairs, and they inform the immigration department.’ (10) That is a quite extraordinary position for two actors to be in: to not only have the ear of Namibian officials but also their support in deciding who can and cannot enter the country. It is as if two absolute monarchs had arrived for a state visit to Namibia, rather than a couple of actors who haven’t even made a good film between them for at least five years.

“Perhaps the most depressing thing is that Namibian officials reportedly feel they have to cater to the couple’s whims in order to keep them happy, in the hope that the international fuss created by Brad and Angelina’s visit will increase tourism to the country. Tourism minister Jooste said: ‘For a small country like ours, with a small economy and a growing tourism industry, this is of major marketing value for us.’ (11) In an online poll conducted by one of Namibia’s main music radio stations, 48 per cent agreed that Pitt and Jolie’s decision to have their baby in Namibia was a ‘major PR boost for the country’ (12). (More hearteningly, perhaps, 16 per cent of respondents said the couple’s decision to give birth there was ‘a chance for sycophantic losers to seek fulfillment….’)

“Here we can see how celebrities, whether knowingly or not, can easily exploit the weaknesses of small impoverished states. If the reports are to be believed, then Brad and Angelina used their decision to stay in Namibia as leverage in getting what they wanted from the Namibian government. And they also seem to have got the government to do the kind of things that would be frowned upon in the West, such as ban journalists from entering the country and deporting others. The Namibian government feels itself reliant upon the patronage of two internationally known actors, while those actors take refuge in the Namibian government’s apparent willingness to enforce draconian measures. It is an unholy marriage of today’s celebrity-obsession with the backwater politics of a small African state.”