ABG ArtBookGuy
  Art For All People    We Talk Contemporary Art    April 2017
CELEBRITY CULTURE

If I see one more actor on television talking about a film role as if he or she is curing cancer, I'm going to puke.
 
Also, do we really need to know all about Kim and Kanye's Paris wedding or what Justin Bieber did today or who wore what on the red carpet?
 
I got the idea to write this while watching one of the TV entertainment news shows.  I'm not saying which one because that would amount to a free plug and I therefore would be just as guilty of promoting the celebrity culture that I claim to hate.
 
Okay, let me be honest.  I love popular culture.  Of course, celebrities are a big part of pop culture.  They ARE pop culture.  Yet, while watching this show, I got an epiphany ... of sorts anyway.
 
Celebrity culture is cotton candy.  It's pretty, fluffy, sweet, pink and BIG business, but ultimately, it melts away within seconds of consumption.  It does not satisfy.  It's like sugar.  It makes you crave more while providing absolutely no nourishment.  It melts in your hands and leaves you with nothing but the sticky residue of wasted time.
 
One of the things that now cracks me up about "celebrity" is the schizophrenic nature of it all. One minute, celebrities are begging for their "privacy at this difficult time" and the next, they're shooting videos and magazine covers to show us "another side" of "who they really are."
 
I know way too much - but in actuality nothing - about Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts (ooh, LOVE her) but neither of them is putting any money in MY pocket.  I've certainly given them MY money by going to see their films.  What I get back is the "pleasure" of seeing them emote on camera.  I could save a lot of money, stay at home and watch myself emote in the mirror ... free of charge.  That seems weird, doesn't it?  But that's how twisted we've become with "our" celebrities.  We would rather pay to watch strangers - also known as celebrities who we think we know - do it instead.  Now that's really weird.
 
Do you know who should REALLY be on the covers of magazines with complete story profiles inside?  Brain surgeons, CEOs of not-for-profits, teachers, artists and plumbers.  Yeah, you heard me, plumbers.  Have you ever heard a plumber discuss the intricacies of clearing a clogged drain pipe?  Believe me, if your kitchen drain is hopelessly backed up, you need either a plumber or a quick tutorial.  In this scenario, there's not a thing that Brangelina can do for you.
 
Our fascination with celebrity culture has turned us into perpetual toddlers who are stuck in the oral-anal phase of psychological development.  We simply cannot get past the silly giddiness of things.   This has permeated nearly every sector of our society.  Reality television is making it worse.  Everything is about hanging onto gossipy morsels of completely inconsequential celebrity comings and goings.
 
"Is George Clooney REALLY going to tie the knot?"  "Did you see what Rihanna posted on Twitter?"  "OMG ... like ... what was Pharrell Williams thinking when he wore those knickers with no socks to the Oscars of all places?"
 
It's this never-ending, dog-chasing-tail, feed-the-media-beast thing that follows Chris Brown and Lindsay Lohan around all the way to jail and through rehab and back again ... and again and again. Paparazzi heaven ... or hell, depending on which side of the flashbulbs you stand.
 
The real reason why we worship - yes worship - celebrities is not because we "like" them.  It's because we want what we "think" they've got ... fame, money, beauty and success.  This is one of the reasons why some young celebrities go bonkers.  They think their "fans" LOVE them.  No they don't.  The fans love who and what they perceive the celebrities to be ... not the REAL THEM.  They don't know the real them.  Fans simply want what those celebrities have ... stardom!  They too, want to be kissed by the sun, sprinkled with fairy dust and blessed with the exoticism of a baby unicorn.  Anything to be special.  That's how we see OUR celebrities.  That's why they are celebrities.  We've beautified and objectified them with our hopes for ourselves.  Like the rest of us, celebrities are multi-faceted people, but the fact that we focus only on their "celebrity" when we see them is indicative of a problem in US not THEM.  

This is why "fans" can sometimes be dangerous.  You can find an element of jealousy in celebrity worship.  We get pissed when celebrities aren't these picture board cut outs of graciousness and whatever else we demand them to be. Because they have everything we want and we "made them,' they owe it to us to be nice at all times in addition to whatever else we unrealistically expect of them.  On the flipside, we also love the fact that they might have problems - real or fictional.  It makes us feel better about not being celebrities.  Being a celebrity is certainly not the worst thing in the world, but many of them do have to deal with a lot of crap.

This is also why and how the celebrity media exists.  It's capitalizing on all of those fantasies.  Can you blame celebrities themselves for cashing in with multi-million dollar endorsements?  Hey, at best, they get to have lavish lifestyles and at worse, that money keeps a roof over their heads.  They've got to think about their retirement just like everyone else.
 
Here's another reason why we worship celebrity.  Weirdly, we see it as a form of life extension.  You know, the whole, "Fame!  I'm gonna live forever!" thing.  I mean, look at Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson.  They still sell things as if they're still alive.  And yet, the reality is they're dead.  Celebrities die just like everyone else.  Some die tragically, some die triumphantly.  Some are still remembered, while others slowly fade out of our minds like dimming spotlights or beautifully melting cotton candy.
 
This is also one of the reasons why social media remains so hot.  Everyone has their own little celebrity page or platform for the "world to see."  Everyone gets to be a star minus the actual hard work and commitment.  Everyone lacking distinction gets to be a star in their own mind by doing or not doing remarkable or unremarkable things.  Actual talent is not required.
 
People today are craving fame and notoriety.  Accomplished doctors and lawyers will kick their hard-earned and respected careers to the curb to be on TV, pop stars will go off the rails and break the law for any exposure and perfectly respectable nobodies will literally jump into the mud for a shot at ... whatever.  Somehow, we always think that something could "lead to" something.  Sometimes, things lead to nowhere and we're left with mud on our faces.  Oh well, wipe it off and keep it moving.
 
It all just seems like vanity, smoke and mirrors and cotton candy.  It's not real, but so enticing.  It's like buying a great plot of land to build a mansion only to find out that what you just bought is a swamp.
 
Flashbulbs, red carpet, autographs, screaming fans, limousines, designer clothes and mansions.  Who in their right mind doesn't want all that?  It's definitely better than being homeless on the street.  No?
 
Something just occurred to me.  As human beings, we internalize "success" and make it synonymous with who we are and we reject "failure" because ... well ... who wants to be a failure?
 
But how about this?  Why not experience everything, but see it for what it REALLY is while we're going through it?  Why not see the folly of it ALL?  The bad AND the good?  YOU are not a celebrity or a nobody or a success or a failure.  YOU transcend ALL of those things.  Celebrity comes and goes, success comes and goes, failure comes and goes, but at the end of the day, YOU are still here and standing.
 
You are special because you were born special.  You don't need a fake spotlight.  You've got the sunlight during the day and the moonlight at night to shine on you.  They're both free and they came with the gig.  Bask in that.
 
You don't need celebrity culture.  You've got YOU.  Yes, Beyoncé is hot.  Yes, Jared Leto is cool, but they're not YOU.  They cannot shine like you shine.
 
I don't know.  This is all just some random, Saturday morning rambling.  Celebrity culture is what it is ... and hey, celebrities are people too.  Be nice to them.  They work hard.  They are YOU.
 
I still have to say though ... If I see one more actor on television talking about a film role as if he or she is curing cancer, I'm going to puke.

 

Dressed To Kill



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