Monday, June 18, 2007

Toxic Fame

What is it with famous people? Why do I care? Why, when I'm in the grocery store, do I furtively glance at US Weekly while standing in the check out line? I was ticked off at Brad for ditching Jen and getting with Angelina. I was irritated at Tom for eating the placenta of his new born child, or however that story goes. I stayed up last night and watched the longest E Hollywood special on Britney Spears just to see why she shaved her head. I didn't get to that part though, because after 2 long hours of staring at her midriff and a jirating rear end, listening to her say,

"Oh my gaw! I mean, like, the media, was just, like oh my gaw, just after me, like every time I turned around." and

"(Gasp) Madonna, she is like, I mean, I never knew what it was like for my fans when they were crying all after me and everything, until I realized how much I worship Madonna." or

"It was just a kiss. That was no big deal. I mean, at first, I was like, you want me to WHAT? And then I was like, it's just acting, I mean, c'mon! And so we just did it. It was totally Madonna's idea. But I watched the play back and thought, 'Hey, that wasn't so bad. That was pretty hot."

I finally turned it off so that my nausea would subside. But I watched it for two whole hours even though the whole time I didn't want to, and the whole time my face was curled up like a dried apricot.

So what is it that makes me care about the lives of these people any more than the lives of anyone else around me? Why is the media so faschinated with them? What's so different about them? It's not their careers really. Is it their wealth, their beauty, the glam? We know their lives aren't perfect. In fact, we're more fascinated when they screw up. Is it just the allure of fame? Of the whole world knowing who you are? Do we all just secretly want to be famous?



euphrony said...

It's masochism. We all just really seem to enjoy listening to the tiny screams of out brain cells extinguishing themselves in anguish as we indulge in such obsessions.

kddub said...

I was just wondering this the other day while glancing through a US or People or something, feeling like I needed to "catch up" on the celebrity gossip.. I thought, "Why do I care?"

I think maybe in part, they are like the "cool kids," of our society, they are put up onto this pedestal that is unreachable, and when they screw up, we like it, because it makes us realize that they are human.

Just a thought, but I am sure there is more to it.

Amy said...

I totally think it's like high school on a large scale and famous people are the popular kids. Or something. I think we as humans are also very nosy and curious about other people's lives and it's completely acceptable to be nosy about celebrities in our society. I also think there's a little bit of fascination with how the other half lives, so to say. It's easy to think of them in terms of news stories and glamour and not so much as actual human beings.
Didn't Britney shave her head to avoid a drug test? Or was that some crazy made-up thing I heard on the radio?

Susanne said...

I think we're interested in their lives because it makes us feel so much better about our own lives! time you watch one of those Hollywood stories, I bet after you turn it off you think to yourself, "Man, have I got it made." :)

FancyPants said...

So, about the popularity idea....

If celebrities are like the popular kids in school...thinking about this...

Why were the popular kids in school popular at all? They were usually good looking, but not always. Usually talented, but not always. There were good looking and talented kids in school that weren't popular. They partied, so maybe their parents were more lenient. But again, lots of kids had lenient parents that weren't popular.

Usually, the "in" crowd was "in" because they had established themselves as "in" from grade school. Some kind of alpha male and female thing, possibly. And from there, the "in" crowd arbitrarily decided who would be "in" with them. You weren't "in" unless they said you were "in." A societal hierarchy that evolved somehow. And that told us what was accepted and important, and most kids would give anything to be in that crowd so they could be accepted and important and loved and admired.

So is that it then? Am I drawn to the lives of celebrities because society, directed by the media, tells me that they are accepted and important and loved and admired, and part of me wants to be in with that crowd?

So it's really that I wish I was famous. That's why I care?

I still wonder how and why the society hierarchy forms at all. What's the standard and who made it?

SandinaJ said...

You should watch HGTV instead. :)

Seth Ward said...

For men, she represents some sort of secret fantasy and she plays or rather preys upon that. Its the whole, "oh this ole catholic school girl outfit that it 2 sizes too small? What? Its just hot outside." Please.

It is kind of like she is the modern day "Gypsy" accept Gypsy was pushed into it at first. Britney embraced it like a snake to a mouse.

For some women, they just want to be desired like that and probably a little part of them wants to feel and act that sexy.

Then some of it is just carnality, plain and simple with a good dose of self inflicted puritanism suppressing the subconscious of the Christian subculture that deep down doesn't want to think of sexuality as a dirty thing but feels that it must. The fascination with Britney is a sign of that exrpession wanting out.

Then there are some Women who I think live vicariously through her and other cray-party-animal starlets (while all the while criticizing and judging) and men half the time wish that their wives were a little bit like that but still retaining some innocence yet equip with a strong sexuality and a healthy reserved awareness of it.

The other big allure is that everyone wants to be famous. And you don't get more famous than that. She represents what we all would be like if we left everything behind -sanity, prudence, family, dedication, commitment, and spirituality- to live like we are god. Plain and simple pride.

truevyne said...

I, for one, do not secretly want to be famous. Sometimes it's too much for me when someone recognizes me from my writing for a small eccentric group.
I also must confess I like to know the "why" behind what celebritites do even if the answers don't make a whole lot of sense. People are fascinating.

Amy said...

I heard a survey that said that the number one value of teenagers today is to be famous. Yikes.

I think we do equate fame with being "accepted", "important", "loved" and admired. Sad, huh?

FancyPants said...

It's true. Sex sells.

Britney may act dumb, but she's not stupid. She knows that sex sells, and that's exactly what she's done to gain fame. She's put on a sex facade. It's what Madonna did. It's why Madonna is her idol.

Seth: For some women, they just want to be desired like that and probably a little part of them wants to feel and act that sexy.

Ladies? Is it true? I personally think you're right on. Most of us here wouldn't go so far as Britney, but we naturally ask certain questions. How did she get that body? That kind of thing. And that's the kind of body we're told attracts men. So if we can get that body, then there is more of a chance to be loved and accepted. Obviously speaking through a non-Christian filter here... It's a lie.

Fame is a lie. It's a facade. I know this but am attracted to it. Weird.


And then at the same time, the little bits of "fame" (if I can even call it that, I'm LOL) that I experience gets to me. Like at church, we sometimes lead worship, and alot of members have our CD, and so alot of members know me (sort of) that I don't know. And they expect things of me that they really have no right to expect. Or they ask me a whole lot of questions that I don't necessarily want to answer because it's my private life. Don't get me wrong, I am incredibly thankful for my church. And for the fact that they buy our CD, and have enjoyed it when we lead worship. INCREDIBLY thankful. I've just noticed this before, that's all.


Doesn't surprise me one bit. Makes alot of sense.

Fame means being held in esteem, to be favored. I think many adults, just as much as teenagers, are tempted to hold esteem at a high value. Too high. The very opposite of how Jesus teaches us to be meek. Adults just aren't as honest about it. =-)

FancyPants said...

After re-reading my comment, I just want to say...

About the church comment. I hope none of my church friends take offense to that statement. Of the ones that I know read and comment here...Susanne...Rob...I hope you guys know that I consider you friends and am happy to talk to you about whatever.

Just wanted to make that clear. =-)

Amy said...

I suppose that's true. But I think also that as you get older and you start having health issues and losing people you love, other realities come into sharper focus and become bigger priorites than being famous.

Some of fame seems alluring, but mostly, I think, I'm really glad I don't have people peering into my private life. Everyone wants the benefits of fame, and not the responsibility. paris hilton has recently had to face the responsibility of it....more prison time that one would normally serve for her crime so she can be an example.

FancyPants said...

True, I'm not sure many adults would actually want to be those people in those magazines. But this idea of having influence, being important, being esteemed, being powerful, I see people desire this. I see it in myself sometimes. I don't like that it's there, but...

Maybe many of us don't seek for it on a grand scale, but I suppose I'm proposing that many of us wish for it in our smaller worlds. I'm sure not everyone deals with this though.

But I see what you're saying, Amy. About as you grow older, the stuff that should be important becomes more important.

Pure and simple, I think we like to read the magazines for gossip's sake. Like KD said, we want to see them fail.