Tuesday, June 17, 2014

"A Celebrity is Not a People"

After a zany week that resulted in two new tattoos, an internship with a local theater, and the realization that I like retail too much, I have a little more time to blog this week. However, I am tremendously sleep-deprived as I start at 6am every day this week, though I could be starting even earlier and I should stop being such a complain-y pants. Anyway, I'm keeping today's post relatively short.

Another great struggle with this post is how to make it discussive and contemplative without making it call-outy. You see, once more I'm addressing the issue of fame. And I'm hoping that this scene from The Muppet Movie can help take another look at this:

http://feministbatch.tumblr.com/post/82715325813

The title of this post comes from the last panel of this, with it being declared that "a celebrity is not a people." I find this scene from the movie ridiculously humorous, perhaps because at some level it's too painfully true.

I dig up this topic again like a grave robber (whoops, that's a morbid simile there) only because last week this five minutes I spent on Tumblr expressed to me that apparently people have been spreading rumors about Tom Hiddleston being rude to fans and doing cocaine, and because I came across this article about Lana Del Ray and her struggles with fame, with her stating, "I wish I was dead," a dark, trouble reaction to the harsh criticism she's gained. Both of these incidents are terrible and, given my respect and admiration for both of these artists, I cannot understand what leads people to be so cruel to others. Is it some reaction to success that some feel compelled to insult people without caring about what their words will do? Is it some attention-seeking endeavor? Bitter jealousy? Fandom and appreciation gone wrong?

http://www.kirstyfairclough.co.uk
I truly don't know. But somehow, I think, the mindset becomes precisely what The Muppet Movie (in jest) describes: we stop thinking about celebrities as people and think of them only as "celebrities," some other sort of being who cannot be affected by what we say because, somehow, it's believed that they are too insulated to hear such criticism or too full of themselves to let it affect them or utterly impervious in some other manner I can't even conceive. I'd try to liken why thinking this way baffles me, as I would never spread such rumors about my friends or complete strangers, let alone celebrities, but then I recalled this Morrissey song and realized that dealing with success of others is difficult and maybe these reactions, while inexcusable, do come from the fact that certain ideas of success are prized more than others and so difficult to obtain.

Regardless, there is a difference between envy and outright destructive responses and it seems rather harmful to hate someone to the point of no longer seeing them as deserving as the same privacy and respect you would demand for yourself. As a blogger on Tumblr put it, "[Mr. Hiddleston] is a person and should be left alone. Admiring his work is one thing, chopping his private life to pieces another!" This discussion is nothing new; I've posted about it time and time again. But I feel it bears repeating, especially when discussions of privacy are very integral to media and internet discussions. If you want privacy for yourself, then you should also respect the privacy of others. However, the yearning we have to know things about each other, especially people we are distant from, is a powerful thing. But if the rumor and criticism mills are embedded in such a desire, it seems far more distancing than bringing celebrities closer to their fans. Perhaps, then, its linked to a different mindset - that there can be no familiarity between fans and celebrities, that neither are people who deserve respect. And that is a very scary thought indeed.

I could muse and prattle on about this forever, but I will stop myself before I get into erratic, circular tangents. Once again, more to think about, nothing resolved.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you whole, the way some people have acted is disgusting. I understand if you see someone you like you can act weird, but some of these people are insane. I think one of the problems is that he's so nice and kind, hopefully it'll blow over like most phases do.

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