Friday, January 19, 2007
Shows like Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood feed The Monster. Then they live off it's excrement. The Enquirer, The Globe, and other such supermarket rags feed it too. The Monster is our cultural fascination with celebrity. Why do we allow these media companies to do this to us? Why do we consider the people that The Monster feeds from, and to us, to be special and more important than anyone else? They are regularly shown to be very, very human with faults and imperfections just like the rest of the population.
Lindsay Lohan goes into re-hab. Martha Stewart goes to jail. Rosie and Trump are feuding. Someone called someone else a name. Brangelina is having a baby. TomKat are having a royal wedding. Blah, blah, blah. I guess every industry needs a product. But I, for one, don't get the continuing fascination with these people considered to be celebrities. Especially when fame in the entertainment industry is so temporary...and fleeting.
Let me give you a few examples of that. When's the last time you heard from Lisa Kudrow? A few years ago she, and her Friends co-stars, could do no wrong. Everything she did was under the microscope. She was doing TV, movies, the talk show circuit, and seemingly anything else she wanted to do. She was regularly featured as food for The Monster. Now, I'll bet you can't name anything she has done in, maybe, two years.
Another example. If it weren't for the fact that he went off the deep end during a stand-up routine several weeks ago, would Michael Richards be on your radar? Of course, being on Seinfeld for all that time probably has him in a financial position to do whatever he wants. But, as far as being productive in the entertainment business is concerned? He's been non-existant. Richards is always going to be Cosmo Kramer and he might as well get used to it. The likelihood of him being able to land parts in movies or other TV shows seems remote. So, suddenly he isn't good Monster food. He goes back to "regular guy" status and does stand-up gigs to keep his name out there.
Another. Where would any of the American Idol winners...or non-winners for that matter...be right now, and what would they be doing, if it weren't for someone coming up with that show. Would Kelly Clarkson be an enormous recording star? Would Clay Aiken be sitting at a computer working for an accounting firm? Would Chris Daughtry (who's first CD is breaking all kinds of records in sales) be still working at a car dealership service department? Would Jennifer Hudson be in Dream Girls and holding a Golden Globe? Or would she be working as a secretary at Bob's Auto Body? These people are now bona fide stars and part of the monster's regular output. But because they seized an unlikely opportunity, now they are treated as though they aren't regular people. And after awhile they buy into that notion too. "We're treated like we're special...so, I guess we are."
How do we fail to make the connection that there are many people who are more talented than these who happen to get the break to find themselves in the spotlight? Many others have a better head on their shoulders. Many in other professions are truly worth the adulation and fawning that is dealt out to the Hollywood crowd. We should remember that when we feed The Monster by watching the TV shows and purchasing tabloids. As long as we feed it, it won't go away.