November 16th, 2007


Falling with the Stars

I've been thinking I should write something about the treatment of celebrities in our culture, but I'm not really sure where to begin. So I'll just start with something I heard recently, about how Britney Spears left her kids in the car while shopping for chandeliers. You can't make that kind of thing up. And that's kind of significant, because a lot of celebrity gossip is the kind of stuff you probably COULD make up. Just have a hat full of celebrity names, and another of actions such as: romantically involved with [pick another celebrity name].
...has broken up with [pick another celebrity name].
...has a feud with [pick another celebrity name].
...had a nervous breakdown.
...had a kid, and named him/her [choose random word from dictionary]. addicted to [choose substance from hat #3], and was in rehab for [one-digit integer] days.

Now that I think about it, the Britney story has kind of a Mad Libs quality to it as well: "Britney Spears left her kids in the car while shopping for [plural noun]." And if you're one of those people who always fills in "boobs" for the plural nouns, keep in mind that she'd already gone shopping for those about ten years ago.

One thing I wonder is how many of the celebrity goings-on that the tabloids gossip about are really unique to celebrities. I mean, we ordinary people scoff at celebrities for having marriages that last less time than we wait for our orders at the Burger King drive-thru, but aren't there also plenty of unsuccessful marriages among non-celebrities as well? The main difference might be that most less famous people can't afford the divorce proceedings. Which brings me to another point as far as rich celebrities go, and that's why they don't use their money to avoid unsavory situations. I'm not talking about buying their way out of prison (which I'm sure many of them do), but, like, why does Britney insist on raising her kids negligently when she could hire a nanny? Why does Paris Hilton drive drunk without a license when she could hire a chauffeur (or, failing that, a taxi)? And I'm much more sympathetic to people developing drug and alcohol habits when those things are all that get them through the day. Money can't buy you happiness, but it CAN buy ways to stave off boredom and depression that DON'T typically result in serious physical and mental health hazards. Unfortunately (or fortunately, to those people who thrive on tales of celebrity stupidity), I think a lot of the rich and famous just think money can buy them more booze and more potent drugs.

It also seems like every female celebrity, and some of the male ones as well, are sold as sex objects even if they're not really that attractive. There are exceptions, and I'm a firm believer in the old adage that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but when Meg Ryan can show up on magazine covers in provocative poses, it's apparent that their standards aren't all that high. They also all think they can start their own clothing lines. Not that I think fashion design is a particularly respectable field anyway, but it really doesn't take much to be a designer these days, does it?
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