Today’s topic of interest is the cult of personality, also known as the celebrity fetish. While America isn’t unique in its love of other people business, it does it best and with typical American swagger. This isn’t an indictment of the country, but rather the throngs of “human” beings that worship other people for what they themselves will never be able to accomplish, which is apparently “greatness.”
There is a quote I’ve always been fond of and it comes straight outta 1985: If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything. Spoken by a Doc Brown, in Back to the Future. Penned from the hands of writers, through the mouth of an actor and forever ingrained into the public consciousness.Writers are the modern day philosophers, but rather than stand on a podium, we have a plethora of ways to let out some of the pithiest aphorisms of our day. The privacy challenged (Celebrity for the Layman) are no different from anyone else, in fact, I mean to prove it within the confines of this blog.
What is a Celebrity?
I want to have a look at basic definitions. It’s integral to understand what it is we’re dealing with, before we dissect it to its root.
: The state of being celebrated : fame
: A famous or celebrated person
The definition of celebrated is as follows
: Widely known and often referred to
These are too fucking vague. Allow me to rewrite a definition that better encompasses what people seem to think about celebrities.
Celebrity (U.S. Edition)
1. Anyone who is of interest to the public for doing what they themselves wish they could do, but for whatever reason, are unable to do.
3. A person who is in the “Public Eye.”
4. Someone who is considered, by the worshiper, far more “fascinating” than the person from whom the worship occurs.
5. A person who is ill-equipped to be a role model for the nation’s youth.
6. A built up fantasy from the primitive mind
9. Pinnacle of perfection
10. Someone who ignites religious fervor.
11. A Flawed HUMAN.
This is what the term has seemingly evolved into and it’s come to mean by today’s standards.
I’m taking a position here that we’re all celebrities. Not even the 15 minutes of fame, but rather in a much more realistic way. Allow me to express now, how the United States seems to see celebrity.
Let’s start out with a small anecdote to give background into my train of thought.When I was a child, I met a few “celebrities.” Not by my own desire, but because I was usually dragged along or in the wrong place, wrong time. Given the choice, I don’t bother with most of them. The list is quite paltry and meaningless to me. Some off the top of my head, Sam Kennison, A Celtics basketball player, Ted Kennedy, and a few musicians. Quite frankly, as a child, I didn’t understand who I was meeting, why I was meeting them and who the hell they were. I’ve managed to maintain this worldview well into my adult years and quite frankly, I still don’t get it. Not a single one of these people have done a single thing that you are incapable of. In fact, I know so.
One of my problems with the term is how fucking vague the definition is. I’ve been searching for something that goes a bit deeper than it does. I’ve found nothing, so allow me to make some arguments as to the needed change and why we should take a step back as to what celebrity is and isn’t.
If you refer to the definition above, it’s a celebrated person. Celebration is straightforward. How many people are celebrated every day? We celebrate people every day. Loved one, friends, ancestors, children and even the beautiful woman that makes one hell of a cup of coffee. We celebrate these people on a lesser scale, though and not a massive scale. Yet, I would venture to say they are no less celebrities than the superstar.
Now I want to bring light to the part of celebrated that is even vaguer than the definition. “Widely known.” What does this mean, does it have to be state wide, nationwide or worldwide? There are people in my city that have followings. They are known, but you might not considered them a celebrity. Is celebrity, then, only people who are known by a certain sect of people or do you have to be known even by people who detest you or indifferent to you?
The president should be considered a celebrity, he fits the known by loved, hated and indifferent. That just might be nationwide, though. Other countries have presidents you might not even know of. Maybe they don’t cause a ruckus that sends them through the internet or newspapers. They run their country efficiently and retire when their term is up, like ninjas, you never knew they were there.
Here is one other thing to really get to the crux of the matter when it comes to celebrity and that is “Public Eye.”
What does this mean? Aren’t we all in the public eye? A famous character one said the “How to we first begin to covet?”
The answer, of course, is that we covet what we see every day.
A little aside here. I was bullied in middle school, everyday, from 6th to 9th grade. Four years of brutal harassment that would have made a lesser man break down and lash out. I didn’t. I kept going, despite my detestment of school and outright loathing of those who would attack me, verbally or sometimes, violently. I’m not an angel, I fought back with fist and words, myself. One day, after being told by the principal that I was being called something horrible, which I won’t repeat here, but it was slanderous, she refused to express which students were saying such, due to fear of recourse. In other words, I having my name sullied was far less important than what I might do, such as sue the school. After all, the football team needed New jerseys, didn’t they? She had knowledge of slander and I had no recourse. Sound familiar? Apparently being in school made me a “celebrity.”
Sounds familiar, right? I’m aloud to scrutinize someone like Glen Beck, which I have, to the point of what would be considered slander and he has little to no recourse.
The government isn’t allowed to interject on freedom of speech, so most of this is covered as freedom of expression. When all it is, is the principal protecting the bullies and blaming the victim.
To add another bit of fact into the mix, some places, such as the state I live in, allowed for anyone to take a picture of you, your kids, friends, relatives, etc. Their only recourse was that if it was done enough, perhaps they could get a restraining order. Sounds a lot like, well, celebrities.
When celebrities have no more rights afforded to them than the “Commoner” then why are protecting slander? Why can I take pictures of them with their kids and make a profit off of it?
Not everything is open to the public unless you make it so. Yet a person’s sex life can be when they’re in the “public eye.” Even when the details of which have no bearing on their ability to do a job well done.
High School never ends. When they say high school prepares us for life, they don’t kid around. Not with knowledge, but with the typical assholes we’re going to have to deal with the rest of our lives.
When someone goes to a WWE event, which is televised, they can become a meme just like anyone else. A child. Let that sink in. They are not a celebrity by anyone standards, but apparently being in the public eye makes him/her open to scrutiny, I guess. I hope the kid doesn’t have a “deviant” sexuality, such as homosexuality, because the public has a right to know.
I’m not asking for special rights for anyone, in fact, quite the opposite. I’m asking for this to extend to anyone and everyone. If privacy is for a privileged few, those are special rights and it’s something I’ve always been against, baring few instances.
Some people can take the abuse. I’ve run for office and loved every second of it. Nothing like being so squeaky clean they have to lob fallacies and other bullshit at you, in an attempt to discredit you. Yet not everyone is like me and should not be subjected to it. No one really ask for it, they accept it as part of the job they desire to get into. Yet, once more going back to the definition, celebrity is someone who is regarded in their field as a go to person. This is encompasses even less people than the vague definition above, which means a person is only a celebrity when they become a master in their field, which I think, is a much more appropriate definition, since mastery of one’s craft, career or field is a lot more appropriate for such a status. Kids should not be celebrities, regardless of what they’re doing.
I know this is a long piece, so if you stuck with it so far, thanks, but to paraphrase a famous song from the 60’s. Human respect is disintegrating and this whole crazy world is so fucking frustrating.
I personally think something should be done and if I can add something, I’m going to do so.