Fool for the Famous

by Elisabeth

I have a confession. I fall prey to celebrity obsession. I read the gossip blogs, I have opinions about stars from shows I’ve never seen or who made albums I’ve never heard. Somehow, after a long day of work- or during a long day of work- I’ve found it reassuring to find out what hijinks Miley Cyrus is up to. Or whatever boring vacation the Kardashian’s are taking. They never do anything remotely interesting, and somehow it’s entertaining.

I think in our modern society, we are moving so fast that our mythologies can’t keep up. But we need them, even from people we don’t know living a life we cannot imagine. Modern celebrity has become a living morality play. We take sides (Team Kristen or Team Robert) or we sound off about Lena Dunham as the diffinitive feminist (or not.) There’s a whole lot of politik, spin, and PR that ebbs and flows with our Facebook “likes.” But that’s not the point. Celebrity gossip has become our fairy tales, our myths, our living fables. At least that’s how I justify my facination and indifference to these beautiful people and the narrative they weave- in real time.

Like anyone, I have celebrities I love, but even more that I love to hate. I decide who I imagine these people to be, based on the impressions I get and their album/show/body of work. I’m aware that I really don’t know them. I don’t know if they are loyal friends or selfish lovers. Somehow in my funny morality, I’ve assume that with fame and fortune, celebrities have forfeited the right to claim humanity. They must pay for it with service, by doing more for the world than wearing Dior or getting in Twitter feuds.

I went to theatre with the hopes of becoming a respected actress. At the time, I would have loved to be famous. That was the nineties, before celebrity life had gotten so…intense. It was also before I’d lived some life, or gained any confidence. I think I just wanted attention.

Now I see how much a celebrity gives up in order to fill me with a day’s worth of gowns and gossip. Sometimes reality is a little much, so finding out whatever fool thing Kanye West or Gwenneth Paltrow said- reaffirms me somehow. Because celebrities, in my mind, are characters in a story, reflecting to me my attitudes, biases, and fears. I like my civilian freedom of movement, expression, and ability to discover who I am. In short, I like my foolishness. The nature of celebrity seems unable to embrace that very quality, with all it’s cameras, outfits, and scrutiny. Which is why it’s so damn entertaining!