Rant: Seriously, What Is the Big Fucking Deal with Celebrities?

Photo by Wendy Wei on Pexels.com

I’m having one of those moments where I’m extremely frustrated and I have no outlet for it. So I’m going to try writing about it and see what happens. 

I feel like I’m surrounded by people who are obsessed with celebrities. Musicians, actors, billionaires, politicians. It’s one thing if they actually know the person. I’m quite happy to listen to a story that is about the person recounting it. One degree of separation makes it less interesting, but still worth listening to once. And if it’s just an actually good story, independent of the celebrity status of its characters, that’s great. I read works of fiction or watch movies and TV shows depicting fictional characters in fictional situations. And the reason those exist is because they are good stories.

But these documentaries about Frank Zappa, tabloid coverage of Johnny Depp, the endless, inescapable memes of Donald Mother Fucking Trump bore me to tears. If I went on and on and on like that about my cousin’s husband’s eighth grade math teacher (whom I’ve never met or even heard of because apparently he or she was not interesting enough to mention), eventually people would decide that I was weird and boring and creepily stalkerish. Like, what am I doing tracking down this person’s family members and childhood friends to interview them, somehow obtaining their home video footage and documenting every quote they ever uttered to post on instagram? Why am I telling the whole world how he met his wife and the amazing and innovative methods he uses to create his power points. Why is this behavior ok? You could say, well that’s the price of fame. But why the fuck are people so interested???

I understand liking a piece of music, or even many pieces by a particular musician. I enjoy many of Ed Sheeran’s songs. That doesn’t mean I care about the greater significance behind his tattoos. I like to watch David Attenborough documentaries. The cinematography is spectacular and he has an amazing voice that I will never get tired of hearing. But I don’t care how he met his wife. (Does he even have a wife? I have no idea.) I love listening to what Noam Chomsky has to say. I think he’s brilliant and really knows what the fuck he’s talking about. I’m honestly a little on the fence about his linguistic theories. I majored in linguistics and I am not normally very interested in politics, but I like what he has to say about politics more than I do about linguistics. I really don’t care that his father was a Hebrew teacher. 

What bearing does Frank Zappa’s mustache have on the quality of his music? Why does the origin of the name Z.Z. Top matter? How are J.K. Rowling’s views on trans people relevant to the Harry Potter series? I suppose if you disagree with someone strongly enough on a moral level, you might want to avoid doing things that would result in increasing their profits. But any kind of fame, including notoriety, adds to the power that a person has over society at large. So if you don’t like the president of your particular nation, just don’t talk about them. (I do acknowledge and apologize for the irony here. I have myself used the name of one of those unfortunate creatures in this rant already.)

Why can’t we just show an interest in the people around us? Why do we feel compelled to focus so much of our attention and mental energy on total strangers? I want to hear about my roommate’s day and about her latest cooking project. I want to hear about the sidewalk chalk art that my friend is working on and if he’s gotten over his strep throat. I want to know how my daughter’s first day of school went, how my sister is liking her new job, what my neighbors are feeding their chickens. I don’t want to sit around and listen to these people talk about someone else that neither of us has ever met or ever will meet just because they’re famous.

Is that so much to ask?

One Reply to “Rant: Seriously, What Is the Big Fucking Deal with Celebrities?”

  1. I agree that celebrity worship has many negatives. It distracts us from more important things. Time spent thinking about celebrities is time not spent making our world a better place. And it teaches some pretty fucked up values–materialism, ageism, sexism, an adoration of wealth and the wealthy. I find it ironic that people who pretend to follow Jesus Christ can espouse these values at the same time.

    That said, I am guilty of being curious about them. I want to know how George Harrison’s wife dealt with his serial infidelity (and later Clapton’s). I want to know if Eddy Vedder has any insight into how to change the world. Can Zuckerman and Bezos please explain who is really pulling the strings up there in billionaire land?

    And envy! I want Neil Young’s guitar abilities. David Crosby’s voice. (And his sailboat!)

    At least I don’t pretend to be a Christian.

    Like

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