Between Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace, I don’t know if I can ever leave home again! Especially now that Lady GaGa is now the queen of Twitter, surpassing Britney Spears with the most followers.
Make no mistake – the preceding was pure sarcasm. I say any decent article fails if you have to point out where sarcasm ends and begins, however I feel that I must point it out. Why?
Let’s face it, with this new trend of following celebrities on social networking sites, the collective intelligence level of the Internet has dropped substantially. People are infatuated with updates, blogs and self-aggrandizing musings from their favorite Hollywood socialite or celebrity. With the advent of social networking came easier ways to follow those celebrities. Think of it – now you can know what Paris Hilton is doing without having to stalk her! As the cause-and-effect train rolled down the tracks, investigative, insightful journalism eventually took a backseat to tabloid journalism. Next stop?
Celebrities taking being the most followed person on a social networking site as a point of pride and becoming a viral billboard for them.
After news broke of Lady Gaga becoming the most followed Twitter Twit, she posted a short video of herself in front of a mirror (naturally), wearing the Twitter logo on her gaudy headdress and waving a wand around with a bird flying around her on a wire. She thanked all of her “fans” and vowed to keep Tweeting and Tweeting.
She also vowed to “never take part in online celebrity shenanigans”.
Make no mistake, if she does partake in any “shenanigans,” the average follower will eat it up and follow the events like John Hinckley Jr. followed Jodie Foster.
“But John – you’re watching the exact thing that you’re berating us for watching!” Well, someone has to take a bullet for sanity and reason here! Music critics have to listen to the music they end up hating and demeaning. I don’t see this as much different.
I often wonder why people are so obsessed with celebrity culture. Is it because we aspire to be like them – rich, famous and shameless? Are our own lives so inadequate that we need to validate ourselves through the lives of celebrities? Or is news these days just so depressing and repetitious that we need to reach out to the capricious realm of celebrity news? Personally, I don’t see much variety in celebrity news – it’s the same junkhead cheating on his wife, the same imbecile socialite being booked for defecating in Walmart, and the same actress winning an Oscar for portraying someone with much more worth and talent and much less money and recognition.
Make no mistake, the true, investigative journalism is out there – but it’s not nearly as lucrative as it was. These days, you’re held in high regard if you can snap a photo of a celebrity sampling coat hangers at a back-alley abortion clinic and write an expose about it. You’re a popular writer if you can get an exclusive with Joan Rivers’ fifteenth layer of skin.
Today, I read an article on CNN about the show “Keeping up With the Kardashians.” The season five opener attracted 4.7 million viewers. The Jersey Shore second season premiere sucked in 5.3 spiral-eyed viewers. The big story for the Kardashian opener? She’s moving into a new $4 million home! While us hard-working Americans struggle along, we just can’t get enough of this lazy, spoiled socialite.
That being said, I think I’ve found my answer. We subconsciously want to be like these celebrities. We’d drop our tools and leave our tractors on the side of the road if we could make millions to stand in front of a camera or have a wealthy family. We revel in the gossip, the secrets, and the buzz. We need to know everything about our favorite celebrities so we can possibly find something in their past we can relate with, even on a minuscule level. We REALLY eat up those “rags to riches” stories, don’t we?
Which brings me to the celebrities themselves. What sets them apart from the average, everyday citizen? Nothing, if you ask me. Money doesn’t count, either. They are human beings with human emotions and human relations who partake in the actions (and atrocities) of humans. They don’t just hatch from a golden egg somewhere – they come from us! Our society. So at best, the celebrity society, as I call it, is a reflection on “the rest of us.” So, if you, an average American citizen, flipped on the television and saw some moron on TMZ giving play-by-play of a video of you walking out of a tanning salon, would you be very happy? Would you be content if some nimrod with a camera was waiting for you to step outside your door every morning? Would you be tickled to bits if the office knew that you slept with Johan, the hairy, smelly German immigrant who works in the mail room? All because they checked a website?
I think I can safely postulate that you’d be less than thrilled. They have a desire for privacy just like you and I, however they’re somehow exempt from that basic human need.
Yes, I’m bashing celebrities and defending them. Can’t get much more unbiased than that! Take that, Fox News.
P.S. Congratulations to Lady Gaga. May your loyal fans be inundated with insipid updates from your feathered, glittery fingertips.