We love to watch

July 29, 2007

The Culture of Celebrity. Even as I flip through the Startracks of People magazine and look at Gwyneth in Central Park or Demi and Ashton at a Lakers game I wonder to myself: what is the attraction?  Why do I care about what these people so removed from my life are doing on a Sunday morning outside of their residence?  What is the thrill I feel to know that this seemingly untouchable persona has a couple of rolls around the belly?

This was going to start out as a diatribe against the silly fascination we have with the celebrated among us.  The celebs who are famous for being famous, in trouble again as the whole nation watches on.  But I realize that an attack is ill-founded.  Just because I cannot completely grasp the allure of the famous Other does not mean that I cannot identify with that impulse to know what TomKat are up to.  Its like this: I don’t really care but I kinda do.

And I think my attitude is indicative of the culture we have created that loves its celebrities even though they may have their relapses or wasteful predilections.  Lindsey is back in trouble (Who would have thought?), Paris learned her lesson (Or did she?) and Oprah has discovered the Ultimate Diet (Wickedly awesome!).  What am I getting at?  When we look at them we don’t have to look at ourselves.  When enough of us look in the direction of the same person then their is justification for attention misplaced.  We have something to talk about and (Yeah!) it doesn’t really involve us but we can feel passionate about it.  Paradoxically we feel closer to life as we look outward.

I was going to write more but I have to see if Barry and his big muscles can put another one into the right field bleachers.  I don’t want to be the only one not watching.


13 Responses to “We love to watch”

  1. Paris Parfait Says:

    Well I think it’s a sad state of affairs when our attention is focused on people who are famous for being famous, rather than issues that actually affect all our lives. The apathy of Americans these days distresses me to no end. It’s like Nero fiddling while Rome burns.

  2. gautami Says:

    We dwell on the inane things forgetting the bigger picture.

  3. Karen Says:

    I will admit it. I read People, usually on a weekly basis, because my roommate buys it and leaves it around the house. I cannot lie, Angelina intrigues me and I would love to know which celeb Jeter will date next. I don’t think there is anything wrong with my curiosity.

    At least I read the stories about the non-celebs in the magazine too!!

  4. Betty C. Says:

    Don’t you think this has gotten worse over the past few years? I don’t remember star stories popping up so much in the mainstream media 20 years ago. I guess everybody has to try to sell their product…

  5. Who are these celebreties of whom you speak?

    I can never understand the fascination. Even where I admire an actor or a writer for what they’ve done I don’t get that whole celebrity thing.

  6. whypaisley Says:

    vicarious living… simply that…

  7. Matthew Says:

    Yes Paris Parfait we do seem to be able to direct our attention outward quite effectively when trouble is at hand. I wonder if celebrity watching actually increases in times of war to take our minds off of the horror.

    Right Gautami it is so easy to restrict our perspective and focus on the truly miscellaneous.

    Karen I don’t think there is a thing wrong with your curiousity. I have looked at many a People magazine. Still I wonder why I do…seems like we all have a bit of the voyeur in us. Makes me think of Hitchcock’s Rear Window.

    Betty C. it may be worse I’m not too sure. I know that it feels like there is too much of it everywhere in the media. Did we really need that much coverage about Anna Nicole’s death.

    Let’s see Crafty…even though I know some readers are international I sometimes forget about the cultural references. In the order presented: Gwyneth Paltrow(actress), Demi Moore(actress), Ashton Kutcher(actor), Lindsey Lohan(actress), Paris Hilton(heiress to fortune), Oprah Winfrey(talk-show host) and Barry Bonds(baseball player). Oh and TomKat refers to the close relationship between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. And I didn’t have to look up any of this information!

  8. Karen Says:

    p.s. I TAGGED YOU!!

  9. Tori Says:

    A few months ago I wrote about my addiction to People magazine…for years I was a reader. And then, I stopped…I just felt compelled to make more room in my head for what was really important…even though I was mortified recently to learn that Julia Roberts had given birth…I didn’t even know she was pregnant :0~

  10. Paul Says:

    Yes, what is it about celebrities that make us not want to know and yet want to know. I wonder if it’s just simple curiosity, and celebrities are our way of satisfying it.

  11. Matthew Says:

    Very true whypaisley

    Tori I can completely identify with that kind of addiction. It is so easy to get wrapped in something extraneous to our lives. Good for you in allowing more space to come into your life. And congrats to Julia!

    It is a mystery Paul and of course a wonderful paradox. Humans would not be so fascinating without their pulls in seemingly opposite directions.

  12. awareness Says:

    I’m with Tori……was blindsided by Julia’s latest birthing! I used to read these mags as well…….but my writing has taken over my life…..and my reading? It has changed to fuel my writing I guess. And yet, the news still seems to filter through sometimes. weird.

    we all need escape…..especially when everything looks so gloomy and doomy…..and this is fine if we take the time to learn about ourselves and to connect with the people in our lives. It is where phenomenal truly lives.

  13. Matthew Says:

    Awareness- It’s so wonderful that writing has taken over your life: what a gift! Of course we need that escape and it is important to recognize the very important connections in our own lives. Thanks!

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