Arts, Celebrity, Citizen Kane, Envy, Film, Hans Christian Andersen, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Orson Welles, Peter Bogdanovich
I just don’t get the obsession with celebrity. I don’t understand the change in atmosphere when one walks into a room. Fill a room with them and there is a vortex that could rival anything in Sedona, AZ. Is it the lack of intelligence? The lack of intelligence combined with massive inferiority complexes and huge ego’s? This is a strange combo, right? Add their publicists, managers, and assistants and you have a melting pot of madness. I know it is cliché, but it truly is The Emperor’s New Clothes.
I like to refer to Hans Christian Andersen’s story because I have heard other people do so, and it seems apt. I’m guessing it is applicable because of how sycophantic people seem to get around celebrity, sycophantic enough to get you to believe in invisibility. There is a very, very powerful belief (though nobody will admit it) that celebrities are God-like or have super powers, can stop time or are simply just more important than a civilian. This power is derived from making a movie.
There was a time when you had to make a “motion picture” to be famous, but nowadays you only have to own a computer and okay, maybe be an heiress, nude up, and shoot something in night vision. Post the “film” anonymously on the Internet, then claim it was stolen from you. Voila! Instant celebrity.
As a civilian in Los Angeles, you will be looked over, passed up, excluded, denied access, refused seating, made to wait, phone calls ignored and a general disdain will be applied to your visage. If you have never experienced this kind of treatment and you don’t actually care about actors, directors, models, and the like, then you are in for an experience. You must have a very strong sense of self! You must maintain your dignity and remember what is truly important- in the larger scheme of things. You should try and laugh about it- even if it means your job. Okay, so maybe you should laugh on the inside. Above all, you can’t let it get to you.
Of course that is easier said than done. It can be a true test of your identity. What is fame to you? Who deserves your respect and gratitude? Remember, there is NOTHING behind the curtain. Nothing. Nada.
I refer to Anderson’s fairytale but a “motion picture” comes to my mind as well when I am faced with the ridiculousness of Hollywood. I think of Citizen Kane. Now I’m sure that this movie has been analyzed to pieces and thesis’s been written, etc. but since I am a layperson, I will just tell it as I remember it. It’s the final scene with Orson Welles (genius, madman, forgotten human) on his deathbed and all the wealth and fame of his life before, gone. He is alone and his final word is “Rosebud”; the name of his sled as a child. The name of his sled! He is referring to a time in his life when he had been happy.
So what does that have to do with anything? Fame and fortune can be taken away and will be taken away but happy memories, good friends, family, even kind strangers can make a life worth living. Perhaps I should be famous for being a dog walker? Certainly the dogs at my local park think I am a celebrity- but that’s because they know I have treats in my pocket, and I let them sit on the furniture when they are over. I don’t know, maybe my point is that there really is no reason to think that someone is better than you because they made a movie and/or are a millionaire. It is an age-old story. Personally I don’t believe in hero worship, be it an actor, teacher, priest, yoga instructor, bus driver, etc. If you are polite and gracious, I will be the same in return.
I saw Peter Bogdanovich one day and it reminded me of something he once said (I had to look it up):
“I made a lot of mistakes when I was successful in the ’70s. You know, there’s no handbook for success so I couldn’t make out what vibe I was picking up. But it’s called jealousy, envy and loathing, though they come at you with smiles because they want something from you. So you put on a front of arrogance to cover insecurity.”
Perhaps that is why Hollywood “industry” Orks (as my sister affectionately calls them) act so crudely? Their insecurity is masked by arrogance? Somehow, in this day and age, I think that’s being generous.
I love this one so true. In many ways its my story too.
Thank you buddy.
s. Stockwell said:
I know… you said it right. The celebs are our avitars? we invest in them our hopes and dreams and our delusions of grandeur. We love to see them ecstatic with happiness and demolished with grief? we play with them with our remote control, clicking them off with hatred and distain…”take that, Paris!”