Tag Archives: Media

K-Stew Cheated on R-Pats: Who Cares? An Analysis of Celebrity

27 Jul

In Woody Allen’s new-ish film, To Rome With Love, he has a thread concerning an ordinary man, Leopoldo, played by Roberto Benigni. Leopoldo finds himself captured by fame, quite literally. He leaves his humdrum, nothing special life in the morning, says goodbye to his wife, only to find himself suddenly accosted by reporters and photographers. Paparazzi surrounds him; flashbulbs blind him; microphones capture his sound bites, recording what he ate for breakfast and whether he wears boxers or briefs. No doubt this is Woody Allen’s clever commentary on the notion of celebrity, investigating how truly odd it is that we care about these inane details of strangers lives.

When one strips away the created aura that is celebrity or fame, how different is Leopoldo, from R-Pats, from you or me? If you are too cultured to know, R-Pats and K-Stew are the names bestowed upon Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, the stars who were catapulted into the limelight with the debut of the succession of the ultra-popular Twilight films. What causes this obsession with a person, who when it comes down to it, is really just a person who happens to have a cool job? This fascination with an ordinary person elevates them over and above who they are in reality, creates something like a simulacra, a false reality that doesn’t exist. Is Angelina Jolie still Angelina Jolie when she visits countries where no one knows her? Or is she just a really pretty woman named Angelina?

The same is true for the attention given to royalty or athletes and it can be traced virtually throughout time. It seems we find someone we perceive as better than ourselves, more glamorous, or rich, or has something we want and fixate on them. They become an ideal as opposed to a person. But are they ideal or better? Probably not. Inevitably they will disappoint us. They will come out with a sex video, or leave the house without makeup, or say something stupid and give themselves away only to fall out of favor with the masses.

This is a very common cycle. We lift them up and tear them down. Media loves to sell it and we love to buy it. We love to create this unreal persona and then “figure out” that they are just like you and I.

There are even magazine articles about it. They feed the parking meters. They hit magazine stands. They fly with pillows. They use airport luggage carts. We are astounded by this. How could Eva Longoria fly with a pillow?! There are millions of people who feed parking meters every day. Why do we care when Wilmer Valderrama does it?

Perhaps, when one can identify with, or find flaws in a person perceived as perfect somehow it justifies our own flaws, lifts us up because they are less ideal. Consider the current Reality Television epidemic. Why do we love celebrity train wrecks so much?

Via MTV

Is it that the cast of MTV’s the Jersey Shore lives so differently than most of us that causes us to watch, eyes wide with horror? Or, do we enjoy seeing pseudo-celebrities make fools of themselves? Does it make us feel better to watch the cast of six, knowing that at the very least, no matter who you are, there are six people less intelligent and more crazy than you are?

I am just as guilty as the next person. I watch The Real Housewives more than I care to admit. But what if we didn’t? What if we all woke up and saw it for what it is: a bunch of twenty-somethings drinking too much, just like at every bar across America, people buying a magazine, people putting money in a parking meter, people just like you and I, except with cameras following them?

What if we all said, who cares?

© Copyright 2012 hairsprayandhemingway

Hairspray and Hemingway

18 Jun

“Be daring, be different, be impractical. Be anything that will assert imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the common place, the slaves of the ordinary” – Sir Cecil Beaton

Why My First Post Took 3 ½ Weeks to Write: A Cultural Analysis

This post has been a labor of several weeks. And not for lack of topics, I have started and stopped over a dozen budding posts. I began writing each brightly and optimistically enough, only to eventually shudder at its stupidity. In a society where every thought is believed to be of enough consequence to compel the individual to tweet, post, text, or otherwise make known to the world that they “just ate the bombest sandwich” or other such amazing insights into the human psyche, what is with my excessive self-critique?

It seems editing and buffering one’s thoughts or the inner monologue has become obsolete, giving way to…the outer monologue, a self-important validation of any and every notion to infiltrate one’s mind. Censorship ironically is the only thing being suppressed.

In fact, in the wake of such wide-spread narcissism, I discovered a virtual revolt seething. Counter culture websites, like Tweeting Too Hard, BlogAntagonist, and StupidAssBlogs.blogspot.com exist purely to satirize such immortalized errors in judgment. The list goes on. Hate sites are popping up just as quickly as crap can twitter out of one’s mouth. This particular little gem comes to us from Tweeting Too Hard on behalf of brettschulte: “I gave my cleaning lady a raise today, even though she didn’t ask, as my own little contribution to fighting the recession”.  (TweetingtooHard).

Ironically the performative nature of identity and the urge to manipulate others’ perception is most certainly the motivation for such trivial proclamations and for my own literary self-consciousness. Through carefully chosen duck face photos and perhaps less carefully chosen status updates, an individual can craft an identity. Brettschulte’s tweet, for example, is a transparent self-identification of the author. Brett, though the name is androgynous, is probably a man. I don’t know any women who refer to a housekeeper as a “cleaning lady”. Clearly, it is very important that the world know that he is not only well off enough to have a “cleaning lady”, but also has enough financial freedom to arbitrarily give her a raise. Thank you, Brett, for your humanitarian contribution with a side of elitist humble brag.

I suppose that it isn’t surprising that with my judgment of others’ questionable contributions to the global dialogue, a fear of that same judgment emerged.  What will my blog say about me? Will my ramblings end up displayed on the likes of blogsarestupid.com, a venue committed to touting the stupidity of…blogs? No, the irony is not lost on me.

In the past, status has been defined by the artifice created by humans: clothing, possessions, housing, etc. Is the new social identifier the status update? If so, what qualifies me to write this blog? I’m a University of California student, who works part-time at a (fantastic) beauty shop with 0 Facebook friends. That’s right, I said it. I’m not on Facebook. Let the genuflecting begin. I am a veritable social media pauper.

It seems we have evolved to include virtual simulacra of social structure. With the democratization of media, comes the inevitable organization of such. You have white-collar bloggers who make money on their pseudo literary ventures. The emerging middle class: those who earn a living off advertising or product endorsements.  How many Facebook friends and Twitter followers one has is increasingly important: for some it is their livelihood, for others it is synonymous with status.  By extension, Brett with his profound influence to the Twitter community, not to mention boundless idiocy, is no doubt of a higher social tier than I, according to this paradoxical social construction. And therein lies the root of my writer’s block and also the premise of my blog.

I want to be a part of the amazing exchange of ideas happening faster and more authentically than ever before through social media; however, I abhor its use to assault the intelligence of innocent readers everywhere. I revolt against MySpace style self portraits, online dating, and tweets that really, no one cares to read. What has happened to the representation of the twenty-something? I refuse to succumb to this homogenized portrait of my generation.

Hairspray and Hemingway is the fulfillment of my personal paradox, a place for my inordinate number of thoughts on topics from politics to beauty to literary criticism. As both a literature major and part-time shampoo peddler, my life is one big inconsistency. One minute, I’m exploring the notions of humanity in The Faerie Queen and King Lear and the next I’m knee deep in bronzer and hairspray, and loving every minute of it.

 

 © Copyright 2012 hairsprayandhemingway

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