Fame from an Unfamous Person’s Viewpoint

I don’t get it.


I really don’t.

What is it that makes people want to get up close and personal with celebrities? What is it that urges people to collect autographs, or meet, in any way possible, a famous person?

How do they justify interrupting a total stranger’s date-night with their need to tell them what a wonderful, lifelong fan of theirs they are?

Why do they read about these people’s personal habits? Why is it so needful to track every rumour, and devour every paparazzi photo of someone they don’t know’s intimate moments?

It weirds me out.

I mean, I get that you join a Facebook page, and enjoy what an actor, a musician, or a writer says about their work. I even get why when they post about their lives: it’s amusing and heartwarming and fun.

I do actually follow some writers, artists, film-makers, and musicians on Twitter and FB – it’s fun to know what Neil Gaiman thinks about a review of American Gods, or why the writing team of Ilona Andrews’ novels are behind schedule – but those are controlled by the people involved: they tell you as much or as little as they feel comfortable with.

Interviews: sure. The famous person in question can refuse to allow certain kinds of questions, or simply decline to answer.

PR pix – ditto.

Bu think about how you’d feel if someone burst into your room at 6 a.m., snapped a picture of you in your raggedy-ass PJs and messy hair, and then put it up on the public bulletin board at work for everyone to criticize or chuckle over.

Think about going into a performance review and salary negotiation with that as common property, and ask yourself if that isn’t a violation.

People will say that if they didn’t want to live in a media fishbowl, they should have stayed in a dead-end job and out of the public eye – but that’s really the most selfish, obtuse, and unfeeling answer of all.

Would you prefer only self-centred, talentless show-offs to be the creators in this world? Really?

I think it’s really important not to overestimate what people making the art and entertainment you crave actually owe you.

They owe you the very best their talent can provide.

But they don’t owe you one nano-second of their lives outside of that, and expecting more than they are willing to give is unreasonable.

And let’s dig deeper.

What does it say about you, that you want more?

What does it say about you, that you avidly suck up their every action and thought without respect to them as fellow-humans?

What does it say about you, that you are willing to believe the worst of them, that you, in fact, crave visible evidence of their shortcomings splashed across your newsfeed every day?

If a close-up of a zit on Beyonce’s face fills you with ecstatic glee, this says an Encyclopedia Brittanica volume’s worth about you…

And less than nothing about Beyonce.


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