Why do we feel ‘celebrities’ owe us something?

Greta Garbo

I don’t like the concept of celebrity. Once upon a time that term meant something. It was reserved for people such as Elvis, Greta Garbo or Marilyn Monroe; megastars with the talent to match. Now it’s pinned on anyone who happens to have been on television for five minutes. Reality TV is to blame for that, with its Big Brother and Celebrity Jungle crap. A few weeks ago I came upon Celebrity Masterchef and didn’t have a clue who any of them were, and neither it seemed did anybody else I talked to. These shows are now riddled with unknown people that make those watching it go: “Didn’t she used to be married to that guy off that band?” or “Isn’t he yer man’s son?”

On Wikipedia celebrity is defined as – a person, who has a prominent profile and commands some degree of public fascination and influence in day-to-day media. The term is often synonymous with wealth, implied with great popular appeal, prominence in a particular field, and is easily recognized by the general public.

The first past is the most worrying. We have a fascination with them, a hunger even and in turn they have huge influence over our society. We give them our money, time and adulation, expecting something in return. We want our piece of flesh whatever that may be. So while I don’t like ‘celebrities’/pop ‘stars’ or the power they have, there is another side to this ‘celebrity life’; a fact confirmed to me by watching a documentary on One Direction fans.

One Direction band

There is no nice way to put it. These girls were mental. If they weren’t crying about them, they were sending death threats to whatever girl they happened to be going out with. They stalked them at concerts (which is fair enough as they have paid to be there) but also outside press conferences, their homes, their parents homes and the offices of their record company. In short they felt these five boys owed them something and they wanted it all the time.

I do remember fan mania around boy bands such as NKOTB and Backstreet Boys (yes I am showing my age). Everyone had their posters, their tapes, went to their gigs and watched them on Top of the Pops. But now it’s just maniacal. With such easy access through social media ‘celebrities’ are bombarded with messages that can border on psychopathic. Getting a death threat just because you didn’t stop to get a photo is laughable, but it’s also worrying. Why are so many young girls and teenagers putting all their life’s energy into a group of guys they will never get anywhere near?

Z

I’ve never understood the hysteria around people who are famous. There are many actors, writers and musicians I admire, but I never cried about them. The worst of them all is the Z listers, the Kardashians being the main ones in mind. What the hell are they famous for? What do they actually do apart from talk about their private lives endlessly and wear lots of makeup? Plus they are one of the main culprits in bringing out that awful side to celebrity life. They court the tabloids, use their agents to stir up publicity, share every intimate detail of their lives to anyone who will listen, and as an unfortunate consequence that level of knowledge about a ‘celebrities’ life is now expected. Fans want to know who is getting drunk and where, who such and such is sleeping with, what their favourite brand of perfume is and when they are having children.

Many argue that people in the limelight have asked for this. That they put themselves out there so the intrusion is justified. It’s not. At least not in the case of someone just doing a job and as a consequence being famous for it. (If they do however sell pictures of their children to magazines or leak their sex tapes onto the internet then all bets are off, and may the chips fall where they may). I will go and see a film with Ryan Gosling because he’s a great actor. I will buy a ticket to Bat for Lashes because they make great music. I will go to a book signing of Stephen King because he’s a brilliant writer. I don’t give a crap what they eat for breakfast or do in their spare time, but how come there’s so many people out there that do?

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High heels are here to stay & now they’re after your children

High heel for child

Apparently sales of high-heeled shoes are on the up. Seeing as women pay mad amounts of money just for the glimpse of a red sole, this may come as no surprise. But the problem in this instance is that these heels aren’t for women, they are in fact for children.

Suri Cruise is to blame for this according to the New York Times. The seven year old offspring of the strangest man in the world (albeit a very wealthy and powerful man) chooses to spend her days tottering around in a pair of glittery peep-toes – large heel included. ‘Chooses’ is the key word there. Of course a small girl who likes pink and dreams about being a princess (completely unaware that she is treated as one in reality and does live in a whopping great castle unlike the rest of us minions) is going to want to wear sparkly shoes. It’s Wizard of Oz without the green faced witch. It’s prancing down a yellow brick road without the flying monkeys. It’s fun.

The problem here isn’t Suri or the other children that have these strappy numbers attached to their feet. The problem is the parents. I mean I’d love to leave the house swathed in an oversized blanket clutching a hot water bottle. Or wrap myself in a bin bag when it’s lashing outside and all I really want to do is lie down next to the radiator. But I don’t. Because well apart from the looks of ‘are you mad’ from the general population, it’s just not the done thing. I don’t think my boss would like it, especially if there were meetings involved or any way at all that I was in contact with the general public. Plus I think after a while I may not be able to distinguish the parts of my life anymore as they would all bleed into one big blanket fest. The children may like and want these shoes, but it’s the one with the wallet that buys them. Prancing around in your mother’s (or father’s) heels is no longer a fun thing to do at home, now you can make it a baby’s reality.

Heels

I have to wonder what the thought process is behind this (hopefully) new fad. I mean are these heel purchasing parents just indulging their children’s every whim? Are they worried that their small feet will not get enough bunions and blisters in their life so they need to start early? Is it some kind of endurance test for the products of their loins? A kind of – if you survive a week in those things without socks and on daily walks up a steep hill then you are the master of your destiny, a child truly worthy of my love and attention.

I guess it was only a matter of time before the shoes came next. Everything else in the shops, particularly for girls, is a mini version of what their mother would wear. Or a woman with a penchant for crop tops, tutus and strapless numbers. Why do we all seem in such a rush for kids to grow up? The lines now seem blurred between child and adult, the age of consent merely a watermark that the tide has long swept away.

While writing this I can’t help think of the great sketch in ‘Modern Family’ when the child Lily keeps running away at Disneyland and they don’t know how to stop her. Her grandfather, married to a 8 inch-heeled woman himself knows exactly what to do and takes Lily shopping. When they return she is in heels and shuffling around the place like an arthritic elderly person on a Zimmer frame. Problem solved, parents happy.

So maybe that’s it. Maybe all these parents just want their kids to calm down and take it easy so they can too. I mean after all it’s a better option than Ritalin.