Worlds & Time

Monday, May 01, 2006

On Celebrity

It isn't just the actors that are celebrities. It's the politicians and the musicians and the rich and even the scientists. "Jane Goodall is a rockstar," one of my professors in college once said.

And I was thinking about that today, and I was wondering why. I mean, what do those people share that normal, everyday people on the street lack?

And I know the answer to that for myself. I'm not going to generalize and pretend that it's the same reason that you might have come up with, except that for the rest of this blog I am going to pretend exactly that.

What's my answer to celebrity? Why do I love Brad, Jake and even Fredrick Ecklund?

It's all about power. The ability to get something done, the same power that I've been dreaming about all these years, and fills the core of the books that I write. In the books, it's just random. Why can some kids snuff out stars or bring them into being? Because it's about the seemingly arbitrary way that people react to power in this universe.

And super powers aren't the only manifestation of power, especially in the real world. Political power, visibility, and even money mean power in America. Celebrities in America can't be poor and still be celebrities. Just like Michael Jackson, poor celebrities are a joke.

The different facets of power can be interesting. It's not always as simple as the polical power of a president or prime minister. What power do actors have? It's the power of getting parts in movies that millions of people will see, and getting paid millions for that.

And there's another subtle facet that actors have. That's the power to make someone feel that way. Writers and Musicians have those powers as well. Writers especially can make people feel what they want them to feel. The reverse of empathy, which is truly a massive power in regard to the population.

Sports figures have the power to consistently win. Because the ones that don't, they really aren't the celebrities. It's Phelps, Hamm, Jordan and Woods that are the sports celebrities, but in the case of Hamm and Phelps, you'll notice that it's only when they have the power of the Olympics and World Records behind them that they have celebrity. If you think about it, the reason that we love an underdog is still associated with power; if you can win, great, but winning from a back position requires even more power than someone who's already near the top.

And scientists and religious figures have the power of truth, which almost every good scientist would object to and almost every good religious authority would not object to. But that's how the masses seem to see them, as the fighting arbiters of naturalism and spirituallity and that's definately a power.

And so those with the power, even if it's a temporary power, they have this ingrained celebrity which is so funny. It's obsessive and deeply jealous. We don't really care so much about Britney Spears in the sense that we hope that she'll succeed as much as we do in a schadenfreund way because we want her place. Her power to drive a Mercedes, make millions, make a disaster of her life, and her power to manipulate our emotions (and lust, for the hetero men out there).

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