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Friday, March 05, 2004

An unfair world. 

Sometimes I really, really loathe entertainment media.

Okay, most of the time I loathe entertainment media.

I do not like the disturbingly voyeuristic nature of People and US Weekly. I do not like that, when attempting to track down a listing of the Golden Globe winners on the night of the awards, all I could find on the official page were pictures of the nominees in high school, who was wearing what, who got their hair done where, and (I'm sure) what vanity douche spa was hip this year.

Case in point: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. These two didn't have a chance. Why do I say that? Because they acted so in love that eventually the "honeymoon" had to end when reality set in? Sure, that's part of it. But who doesn't know someone who goes overboard in a new relationship? They acted on a different scale than the rest of us, but they also live on a different scale than the rest of us.

If you need to be reminded, we put them where they are. They did not inherit fame. Fame is a pact between entertainer and the audience. They worked for it, and we came to them, willingly. Their stature is our fault.

The constant, almost perverse overexposure of the hapless couple in the media would eventually, of course, backlash. And did it backlash on People? No. It backlashed on Affleck and Lopez.

It happened to Gigli. The American public got so sick of the constant, unwavering, surveillance-style observation of these two people that Gigli was destroyed roughly four months before it even came out. People loudly proclaimed it was the worst movie ever made, which is categorically fucking ridiculous, and you know it. I can think of worse movies that came out that same month, nevermind in that year, or in all of eternity.

That's just one example, though. I think there's something seriously wrong with the way we treat the cult of celebrity. We go to great pains to elevate these people into godhood, to treat Hollywood like the new Olympus, to tell and retell gossip on these people like it somehow had any relevance to everyday life. And when we reach critical mass? When every single magazine cover on the stand has the same person posing or hiding their face, smiling or crying?

We turn on them and hound them to the ends of the earth. We destroy their reputations, make fun of their artistic work without giving it serious, objective study, we give them demeaning and ridiculous nicknames (Bennifer, Jacko), we openly mock them on those very same magazine covers that a scant few months previous praised and adored them. They become the villains of America. We become harpies, hurling tomatoes at our former idols.

And quietly, unobtrusively, People magazine and sets its sights on the next target...

I wonder. Do we truly hate the celebrities for what they are? Or do we simply hate ourselves, for devoting so much of our lives to the study of someone else's?

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