Leave Fame Alone

Jose Vilson 2 Comments

The Truman ShowI recently saw one of the most disturbing videos of the year when I saw Chris Crocker (a.k.a. “Leave Britney Alone” guy) on MySpace, sobbing his eyes out as if he was channeling Spears’ soul himself. It was bananas. The mere fact that someone not even involved with Spears whatsoever can turn his angst and anger against the media in the form of a viral video makes me think what I’ve been thinking all along: fame is merely a reflection of society as a whole.

That’s easy to say, and almost simplistic in its nature, but the same people who notice this will undoubtedly say that famous people get what’s coming to them. Britney Spears should have known Kevin Federline was a sleazeball. Anna Nicole was a trainwreck to begin with so it was expected of her to die the way she did. Kurt Cobain was nothing more than a druggie and the way he died was normal for people like him. Michael Jackson is a weirdo, a child molester, and a White woman in a skeleton’s body. Michael Vick is a cold-blooded football player who thought he could get away from hurting those poor dogs and not get convicted because he’s got a ton of money. OJ Simpson is a cold-blooded murderer and his recent robbery and assault case is nothing short of a serious comeuppance. OK, maybe the last one’s true, but …

The relationship between famous people and not-so-famous people goes two ways. Famous people need others to seek after them, or else they wouldn’t be famous. It’s like they say in Hollywood: “if they’re not talking about you, then that’s a problem.” Justin Timberlake recently said on Oprah that he believes people want to know everything about his life because they don’t have lives of their own. Yet, when he records music or does movies, many of the selling points for that media come from his conspicuous relationships and events surrounding his life. That’s what separates him from a Robin Thicke: people might like his music, but his name wouldn’t be all up on people’s mouths if he didn’t seek it.

Britney Spears showed up at the MTV VMAs not looking up to the task of opening. She came a little thicker (which I liked, but most people didn’t), but not as sharp as we have been accustomed to. Needless to say she was berated to no end, hence prompting the response from Crocker. Yet, if she knew she wasn’t up to it, then why do it? It might have been because MTV finally called her back, after all this time, and she had the biggest of opportunities to reclaim the good side of fame, where she could triumph despite her afflictions. Now, despite the growth of her single “Gimme More,” we’re watching how fame can eat the innards of someone we helped prop up to be so American Apple Pie.

Yet, people would never accept responsibility for their own part in propping up these people. Remember: the general public is responsible for the success of the Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson’s ascension into kingdom. The general public is responsible for worshiping Nirvana and by default Kurt Cobain. The general public indulged in Anna Nicole’s body at the height of her popularity and her tribulations later on in her career, contributing to the success of her reality TV show, and the analysis of her personal life. Yes, their privacy was shallow at best, but when we were fed, we wanted more.

In that respect, I think of the Michael Vick case and say to myself, “How many of these protesters are actually vegetarians? How many of them screamed in horror when a dog chomped on a person’s extremities? How many of them cared when someone gets raped or tortured miles away from them?” If you’re against the objectification of dogs, then go against the objectification of all beings.

In a sense, those protesters laid all their anger and insecurities against Michael Vick when Michael Vick is really just a very small fraction of the problem. It’s like we use celebrities as extreme measuring sticks for how well we’re doing for society. Men abuse and revile their spouses all over the world, yet will be quick to tell people at least they never murdered them like OJ. Video models and “models” alike will do certain favors and show a little bit of everything so they can get a spot on some artists’ video or magazine cover, yet they’ll tell the whole world they’re not Katherine Steffans a.k.a. “Oral Fixator to the Stars.” As we know from the recent news about “Marsha and Jan Brady,” not everything baked is truly that wholesome.

And I’m not here telling people what to think, but we as a society might want to realign our views with what characters have more social value. These same individuals need to understand the unwritten contract they sign off on once they become involved with fame. If they can’t handle it, then I need not hear another viral video crock admonishing the rest of us for something some star brought upon herself.

“Leave fame alone! UH huh huh huh huuuh!”

:: rolls eyes::

Blanquito please …

jose, who laughed eventually at that video. no really …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Comments 2

  1. LuzMaria

    Very interesting post. Our society has become fixated on knowing about the trials and tribulations of the artisits’ whom you mentioned. It has become the norm for the media, both print and television, to provide us with all the sordid details, comings and goings of Britney, Lindsay, JT, and a few more, as if the majority of us care. There are so many important topics to cover in the news, yet they go unnoticed because of our fascination with this mindless information. I admit that I will pick up my People and Us magazine every now and then in order to relax my mind. Also, it keeps me abreast of topics my students discuss and teachable moments are created. Every now and then I will find an interesting article or some little trivia. My fix is taken care of until the next picture catches my eye. We like “peeping” in but many of us are preoccupied with real life issues. In regards to the VMAs and Britney’s performance, I really feel bad for her. I am not saying that she is not responsible for the attention she receives. I was rooting for her because I wanted her to get her act together and have an opportunity to begin anew. But I was also extremely upset at the people who coordinate this show because they allowed her to perform knowing well in advance that she was not ready, especially as the opening act. This became newsfeed for several weeks.

    This fame issue is extremely trick. Some people seek it because they need the recognition while others handle it with grace and avoid it as much as they can.

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