Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Sitting at the Cool Kids Table

The other morning over breakfast, a friend and I got onto the subject of "celebrities".  How do people rise to the level of being a celebrity?

Isn't being a modern day celebrity an amped up version of sitting at the "cool kids table"?  While I might not of been one of the people at the table, I used to be able to recognize how the cool kids became the cool kids.  (Well..maybe... most of the time, anyway.)

There seems to be a lot of ways to become famous or infamous today. One week they seem to be on a reality show, a talent show or a "leaked" sex tape and suddenly they are a "somebody".  Perhaps, the talented athlete or beautiful models have the "it" that the talent show judges keep referring to, but still I am confused at the onslaught of the "who's who's" that appear on TV and the glossy pages of magazines. I seem incapable of recognizing what is this "it factor" that  allows people to acquire legions of adoring fans that seem to follow their every move?

Maybe I have some type of deficit that makes me incapable of recognizing the people that deserve my adoration. As I leaf through  People magazine, I no longer recognize the majority of the names.  This, in itself, confirms my level of uncoolness. Yes, all of the assorted Bachelors and Bachelorettes names are lost on me.  Same goes for the assorted "Housewives" of random cities.  Yet these people rose to celebrity status and brought others with them by association. For example, would we have known (or cared) who Teresa Giudice is before she became a Housewife of New Jersey? Seems the magazines can't get enough of how she fared in prison and the pre-show dealing with her husband's (Joe) impending prison sentence. Yet, the fact that they continue to grace the pages of magazines and even find their way into the national nightly news, implies they are of some notoriety.

That brings up another point.  Crazy sells.  Whether a celebrity starts out cute and entertaining such as Lindsay Lohan or Amanda Bynes once were, they seem to gain more fame when they totally lose their sh**.  Other careers, although usually short lived but not always, were launched solely on the fact that they were  people that run  a few bubbles left of level. While most people probably don't even remember Tiny Tim and the love of his life, Miss Vicki, they did manage to find their way to the Johnny Carson show and had 40 million people watch as they got married.

More recently...what was it about the Honey Boo Boo clan, for example,  that still has the family earning realty show money? Even though their two previous stints with Toddlers and Tiaras and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo have ended,  Mama June and Sugar Bear just finished a season on Marriage Bootcamp? They still managed to make national news, when they they decided to call it quits in favor of new love interests. Perhaps, these will be two new pseudo celebrities that  can have names that will be unfamiliar to me.

Another family that has moved up the fame ladder has me questioning the whole idea of who  and why do certain people become visible in the public eye?  What is the appeal of the Duck Dynasty family Robinson, as they start their ninth season of reality show TV next week? Patriarch, Phil Robinson has been in the headlines this week for his endorsement of Ted Cruz. One news source even suggested that he be made an UN ambassador.

Part of this proliferation of celebrities and pseudo-celebrities surely has to have something to do with how easy it is for them to get publicity thanks to digitally fueled exposure in our media driven society.  In fact, it would  seem that  the more outrageous a person's behavior is, the more publicity it generates. Still that doesn't explain why when any of these celebs do something or say something that is questionably offensive or at the very least inappropriate, it results in more fans...not less.

Not to get into politics...
that just isn't my blog's thing....but on the subject of celebrity influence,  Donald Trump recently said he could stand on New York's 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and it wouldn't cost him any votes.  Is this just his highly evolved ego or does he recognize that with celebrity status there are people that will ignore or excuse bad behavior.

So as the media outlets and the marketing execs keep introducing us to a steady line of new names that will be "in the spotlight" for some indeterminate length of time, will we  become interested enough to follow their antics...or if you are anything like me, you may be saying "Who in the hell is that?"

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