Monday, 28 November 2005

What's the fascination with celebrities??

The fascination with celebrities is all around us. And you might start to wonder why?

Nowadays it seems that whenever a celeb does something it's considdered news. Headlines on the movie/tv news part on imdb (and this is a movie website) for instance were, among others: "Lacey and Simpson officially split", "Winfrey watching figure for Letterman show" and "South Park pokes fun at Tom Cruise". Let me ask a few questions here: Is the Lacey/Simpson split really a surprise? You couldn't turn on a television the last couple of months or there was talk about the problems that they were having, so this is not a surprise is it? And everybody who's ever seen a few shows from Oprah knows that she's a person who has to watch what she eats and has to exercise in order to keep a healthy weight. She said so on her shows. She even made specials about it. So she's always watching her figure. So why is it that now that she appears on Letterman's show this has become news? And South Park? They make fun about everybody. So why is it news that Cruise is the next in line?

Magazines like People Magazine and websites like E-online run stories about celebs and are doing great on that premise.

I can understand that if you're a fan you might want to know a few personal things: where were they born, their height, color of their eyes, things like that. But why do you want to know about the amount of houses they own? Or the amount of cars? The jewels they wear? The trips they take? If they like their fish sprinkled with lemon juice? If they practice yoga? If they wear a jeans or sweatpants while going shopping? If they had dinner in a fancy restaurant? If the didn't look all dressed up while playing with their kids in the park or walking the dog? If their second cousin on their mother's side is a drunk?

Why is that news?

Is it just that we like to watch the glitter and glamour of famous people? To look at people who have things we don't have. Can do things we can't do. So that we can dream to have the same things one day. To just escape from our regular life and look at the life we would like to have. Because celebrities have it all. So is this just a case op the human affection towards things shiny?

But sometimes they fail and those who at one time were shining so bright grow dim. Nothing gets more ratings then famous people in some kind of trouble. The Michael Jackson case. The infamous Paris Hilton video. The marriage-trouble of Simpson and Lacey. People who seem to have it all, prove to be human and fail. And it's all being shown in wide-screen with insiders having the latest scoops. The ratings prove people turn in if scandals are being broadcasted. Is it just a case that we love to see others fail?

Or has it come so far that we look at this as news so to not have to look at the real failling that goes on all around the world? The kidnapping of aid workers in Iraq. Terrorist bombings. Hunger in Africa. The aftermath of the quakes in Asia. Those stories that don't involve celebrities. At least not at first. Later on they go on visit the sites and help out. And that gets bigger headlines and stories then the original disaster. So we can look at the horror with a little glamourous finish on it. Is it escapism from the real world?

Nobody I've talked to about this has ever been able to explain to me why they look at programs with news about celebrities. Mostly the answer I get is: "Because it's fun to watch". So could it be as easy as that? Could it be that it's just fun to watch? To me things that are fun to watch are shows like the "Daily Show" because of it's humor, "Lost" because of the tension, "West Wing" and "Commander in Chief" because of the politics and programs on the Discovery Channel, CNN and National Geographic for their informational value. That to me are fun shows. I can't seem to grasp the fun of watching some celebrity walking into a nightclub or see them walking their dog. So I guess it'll always be a mystery to me.

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