…isn’t something I expected famous people to do.
And I suppose that the famous person in question doesn’t blog anymore – now that he’s famous.
I don’t remember what I was looking for the other night, but I stumbled across a blog written by an actor before he got his big break and I was, I’m ashamed to say, stunned.
It was the intelligence with which the blog was written that had my jaw dropping. I never assumed this person was an idiot, but I never expected them to be so eloquent either. I was a little sad that many of the posts have been removed or made private – probably at the insistence of this person’s publicist. I was also sad that once he hit the big time, the blog was over. I enjoyed the insights into Hollywood and how it works. I remembered how much I liked being there – when someone wasn’t berating me, bullying me, or making me use a Genie lift. (Okay, the Genie was part of the job, but I didn’t have to like it.) The berating and bullying didn’t happen a lot but when it did it was devastating. Of course, that’s my own shortcoming. I can’t take that sort of thing. It makes me not come out from under the bed in the morning. Despite an unpleasant blip or two, working in TV and film was great, even though it was not a long lived part of my career and I kind of nuked that bridge when I left. Oops.
I think that those of us who don’t get to great levels of success in our lives crave the notion that it’s possible. We want to think that we don’t have to get on the treadmill of life and that someday we’ll have our own wardrobe, makeup, and lighting departments to follow us around and make us look divine even though we might’ve gone out on an ill advised bender the night before. (Not that I’ve ever done that…) This craving for a vicariously successful life is what makes us put celebrities up on pedestals. It’s what makes us buy their jerseys and support their causes. It’s what makes us mistakenly think that by adopting their values as ours we’ll be closer to them.
Moral of the story: If you’re wondering how you’re going to send your child to college or how you’re going to pay for your prescriptions, don’t buy that t-shirt with the celebrity’s face on it. This is another thing I haven’t done (for real, this time – I really haven’t chosen between a hoodie and my prescription drugs, nor have I ever purchased a t-shirt with a celebrity’s face on it. Except for Morris the Cat. I did buy Morris’ t-shirt. Once.)
I kind of feel it’s unfair for them to ask us to contribute money to their causes when it isn’t disclosed what they’re doing for the cause – beyond lending their name and social media platforms. They’re making $500,000-ish a year for 26 weeks of work. Most people I know are making roughly $50,000 for 50 weeks of work… … … I feel like I’m not being clear – it’s not unfair to want to make the world a better place through crowdfunding or fundraising. This is how we get things done. And not everyone is an idiot who thinks “If I just buy that t-shirt the celebrity will be my best bud and we’ll hang out on the beach!” But I see this… desperation… on Twitter and Facebook. People literally begging for a response from those who have attained fame and/or fortune. So these celebs are asking for money from people who really don’t have it, but have some crazy idea that if they give money, Joe Celebrity will show up at their door wanting to go to a movie! I’ve met celebrities. None of them have ever asked me to go to a movie*.
I see people attending Wizard World and Comic Con, then paying $50 for an autograph, and another $50 for a photo op. Those costs are on top of the cost of admission, the incredibly overpriced hotel, and the food costs that end up inflated because of location**. Not to mention the cost of the flight or drive.
The desperation is depressing but I get it. We all want to hang out with the cool people. Goodness knows I want to hang out with someone. I don’t care if they’re famous, I just want them to be nice and cool and fun. But first, I have to get out of the house, away from my computer, and I have to meet real people***. Not that celebrities aren’t real. Most of them are. Some of them are even cool and fun. I certainly wouldn’t turn one down for a drink, but if they ask me to give money to their cause – they better be the one buying the drink.
This is not to say that celebrities and their causes are bad. They’re not. But… sometimes it feels… calculated. Some are really trying to change the world. Some are saying, “Sure, I’ll have my media team put this on my feed, but you have to pay me $5000 and give me a puppy.” I guess it is our responsibility as consumers to know how much money we have to spend on any given thing at any given time. It’s called being an adult. But some of us are better at it than others.
* I ran into William Shatner in a catering line on a movie set. He asked me “Do you know what this is?” and all I could do was shake my head and stare. I was working in lighting and never, ever expected to have William Shatner ask me to identify food. Apparently, it was fish. Needless to say, this encounter did not turn into a movie invite. Then there was the time when, after a long shooting day on a TV game show set, a former MTV VJ offered me her Subway sandwich. She didn’t like mustard and somehow the sandwich had been made with mustard. I didn’t take the sandwich because I, too, do not like mustard. This encounter did not turn into a movie invite. I’ll point out that I also did not invite either of them to a movie, maybe that was my mistake. “No, thank you. But I hear there’s a Rocky Horror Picture Show revival at the Arclight. Wanna go?” ‘Cause that wouldn’t be weird at all… Security!!!
**I paid $5.50 for a mediocre slice of pizza the other day just because it was A. my only option since I hadn’t brought my lunch and B. on the Vegas strip. Also, it was my client who paid for it because he’s a super nice guy and I talked about my cats. While I’m at it, Aria Las Vegas – you need some quick serve options for people who are allergic to wheat. I’m not, but I know people who genuinely cannot eat it.
***I’m working on meeting real people – hence the woodturner’s association meeting, the romance writer’s meeting, the book club, the return to archery, and hopefully soon, my not-so-triumphant and probably injury-filled return to fencing.