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"The Hard Life of a Celebrity"

Make it stop, make it stop, make it stop! Do I really have to listen to another celebrity being interviewed?

Okay, so I was down in Austin awhile back and, as usual, I couldn't change the frigging channel without hitting a Hollywood show discussing interviews with celebrities. Oooh, ooh, guess what, Sandra Bullock lives in Austin! And, and, there's a real life horse whisperer who soothes horses... Guess where? That's right. Austin!

Lately it's been all the Bullock (hehe) and Redford you can eat, and this is when it irks me most. Alright, I admit I'm interested in how people started out in life, what they were like in high school, how they got started in showbiz...that sort of thing. It's interesting to me how Jim Carrey's screwed up childhood turned him into the freak we have now. I like charting Matthew Broderick's progress from the witty Ferris Bueller's Day Off to the special effects bomb Godzilla (and Broadway...what the eff was that all about?).

Oh, but for God sakes, stop talking about how hard it was to make the movie...Jesus, it makes me nauseous.

"For this movie, I spent a few weeks studying homeless people and figuring out how they live so I could learn how to act like someone I'll never have to see again in my natural life. It's similar to my last role, where we didn't have any Perrier on set, when I had to live in a normal person's house to learn how they act. I'm really quite proud of myself."

I have this calm, composed, disgusted look I do. Picture it now, will you?

Actors love to talk about themselves. They love to talk about how hard their lives are. They're so proud of becoming the characters they portray for so many millions of dollars per movie. Meanwhile, they're oblivious to the rest of the world and they rarely realize what sorts of lives they're living.

Let me pause and say that I respect the sorts of people who become good actors and actresses. They have that sort of charm and charisma that I've never had. They can get anything they want by just working their magic. They're the life of the party. They're the people who make you want to just sit down and watch them. Me? Hell, there's nothing charming about me. The only way I get anywhere in life is by denying people any other exit except that one which leads to me -- I shit you not. I work people into a position that they can't get out of -- they have to admit that I'm right because nothing else works. It's a difficult way to go, but it seems to work, even if everyone hates me. ;)

Anyway, these celebrity actors are animals. They're circus creatures, dolled and thrown up on the camera to perform for us. We remove them from their trailer-cages, slap makeup on them, and make them read out lines verbatim so that we can see them perform. Teaching animals tricks.

But celebrities convince themselves that they become popular because of their personalities, because they are passionate, contributing human beings. Not bloody likely. Do you think Sharon Stone was famous because she was a good actress? No. She uncrossed her legs in Basic Instinct and she instantly had most the male population embarrassed to stand up.

Again, let me break in and clarify: there are some excellent celebrities who do charity work and who care about their jobs and who just do the damn thing because they love to do it. They enjoy doing it and they make everyone around them enjoy working too. That's what entertainment's all about -- it's about making peoples' lives better through show and pizazz.

Actors just don't get it that we love the characters they play, not the actors themselves. Sylvester Stallone gained weight for that movie about corrupt cops...well, well, well. Rocky gained weight! How about that? That's a difficult job. Can we hear you talk on and on about it, Sly?

I'm sure acting can be very difficult and challenging. But come on, do you really have to make it sound like you're living the life of a beggar on the streets? You're ACTING, dammit. And you're getting paid well for doing it. Stop complaining about the hours and the conditions, 'kay? I really don't think it interests anyone. Everyone knows acting is tedious and annoying -- we've established that already. Take after take after take...you poor, poor, suffering babes.

When Howard Stern's movie came out last year, I watched all the interviews and reviews and hype for Private Parts. And I think it's interesting to note that I was never bored with it all. Howard Stern knows what's interesting and what isn't. You may think he's crude and simple and juvenile, but dammit, he's not boring. Stern didn't talk about what it was like acting all that much -- he talked about the movie, about how it was based on his real life, about all the fun things that have happened in his life. See, that's interesting to me. That's entertainment. His interviews of celebrities are rarely disappointing, either. Instead of asking about the movie or album, Stern asks the guest about his sex life or his formative years, or something else which has to do more with the personality than the career. I like that. I am extremely interested with how people develop, and few biographies bore me.

But oi! Dramaqueens, like most writers on the Internet ("my cubicle reminds me of a haiku I once wrote while rollerblading, about the horror of the Vietnam War, except it has less hope and more fuzzy cloth covering"), never cease to talk about the rigors of working, which in itself is not always bad, unless you're complaining about stupid things like repeating the same line over and over until the director is satisfied. You'll never see THIS self-named domain name owner complaining about earning $500,000 for a day's work of reciting, "Let's get the Hell outta here!" on a fancy action movie set.

Most actors go through a depression when their days are over, when no one comes to interview them, when the fifteen minutes are up. Hollywood throws them out like trash -- they're not handsome anymore, they're not good to look at. They reek of last decade. And it kills them. Was it really a shock that good looks and perfect teeth eventually wither away, leaving a hollow, vapid husk of a person?

There are many actors I enjoy seeing on and off the screen. But these people are usually the ones who just go with the flow and enjoy the ride. They understand that they have what millions of people want, and that is to be followed by infatuated fans and agents and photographers and whatnot. They enjoy working with other famous actors and they enjoy getting paid and they enjoy that sort of lifestyle. They don't gripe about it -- they fucking enjoy it. I really respect that. As I've (supposedly) matured in my views of the world, I've been less and less harsh on people who were only trying to have fun and make other people have fun in the process.

I could go on and on, for example, ranting about partying teenagers and wild music groups and the horrible disc jockeys on Dallas radio. But come on...they're just trying to have fun. They're living it up while they're young. They're goofing off and being stupid, but why not? They don't mean anyone any harm. They love doing what they're doing.

So why stop them? I'm not all that cantankerous now, am I?

So where was I? Oh yes... The media's come under intense scrutiny for invading the privacy of celebrities. There's two ways to look at this, and I support both of them to certain degrees. As a quick summation, I think both celebrities and the media are stupid sheep, reacting only to their viewers' actions. But perhaps I should explain.

I think it's really sad that motorcycles would chase after Lady Di's car at high speed just to perhaps catch photos of her. I'm sure she just wanted to go home with whatsisface and have a pleasant evening. I think it's ridiculous that Deion Sanders should have to build a high fence around his house to keep photographers out. I consider it revolting that Paul Reiser and Michael J. Fox had to go to a hearing to decide what to do about privacy for public people (celebrities).

I think the media's engaged in an ever-heightening competition to one-up the other organization. Everyone's out to get the best story and if you don't get it, someone else will, so you better cash in while you can. It's not about what people think is right anymore -- it's defaulted to the mentality that everyone else is doing it, so you might as well too. It's good money. Good business. The media needs to stop this bullshit. That is NOT freedom of the press, to invade the rights of whomever they please, to make peoples' lives undeservedly public spectacles. It is called infringing on peoples' privacy, or voyeurism, or whatever pleases you. Freedom of the press is this: having the right not to be shut out of government affairs which endanger the commonwealth of America. Anyone who considers snapping Baby Photos of Baby Spice's Baby Nipples while she sunbathes naked with the rest of the Spice Girls on the French Riviera as "freedom of the press" has his head up his ass.

The people at the top need to stop encouraging the peons to go to such elaborate lengths to make money with great pictures. Sure, if someone's stopped his truck on a highway and blows his brains out, there should be news coverage there. That's not the same as spying on a celebrity for rare pictures. Suicide, murder... That affects the nation as a whole. And all that nonsense about the news station not knowing the man would do something drastic is ridiculous. The footage that station got was the best thing to happen to them, and they knew it.

So we need to respect celebrities' privacy, even if they don't act much like private citizens. You may lose plenty of good stories, sure, but would you like it if you became famous and someone had a camera lens pressed up against your window while you were with your family? Celebrities offer themselves up for public butchering plenty when they're promoting their latest work: interviews, events, appearances on TV and talk shows, et al. They do that willingly, and if the media still isn't satisfied and feels it needs to spy on the celebrities, that's plain wrong.

On the other hand, I think celebrities need a little dose of reality, as I pointed out somewhat, earlier. Celebrities live off attention -- attention is what makes them celebrities. They love being in the spotlight and they die without it. Their whole lives have been spent getting to the point where the media would want to follow their every move. But as soon as they get there, they start bitching about how hard it is to be a celebrity. Aww. Can you feel the tears coming? Leonardo, you mean you feel SAD that the media's all over you to see which young British model you'll be taking to bed tonight? You wretched young man. Celebrities, I think, need to understand that they are nothing more than characters in the great movie that is Hollywood. For viewers, the movie doesn't stop when we leave the theatre. The life of an actor is a continuation of his roles. And it's not as if actors don't frigging INVITE the press to follow them around. Sleeping around, doing drugs, hiring prostitutes, killing wives, etc. etc. If you really want to stay off the target list for the press, STOP DOING STUPID THINGS.

The media hates few things more than boring people. Be extremely boring. Except when you're on stage. ;)

So what's my main point? Well, I know I don't speak for everyone here, but I just feel like most celebrities aren't worth all the attention they get. Useless people talking about useless contributions to art just doesn't excite me, I guess. Take the cameras off celebrities -- they're so boring anyway -- and find something more worthwhile to show us. I'm bored of it all. And the media. It doesn't serve the public's interest anymore. Cut down on the crap and spend more time on the worthwhile stories, regardless if it cuts into ratings.

This is a very complicated issue, juggling the rights of the press versus the privacy of celebrities, but I think we can boil it all down into one basic idea: this whole thing is a waste of time and everyone needs to go outside and make their lives more interesting so they don't have to crash on the couch and follow other peoples' lives to find exciting experiences on the glowing boob tube.

I mean, really, folks, we're really quite pathetic by now, aren't we?

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