Celebrity and Time

My computer has crashed recently and I'm still without my own computer so I hope this explains why I haven't written anything in a while. Because I have lost my computer and means of writing, I have also lost inspiration for mostly everything writing related until now. Since I'm at work with a task that annoys me, I am writing now in procrastination.

The nature of celebrity has always been something that has interested me a great deal. It's a different kind of relationship with people. A person with whom the masses are familiar feel a connection with that distinct individual. This connection is technically an inorganic one, but is organic in its own sense of artifice.

The thing is, as our media continues to grow, levels of celebrity. Comedienne Kathy Griffin refers to the plateau of celebrity on which she exists as the "D-list." I personally believe the Emmy-winning reality show star is underestimating her success but her commentary on the echelons of success is quite relevant.

Celebrity is brought about by familiarity. We see a person in a certain context, we learn about that person, we grow familiar. This is something that occurs because time is spent, usually on one end. Celebrity is by no means a mutual experience. A columnist could broadcast an article in a newspaper, but s/he is not emailing each individual reader. While a song can hit the radio in each home and car in America, Beyoncé isn't singing at everyone's birthday party. In this sense, media spreads familiarity, but not necessarily interaction.

Even over the internet, while the possibility for interaction exists, it is not necessarily so. This brings to mind the notion best epitomized by webcartoonist Mitch Clem.

I’ve gotten used to people hating me over the internet, people hating me in person is just too much to take. Plus I’m pretty shy around new people unless I’m really drunk, at which point I make a total ass out of myself. So any sort of situation where anyone knows who I am is usually uncomfortable for me.
-- Mitch Clem, Razorcake interview, January 11, 2009

Clem is known in various circles as a lover of punk rock, a cartoonist for various media, new columnist for the San Antonio Current, and a fixture of the Alamo City. The masses have many ways in which they can become familiar with him, but Clem does not have various ways to become familiar with all of his followers. This is because the largest factor as it relates to celebrity is time.

When mulling over how I would write this post, I thought about how I met my closest friends. It took maybe a year for me to see Dalia before our friendship budded. I distrusted Smithey immediately because of his sudden onset of kindness. I served tea to Dominique for weeks at the campus's coffee shop before I struck up a conversation with him. There was a period in these relationships in which two individuals had to grow familiar with one another. The time was relatively mutual and eventually strong bonds grew. This is not the case with celebrity. Time is only spent in one direction as it relates to building bonds.

So while all the pictures and coverage about the Jolie-Pitt family makes us feel like we'd all want to be the new adopted child, Brangelina has no idea who I am and certainly aren't close to making me their new mouth to feed. My dark skin and my love of this country is the only true connection I have to the current president of the United States so I can't just expect to mosey into the Oval Office like I know the guy because he certainly doesn't know me. And I won't be able to easily strike up a conversation with one of my favorite webcartoonists unless he's had a few beers in him.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Hello! :)

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