The Celebrity Zone is where we manifest one of our culture’s worst diseases: projection. We project onto celebrities to the point that many have tantrums when any of them exercise free will and deviate from what their audiences want. It does merit some self-examination – because celebrities are people, first and also usually artists. Like us. Ones who want to do their own thing.
Hm … Celebrity I have Ridiculed: Paris Hilton and Anna Wintour. I might take back some of what I have said about Paris – secretly, I suspect she’s very, very smart and might not be as soulless as she makes herself out to be. I remain convinced that Anna Wintour is a horrible person who lives to destroy other artists because changing the world to a healthy aesthetic would destroy her empire as she has built it.
Celebrity that handles himself/herself with grace: pretty much any celebrity you haven’t heard much about. That’s the only really graceful way to do it. It sounds counter-intuitive but I actually think Britney Spears has become quite gracious. She went through an appalling bad patch – so have I, thank God with no cameras on me – and she has risen above and seems to be finding her creative voice again. I don’t think the comparisons to Madonna were warranted – she hasn’t danced the line on her projections quite so well. But she is uniquely herself and she seems well on her way to embracing that.
The role model I would choose for dealing with the Celebrity Zone: Stephen Colbert. John Oliver is up there too. First, comedians are our truth-tellers. You can get more truth in comedy than anywhere else. I am passing over John Stewart because, while I share his outrage, he veers into the verbally abusive when expressing it. Detached humor is far more productive. I also admire that Colbert leverages his “no one need take me seriously” into a great deal of creative freedom. He can do whatever the hell he wants and people will just nod to it.
My celebrity zone landmark? I don’t know. I have received fan mail – usually “help me” type stuff that I won’t answer because it’s never something that the person can’t help him/herself with already. I’ve been quoted as an “expert source” by other writers outside my fields on occult stuff more than once. My face has been used in national social media campaigns by major companies. I just appeared in every major publication in my city last November. I still have to introduce myself when I stop somewhere for a drink.
Street recognition maybe? Even with all that most people have no idea who I am. I suppose posting to a Pagan forum and not being provided with instructions on how to wipe my ass when I ask for the toilet paper might be a sign of admission.
As for the celebrity behavior I will never indulge in… probably the “Do you know who I am?” More likely I will fumble, wide-eyed: “Oh, do you need an ID? Sorry, wait a minute. Oh hey, there’s a crushed mint in here if you want it!”
I’m a writer. We may have a fan base but very few of us hit the Celebrity Zone. I’m glad of that because I really want to be a portfolio writer.