Flaskaland
Sunday, May 14, 2006
 
A look (or two or three) at the artificial construct known as celebrity

Films Examine The Cult - And Cost - Of Celebrity

"It seems to be human nature to want something far removed from your own world, and to romanticize that want beyond any reasonable proportion, to look up to someone or something for inspiration," Boles says.

Yes, ok.

T is for Talent, which is generally a good Thing.

But there's a destructive side to Talent

Talent is a complex question, but watch that old movie, "All About Eve." That was the only one I had to go by. The main character (granted, it’s Bette Davis) is an actress. In her personal life, the Bette Davis character Margo is full of foibles, wild mood swings, and antisocial behavior. Yet, she is surrounded by people who are willing to put up with all of that because they have their own agendas. These are the playwrights, the producers, the people that have something to gain from her talent who are also her friends -- because they are around her they are her friends, as they will put up with her because of her talent and ability to entertain.

In the world of real people, if you’re open and generous you naturally want to help a person that has talent. But to expect rewards of any sort, even a basic gratitude, is almost expecting too much. The artist is innundated with adulation, and over decades of adulation they lose their ability to relate on that level. Because of the adulation factor, they learn to expect adoration and recognize they receive it because of their talent. The talent is how they’re recognized in the first place. They give nothing back but their talent, and humans need more than talent to maintain a human relationship. To expect more is to expect more than they are capable of giving and that’s unrealistic. Especially with time and the adulation factor, it becomes almost impossible for them to relate to any one other than through their talent, or to do anything other than mine their own talent. Or they learn to mine others.

While they might be grateful in the beginning for a boost when they’re starting out, they lose their ability to express gratitude over time. They rise because of their own talent and their talent has nothing to do with anyone else or what anyone else might have done. It’s a loss of innocence on both sides. Restrict your magnanimity to younger, more innocent artists. Actually, that’s easy to do because who really wants to help someone who already has everything and who can’t be appreciative?

After a show, the entertainer is usually showered with praise, compliments, and of course adulation. Such a response might be absolutely true. Everyone tends to behave appropriately and make remarks suitable for the occasion, which might be a true and honest recognition and admiration of that particular trait. Nobody comes up to an entertainer after a show and makes an observation that might be every bit as true, "You're a selfish son of a bitch" or "What an egomaniac!"

The talent is a magnet and attracts any number of reputable and disreputable people hoping to use the talent for their own gain, so of course artists become wary of people. They’ve been burned, and truthfully so have some of the people who helped originally. They’re not so inclined to help any one ever again.

As for me, if I go to a show now, I go to be entertained. I watch the show, and then I go home. And never (or hardly) give any of them another thought. I don’t hang around because I’m not obliged to. Actually, it usually makes me glad to return home to my cats after going to see a "talented" person.
 




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