On the CBC’s news website I came across this article by Rachel Giese about professional celebrity watcher Mario Lavandeira, aka Perez Hilton. You’ll note that I haven’t provided a link to Lavandeira’s celebrity watching blog. If you want to go look around there, sacrificing your higher brain function on the altar of dumbass useless famous person gossip, be my guest, but I’m not willing to be an accomplice in the cold-blooded murder of your mind. This guy’s job is actually commenting on the lives of people who are famous. This involves, to quote Giese, “just enough snarkiness to entertain bored cubicle drones and bitter stargazers, but not so much as to question the construction of celebrity itself.”
Now, I feel that I can be legitimately condescending to stupidity like this, but the fact of the matter is that this kind of celebrity culture commentary exists because we let it. Lavandeira’s website receives as many as 600,000 hits per day. He is clearly providing a commodity that the public wants to consume. Consequently my complaint is not really with him or his website (as incredibly stupid and insipid as it may be)…my complaint is with all of us who feed the beast from which parasites like Lavandeira in turn receive their sustenance.
I’m not ripping on people who have been captured by the celebrity-gossip monster. I’ve gotten sucked in by this nonsense myself, and a lot of truly good people who I genuinely like invest serious amounts of their time in the lives of famous people they’ve never met. Actually that’s not really true, we don’t invest ourselves in the lives of people we haven’t met, we invest ourselves in characters invented by the modern media machine who have little if any resemblance to actual human beings. That being said I would like to make a proposal.
I propose that we stop caring about these virtual people called celebrities and start caring about ourselves and the actual people around us. How you say? Read a book, watch a good movie, learn to cook, buy a dog, go on a date, kiss someone you love, write a novel (even a bad one), go to school, go to Church (or maybe try going to synagogue this week), learn a language, visit a place you’ve never been (perhaps in the city in which you live), go have a beer with a friend, listen to music, make music, build something…in short, live your own life. I think that if we all start learning to do this more something stunning will happen. We will come to realize that our real lives are actually far more interesting than the virtual lives of “famous people.”
And maybe, just maybe, if we’re really lucky, the beast and all of its parasitic hangers on will slowly but surely begin to die.