Appreciating the Human in Celebrity

This is rediculously insane....
Tattoo of Someone's "Celebsession" from Poisonheart's Flickr

Recently I decided to get back into doing things I have always loved:  reading, music and movies.  Going through school for the past 8 years got me a handful of degrees, but I missed out on a lot.  I would consistently miss movies in the theater, buy the latest bestseller to collect dust and I let my music fall to the wayside.  The third is the saddest of all, because I was pretty good at one time or another.  As I am gradually working on that, I have decided to also tackle more manageable feats:  catching up on reading and movies.

I decided to start with the Twilight series two weeks ago today.  I wound up reading the whole series within a week.  I kept finding myself speed reading through the books, but I need to break that grad school habit and enjoy the literature!  Although these are young adult books, I found them as a good read myself.  I also have a new appreciation for the movie, whereas before I found it a bit lacking.  The books are a must to get the whole story – it really will enhance the movie experience.

By reading the books, this has also opened me up to another word:  Twihard.  I enjoy the series and I totally wish Stephenie Meyer would finish Midnight Sun; however, there is a healthy balance of “twihard-ness”, if you will (see:  Inked Twihards).  My friends at work joke about the Twilight chocolates and secretly wanting “Team Edward“/”Team Jacob” shirts (although we all do enjoy looking at Taylor Lautner shirtless, I believe we’re all Team Edward), but we are not in anyway violating someone’s personal rights by being “Twihards”.

In searching for info on Google about whether or not Stephenie Meyer would, in fact, publish Midnight Sun (the whole story about the leaked copy saddens me – that violated Stephenie’s privacy as an artist), I found news about Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart “being a thing”, Rob wearing the same shirt twice in a month, and Kristen’s “pregnancy”.  I was just shocked at how disrespectful everyone was!

Coming around to my main point for writing this post:  celebrities still deserve personal rights!

Be practical, folks!  Who would want to have a camera in their face 24/7?!  Imagine not being able to walk the dog in gym shorts and uncoordinated sneakers?  And, worst, your love life as an open book for everyone to read.

What does it absolutely matter to anyone who anyone is dating!  Appreciate celebrities for their work, for their charitable efforts and for them as role models.  Sure, when I find a public figure does drugs or drives drunk, etc., I am appalled because they could be doing so much better with the resources they have (charity, investing, etc.) as well as being a positive image for others who are less fortunate.

I’m not trying to harp on others in this post, but I feel we should appreciate the art these people create rather than gossip about their personal lives.  I know some will also argue that celebrities chose this life.  No.  They chose to do what they love/are good at doing, not to be stalked and trash-talked.  I also understand some of these rumors are started by publicists – but why is that?  Because of our curiosity and they do it because we as a group eat the rubbish up!

While in Frankfurt airport about 8 years ago, I saw Jay Leno.  You know what I did?  I smiled and gave him a little wave from where I was sitting at my terminal fifteen feet away.  He just so happened to smile and wave back.  What ruined this?  My friend Christy jumping up suddenly revived out of her jet lag induced stupor and screaming “Omigod!  It’s Jay Leno!”  Jay promptly took off and hid in a first class only bar after Christy chased him across 5 terminals.

This proves that celebrities are people too.  Jay Leno smiled, and waved.  He also ran for his life when Christy was about to alert an entire level of the sleepy airport to his presence.  How much more human can you get!  Whenever I see a celebrity or public figure, I always do the same:  smile and politely wave.  Why?  Because I hope they recognize my little gesture as appreciation for their work and respect for their personal space, and experience some of us out here who are not waiting to tackle them.

In short, exactly how practical is it to stalk celebs?  Is that something you’d want for yourself?  And, no, don’t start on this “they asked for it” argument.  Would you like your private vacation pictures smeared all over the Internet? And, in all honestly, although we all swoon for one celeb or another, 99.9% of the people on this planet will not catch that celeb’s eye – it will just so happen to be one person of their choosing.  And I highly doubt the person hanging from a tree in their yard snapping pics will be ‘the one’ for them.

So, as a healthy homework assignment, why not write a handwritten letter (no email) to an artist or public figure you respect!  This must be a cohesive letter – no “OMIGOD!  I want to marry you!”, but an actual appreciation for their work, activism or just for their being human.  Perhaps even get some nice stationary and use blue/black ink for goodness sakes!  Be elegant about your appreciation for their work – something I bet they rarely see – but put genuine humanness in this letter.  If you have trouble finding a mailing address, let me know.  I have skills with the Internets.

Also, for inspiration for your project, consider this post by Alison Byrne Fields regarding her genuine, human pen pal relationship with John Hughes.  A good read about the psychology behind the obsession from the Psychology Today archives:  Seeing by Starlight:  Celebrity Obsession.