I live in Los Angeles, so it is probably no surprise that a lot of people I know are making resolutions to either become stars or achieve bigger stardom.
It doesn’t seem like it is much fun to be famous in 2008 though. Entertainment Weekly’s entire year in review issue was all about how much it sucks to have the eyes of the world on you. When I recently went to my OB/GYN, I was reading either Esquire or GQ in his waiting room and there was an interview with Michael J. Fox. The interviewer asked him what his thoughts were on like Lindsay Lohan or Britney Spears or Paris Hilton or maybe all three. Michael J. Fox was a young Hollywood star in the 80’s, but he still has a pretty squeaky clean rep. Perhaps because he played a wholesome character on TV for a while. At any rate, his response was that he was soooooooooooooo glad the whole tabloid and paparazzi thing did not exist when he was young because it was his opinion that he did a lot of the same dumb things and they just were not recorded for posterity.
When I was a teenager, I lived overseas, mostly in countries where (a) it was legal for me to drink and (b) I had diplomatic immunity so what was legal was not that much of a factor. I am pretty certain that I would cringe at photos and video taken in many of the situations I got myself into. But there aren’t any. Actually, I wish there were more photos of me growing up. But the point is that I could be young and experimental and even a little wild, without it going down on my permanent record.
It feels weird to type, but I suppose I used to be at least a local celebrity within certain geographies and certain scenes. My personality was generally turned up to eleven. I thought shirt was spelled L-I-N-G-E-R-I-E. My writing was getting published all over. And no one had ever seen anything quite like Blue Blood Magazine at the time. I signed a lot of autographs in the 90’s. Maybe I still am some variety of celeb, but I hope not. I want a private life. I want to get to occasionally say something stupid without being haunted by it forever and ever. I want the freedom to be imperfect and the ability to be personal one-on-one. I will never tell a friend to read my LiveJournal or most recent press release or magazine interview to find out what I’ve been up to.
I know I have the juice to make other people pretty famous is certain circles, but it doesn’t really seem like something I want to do as often as I once did. Most people think they crave the attention, but they can’t handle it at all. They simultaneously get addicted to being on magazine covers and completely melt down that they can no long just move to the next town and be totally invisible. And then, of course, they illogically lash out at everyone around them.
Situation gets rough
Then I start to panic
It’s not enough
It’s just a habit
Hey kid you’re sick
Darling this is it
You can all just kiss off into the air
Behind my back I can see them stare
They’ll hurt me bad but I won’t mind
They’ll hurt me bad they do it all the time
Yeah yeah, they do it all the time
I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record
2007 was officially the last year anyone should have even halfway contemplated wanting to be famous for the sake of being famous. I predict that reality TV will grow in 2008, not just because of the WGA strike or economics, but because most people can only handle any modicum of fame for so long. I think a thirteen week reality show is about the right length of time to be in the public eye before snapping, driving your car into someone who could help you, shaving your head (or letting your hair grow in, depending), or passing out on a Hollywood sidewalk.