TALKING FAME

Hello everyone,

 

It’s time to vent! Success is such an impossibly hard thing. Think about it. How many celebrities are there? Maybe ten thousand? If we assume all those people are American, there’s roughly a 0.003 percent chance that you a celebrity. That’s astronomically low. Yet in spite of that, we are pressured to look, act, think, and talk like them. Celebrities are what drives our culture, which very easily could be how things have developed naturally.

To expand on this idea, the idea of a worldwide celebrity is fairly new. Barring political characters, one of the first real “celebrities” where they would be recognized on street corners and such, was Ben Franklin. He was what I would call a political celebrity, much like someone like Obama. I mean, he was famous before he was actually directly involved in politics, but still. Anyway, Ben Franklin had a lot of positive and negative aspects to his character. For example, he had a few wives because, you know, he couldn’t really get it right. He also had a bit of a struggle with his son, who’s idea of work and such contrasted with his own. That being said, Ben Franklin is also vastly considered to be one of the spearheads of the revolution, and rightly so. Poor Richard’s Almanac did a lot to wake the common person to the injustice of the colonies.

On the other hand, he also taught us to learn from and idolize those we looked up to. Which isn’t inherently a bad time—I mean, religion has been teaching us to learn from those older and wise than us for millennia. Politics has always been telling people how to live. Regardless, it was different prior to the Internet, as well as the vast wealth and accessibility to knowledge.

Which brings me with my problem with learning and idolizing celebrities—we only see their highlights. I mean, every once in a while we hear the stories of the Peter Dinklage’s of the world. In fact, that’s often the one’s we hear most and expect ourselves to match. Yet there can only be so many celebrities. Can you imagine a world with seven billion celebrities? No. And many people will tell you it is hard work to get there. And I’m sure it is. That being said, it’s also hard work to wake up at two am every day to be at work by four am in order to clean the toilets. And you can argue that this job is some how less important than shooting a film, but if you’ve ever woken up daily at 2 am, you probably know that this is not the case. It’s hard. Your body is tired. Now, I’m not trying to discredit the work that celebrities do, but at the same time can we look at the work of the common man and give them a bit more credit?

Ok, with that off my chest, I also want to look at celebrity faults. We hold any mistake by celebrities at their throats. Yet, there’s so many people who do the same things on a daily basis. I’m not justifying things like saying, I don’t know, Mexican’s are rapists, because that’s bullshit and we know it. But take maybe a questionable aspect of a relationship. Take any heterosexual celebrity couple. If the guy went out with another girl, even in a purely platonic way, the paparazzi would be all over them. And that’s unfair. They should be able to live their lives with a bit more quietness. Or not. I guess their lives are for the entertainment of others. What do you think? Let me know!

CELEBRITY STATUS

Hello everyone,

 

Do you ever wonder what it’s like to be a celebrity? I certainly do sometimes. It would be kind of cool to have people pay for your drinks, be seated earlier because the whole restaurant recognizes you, and have the general public aware of the good you do in life. Of course, it’s not all perfect. In fact, it’s probably harder in many way to be a celebrity than to be someone more average. For example, because your every movement is tracked, it certainly seems possible that if you ever had an affair that the whole world would know about it. Which maybe is fair, since cheating is a pretty immature thing to do in life.

But lets say its something more innocent, like, let’s say that you, being rich, decide to splurge a bit and buy a fancy car that isn’t the best for the planet, around the pollution levels of an average car, then you are questioned about your commitment to the Earth and its well being. You say you love the Earth and want to see it flourish. A magazine writes that you are misguided and a hypocrite because you have the money to afford a car that will actually help the planet. Now, for you, have things really changed? Probably not, but the world would see you as someone who could do better, but decided not to, simply because you bought a nice car.

It’s things like this that make the position of celebrity a blessing and a curse. Leonardo di Caprio is another example of a celebrity where this is potentially true. By being extremely outspoken about Global Warming and other aspects of society, he puts himself out there to being ridiculed for various issues. I mean, lets say he just goes out with some friends, and one of those friends drives a Hummer. And the paparazzi takes and publishes photos of him getting out of it. Suddenly there’s a whole story about how his caring for the planet is some false public rhetoric in order to gain support for liberal candidates that are also hypocrites.

See how easy it is to be the blame? Some celebrities have accepted this and even embraced it. Take Kanye West, he’s a prime example of a celebrity that has accepted all the hate and shot it right back at the world—calling the screams of his haters his superhero theme music. Then again, Kanye is often seen as the kind of person that we should try not to be. Generally selfish, vain, abrasive. He’s not really a stand up citizen. He is, however, one of the biggest names on the planet. So I suppose there’s something to be said about that. Meanwhile, the celebrities that are doing good for the world—including Leo, Emma Watson, and a slew of others—are kept relatively in the background of the media coverage. So…maybe we should critique the media as well as our own television watching selves, rather than the celebrities? Is that fair? Let me know in the comments!

THE DAWN OF RELATABLE SUPERHEROES

Hello everyone,

 

“You’re probably thinking ‘This is a superhero movie, but that guy in the suit just turned that other guy into a fucking kebab.’ Surprise, this is a different kind of superhero story.” –Deadpool

Alright, we’re going to indulge me as I splurge about superheroes briefly. This year appears to be the year the world end, at least for the comic film industry. Look at how many studios are cashing in! Ever since Iron Man released back in 2008 (wow, was it really 8 years ago?), and swiftly followed by The Dark Knight super hero movies have been the blockbuster films of our time. Ok, sure, Batman Begins may have been the real turning point, but it wasn’t really a hallmark movie. Recently, with the release of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice we were reminded of how far we have come in this movie industry—because of how bad the movie was. Seriously. It felt like the old Daredevil movie. Which was…a really bad movie. Sure, not all the acting was the worst, but it had writing and plot coherence that felt 10 years dated.

All my comic geek friends are just happy that they finally got a Batman vs Superman movie, except the ones who actually watch films outside the comic book ones. A good movie is more than just a fight scene (though a good fight scene can make a movie worth watching). Batman vs Superman had neither. The namesake battle of the film lasted maybe 10 minutes if we’re being generous. But aside from that, it was corny. Superman gets hit by Kryptonite, then he gets the shit beaten out of him, then he recovers, starts winning again, until he gets hit by more Kryptonite. Really? How unoriginal. No laser vision? No grappling between buildings? No super cool tech, just the classic metal suit? Sure, its based on a comic book battle, but this is a guy that could lift something infinitely heavy versus a regular guy armed with advanced science and extreme planning…

Anyways, movie hatred aside, superheroes are today’s topic of writing. Throughout history we have love the idea of heroes. In the present, they are a somewhat geeky thing to be into, but in reality they have been around in some way or another. Seriously, The Hero with 1000 Faces exemplifies this idea. It connects all the similarities in heroes throughout time. But human love heroes. Why? Well, I’m sure there is a lot of reason for it, but I am most interested in the empathetic aspects of heroes. We empathize with heroes—which is why so many people root for Batman over Superman. It isn’t because he is a hero, or even the logical victor in an all out fight (seriously, no measurable power can match up to immeasurable, infinite power, lets just be honest here). We root for Batman because he’s someone we can relate to. He has real world problems. Sure, he’s a billionaire, but that’s more a trope for the comic industry to allow him free time as well as access to all this technology. Seriously, have you seen Daredevil? Look how rag tag his heroic costume and weaponry look, even after season two. There’s no way we would consider him in league with Superman. He struggles to keep up with a few trained martial artists!

Anyways, we love superheroes because they make us feel like superheroes. We look at them with awe, but we also identify with them as being good beings. Sure, they may struggle with right and wrong, and have a variation of moral codes that often times are unacceptable to modern society. But everyone has those issues. Some people don’t think gay people should be able to get married. Some people think that they are entitled to land over foreigners because they were born on it, in spite of the fact that their ancestors stole that land from people who were born on it. Some people are pacifists. We as adults are objective enough to realize this (hence why children often dress up as superheroes and pretend to play as them, yet so many adults do not), but we still enjoy their characters because we relate to them and can apply them to our lives. Hence why Iron Man and The Dark Knight were such definitive turning points for the movie industry. Think about it. If you saw these movies, and then saw Batman vs Superman, which characters did you identify with more? Christian Bale or Ben Affleck? The movies took a direct approach to connecting ordinary people to the main protagonist, whether it was because they had charming personalities that we were envious of, or because they had obsessive behaviors over losing loved ones. Sure, they were badasses doing completely unrealistic things, but that exaggeration of the real is grounded in a person that feels real—which makes the average person feel like they can achieve that same greatness. Even Deadpool had to deal with cancer and what not, and his character is even less believable than Superman in some ways. There was none of that in this most recent comic film, at least not in an effective, believable manner (seriously, they had more definitive exposition of Lex Luthor’s human struggles than either of the main characters). And it undermined the entire operation. Which sucked.