Stop putting it out there, stop reading it, stop writing it, and stop eating it up with a shovel.
There’s an episode of South Park (naturally) that strikes the nail with great ferocity and accuracy and charm. Britney Spears has shot her face off, but yet she is still thrown out to the lions and the hordes. They rip her to shreds, but the triumph is brief. The cult must have more self-proclaimed virgin blood, and so they move on to Miley Cyrus.
This was five years ago and it has proven prophecy as Cyrus’ every move is now monitored, her every action debated and labeled as bold or bizarre. She’s a slut, she’s a feminist, she’s crazy, she’s smart. We can’t make up our minds, but she is, undoubtedly, #1 in our hearts and #1 in our cross-hairs.
If you are famous, everyone is your frenemy, throwing roses at your feet while waiting to cut you with a switch should you slip your nip, slur a word, or briefly step outside the lines as constructed by our unrealistic and immensely hypocritical expectations. Toe the incredible shifting line.
Lady Gaga wears a hat made out of placenta and cottage cheese and she is an icon, Joaquin Phoenix grows out his beard and acts stoned and he’s a cry for help. There is no balance. Be different, but to a point.
This is all an un-winnable game and everyone wants to play it. Some of us deny it, some of us wear it on our sleeves, but we all want to be famous — we all want that attention. Why else would we play make pretend on the internet, cut our metaphorical veins, and spill all of our inane thoughts and emotional garbage out for our “followers” and our “friends” (or our readers… hi there.) to sift through, “like”, and “favorite”.
I feel like I’m repeating a commonly expressed thought, but those words are testaments to how ego based such things are. Like a God, like a leader, like a sage, we accumulate followers. We have people asking to be our friend — the ultimate wallflower fantasy. Our thoughts and pictures, nay, our lives are liked. That thought is someone’s favorite. I’m surprised our ego boners don’t draw so much blood away from our heads that we thump on the floor, basking in the euphoria and the warm cotton blanket of attention and validation.
That’s one side of it. The other side is when actual celebrities occupy that same space. Oftentimes, it’s very antiseptic and plotted out. It’s a marketing device to advance and maintain their fame. Twitter is the “fan club” of our time. Except it’s for adults.
Sometimes, though, celebrities actually share their own bit of mundane nonsense on these sites, with a million eyes watching and magnifying the importance of that bullshit, thus feeding their own egos and the societal fantasy that allows many to feel that they can really relate to them since they also fucking hate waiting in line at Starbucks.
That’s the trouble with being buried up to our necks in a time of alleged transparency and openness when it comes to the lives that our new Gods lead. MTV Cribs, Reality TV, social media, intimate interviews, and Twitter make it seem like we actually know these people, meaning that some of us can feel concern or betrayal because of their actions, even though we know shit (meaning nothing, not stuff) about their lives.
That’s why when Donald Glover — aka Childish Gambino, aka the soon to be former star of Community — takes to Instagram and releases a handful of handwritten notes that feel like bad poetry and resemble the flow that his songs usually portray — but which speak to his common insecurities about life, love, and his career (Fetch me my little fiddle! Wait, no! I hath sold it to buy Ramen!) — the response is varied and a little intense.
Some people point and laugh at the TV star with all the feels, others shrug, and others feel genuine concern. There are others, though, who prey on that concern and feign their own as a business strategy, with some news sites describing these notes with scary buzzwords that signal the start of a cycle that may well end with Glover being painted as America’s Next Top Mental Case and a ratings/web traffic magnet.
They act like this is a cry for help and not rich person prattle because it suits their needs, but forgetting the seeming benign and whiny nature of Glover’s thoughts, what if it was a cry for help? What would I or you or anyone else on the internet do with that information besides judge him and spectate as he fell hard and fast into the pile of other broken and mangled toys that we threw away once we were done with them? The internet can do nothing good for someone that is in real trouble — in fact, it can only make things far, far worse. So, the claim that we have a need, or even a right to know such things is complete fallacy, as fed to us by those who make a mint off of the deeds done behind that flimsy shield.
They don’t know what’s going on (or what isn’t going on) with Donald Glover or anyone else, but that doesn’t stop a damn thing. Something that is nothing is news because they say it is, because when they don’t know, they get to act like they “know”, because what does it matter? We read and share the mighty truth and the mightier assumption with the same frequency. Ethics ain’t nothing but a relic to a whole lot of people.
That’s the un-bothered about shame of every blogger who traffics in bullshit like this (including myself a few times) and every “writer” that makes a living or a hobby out of building up the hysterical rush toward condemnation off of speculation, building truth out of perception, the glue that is gullibility, and that societal need, desire, and compulsion to judge.
I wish celebrities like Glover would stop feeding into this, I wish websites and other media outlets would stop exploiting it or lending this worthlessness a sense of importance, but more than anything, I wish that I and my fellow man would stop paying attention to it.
There are no victims in this merry-go-round of shit, just a bunch of assholes with nothing better to do.