Ah! The internet, that revolutionary institution that allows every man, woman, child and animal on our planet to achieve brief seconds of infamy; Andy Warhol was right, only he overestimated exactly how shallow we are, when he predicted everyone would someday enjoy “fifteen minutes of fame”.
Then, there are those pseudo-celebrities that just won’t go away. You know the types, the Corey Feldmans and Andrew Dice Clays of the world. No matter how many years it has been since they experienced actual celebrity, they’ll still pop up on some desperate entertainment reporter’s society blog once every year or so.
There are more of them now than ever. If you watch Entertainment Tonight, you’ll undoubtedly see Mary Hart punctuate their names with the ebullience of a drunken cheerleader on prom night. Sometimes you feel as if you must really be ignorant about pop culture, because you have no idea who the people are she’s talking about. She extols their existences like they’re the world’s hottest stars, household names. You think, “Maybe I don’t get out enough.” Then you receive an ambivalent sense of vindication, when the star in question’s show is cancelled six weeks later.
Once a person tastes fame, they seem to want to hold on to it like my dog, when we take his rubber Frisbee to the park. Sarah Palin was right when she compared herself to a pit bull. The jaw strength of that breed is nowhere comparable to Sarah’s tenacious efforts to continually clench the news media.
Now her daughter Bristol is on “Dancing with the Stars”. Here’s the most noticeable thing about that show: They’re not stars! The dance instructors are more recognizable than their marquis partners. How is it that Bristol Palin gained “star” status? At least Kate Gosselin let a camera crew in her house while she changed diapers. Bristol Palin’s claim to “star status” is derived from the fact that her mother embarrassed the Republican Party, and her learning impaired former boyfriend stripped for Playgirl.
Some celebs should just realize that it’s time to go, without having to be forcibly removed from the limelight due to feigning public interest.
David Hasselhoff should have packed it in after “Baywatch”. He could have said, “You know, I’ve been lucky. I’m a vacuous void as an actor, and that cheeseburger video should have stuck the fork in my career. But as long as I’m on TV, Mary Hart will still talk about me.”
Look, I’m not even on television, but if a member of my family put footage on YouTube of me in a drunken stupor, trying to eat a cheeseburger off the floor, I wouldn’t even leave the house for a while. The Hoff was undeterred, obviously feeling as if any publicity was good publicity. He was most recently the first voted off of, you guessed it, “Dancing with the Stars”.
Ozzy Osbourne is on tour again. I find it amazing that people still buy into his bad boy image, after witnessing him stumbling around the yard picking up dog poop. You would think that rock and roll’s Prince of Darkness would have suffered from having his fans see him in a drunken haze so thick that he could barely dress himself without Sharon finding his socks. Why not let Sharon make the money now, with her “America’s Got Desperately Dysfunctional People” or whatever that show is called. Sit around the mansion and get drunk with Pat Boone or something.
Another former musical giant that still captures the public’s voyeuristic imagination is George Michael. He hasn’t had a bonafide worldwide hit in twenty years, but his salaciously inebriated behaviour still keeps him in the news.
His website is “receiving a makeover” and the release of “Faith – Remastered” has been pushed back, while he serves a jail sentence for driving under the influence of drugs. Didn’t this guy get arrested a few years ago for lewd behaviour in a men’s public rest room? I would think that jail for him would be equivalent to showing up at Walmart and finding out it’s “Everything in the Store is Free Day”.
George Michael’s faux pas still can’t compare to the combined efforts of Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. There’s a trio of girls every mother wants to see their son bring home. When they’re not shaving their heads or showing their privates to the paparazzi, they’re in court trying to stave off a prison sentence for some reproachable or illegal behaviour.
My prediction is the next one to go down the path of forgotten celebrity is Justin Bieber. For the time being, little girls are causing riots at the sixteen year old’s concerts around the world. Two years from now, he’ll be a mainstay in used CD store bargain bins. The crushing anguish of his newfound lack of adulation will push the young millionaire toward trademark belligerent public behaviour and self destructive excess.
Then again, maybe he’ll stay on top, employ an army of plastic surgeons, and move to a reclusive mansion with a collection of mannequins, an amusement park, a llama and a monkey. It’s happened before.
After the advent of CNN, then MTV, and most prominently the internet, fame is more fleeting than ever. The problem is that the people that sample from the buffet of fame don’t seem to want to leave when the “All-You-Can-Eat” special is over.
It could happen to you! One YouTube video of you lip synching to “I’m Too Sexy”, and suddenly you’re the subject of Tweets around the world. After all, it’s the 21st century; every merengue dancing dog has his day.