Celebrity behavior is getting bad and no one seems to know why. I adore anyone famous, naturally, but certain quirks of the rich and well-known seem to have worsened as they enter a world of social media, unlimited opportunities and endless surgery.
In the old days, you only had to hear from a celeb when they were on a talk show or in a magazine, but now their every brain fart is emitted to you, especially since they tweet every time they made potato leek soup and even send out links of the video of their press conference at the Guam Film Festival. I have no problem with stars sharing intimate parts of themselves to the world — in fact, it’s totally welcome — but most of their social-media emissions aren’t profound or revealing at all. They tend to verge on press releases, mind-numbing banalities and/or wildly unimaginative statements that aren’t even worth reading. (“RIP Robin Williams.” “End the war now. All wars.”). And with celebrity anger-management problems on the rise, their tweets also serve as validations or flat-out lies. (“I was just beating up a cop to research my latest role.”)
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Comfortingly enough, some annoying things about celebrities remain a constant, familiar from the days of yore:
* The way they complain about the pressures of parenting, even though they have $150,000 a day to spend on help and see their kids so infrequently they have to explain each time, “I’m your mommy. No, really. And that man over there is your latest daddy.”
* The way they won’t say anything the least bit interesting or controversial (a scenario that’s gripped us with boredom way before social media started). If they slip up and utter something that betrays an actual opinion, they are quickly advised by their entourage to plug it up and go bland again. Our only hope is that they get drunk enough to tweet something interesting before their publicist takes it down two seconds later. Screenshots have become a fan’s best friend.
* The way they think God is guiding them through every moment. (As if He has nothing better to do than sit up there planning B-list careers. Please — he’s busy with the A-listers.)
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* The way they think the person they just met on a movie set is worth dumping their spouse for. No matter how many of these on-set quickies don’t work, that doesn’t stop the longtime married star from dabbling in some quickie sex and then losing all reason and convincing themselves it’s actually life changing love. Until the next movie set.
None of that behavior has changed, and none of it ever will. But some things about celebrity comings and goings have gotten worse, I must say, and it’s made my life as a star gazer more perversely fascinating, yet infinitely more depressing. For example, today’s stars have way more chances to stay in the public than in the old days, because of a plethora of media opportunities set up to give them employment. These days, it’s much easier for someone famous to branch out too much or cash in too much or become more overexposed than a plus-sized drunk mooning his date at a country bar. It’s not surprising to come across a star who has eight movies out, plus nine TV shows, five commercials, a music video and a poetry book. These angsty icons can also find they’re welcome in the worlds of directing, self-help, restaurants, gospel and cosmetics. Today’s stars can’t say no to anything, and they don’t have to because the options are there for the plucking. No longer does a hot career have to sabotage itself, like in the days of Diana Ross. It can simply reinvent itself, end up on cable and become hotter than ever.
At the same time, celebs have more chances than ever to get plastic surgery, and I’m not just talking about the lips-five-feet-in-front-of-you Joker faces of the ’80s and ”90s. We’re talking subtle tweaking and nipping and plucking — though it ain’t so subtle when every single pore has been worked over and the resulting sylph looks nothing like the 85-year-old hatchet face she started as. Today’s stars are unrecognizable, defying the odds as they come at you in sinewy new forms that defy time and logic. There’s no escaping these celebrities, and there won’t be until the end of time, so you’d better get used to them and their changing faces, if you know what’s good for your pop-cultural sanity.
Worst of all, there are more awards shows than ever, so the stars have more chances to soak in all that gratitude and to thank each and every other one of the nominees from the podium and make them squirm. (You know: “Meryl, don’t you worry, girl. You’re going to go places. Hailee, you have amassed an amazing body of work. Melissa McCarthy, you are the essence of incredibly lovely and feminine. Julianne, maybe next year.”)
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Making other people squirm is what today’s celebrities seem to do best, it turns out. Whether with their annoying tweets, banal utterances, surreal looks or bad romances, they make the public feel icky, the throngs unsure whether to cheer or hurl at every headline-making turn.
The stars’ newfound accessibility would be fine if they at least answered the tweets you sent them, but no! These ingrates will gladly reply to someone who ticks them off (or jerks them off — nothing gets a celebrity response faster than some serious gushing), but respond to a sincere journalist who’s a fan? Nope. Fuck you, Cher, Adam Driver, James Franco, Aziz Ansari, Rainn Wilson and so many more of you who sit in your ivory towers, unaware of who your real supporters are.
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By not answering my messages, you people put the blech back in celebrity. You’re so full of yourselves I’m surprised you don’t gain weight. And yet, you are really famous and fabulous and accomplished and all that jazz, so I take that all back. I love you, celebrities! You’re the bestest! Please come over and annoy me in person!