Friday, January 4, 2008

Not the Same Fame

As long as I’ve been a lover pop culture, I have somewhat secretly harbored dreams of my own fame, not the new millennium-digitized-insta-fame, but the dimmer glow of the spotlight, boasting beautiful gowns, glamorous parties, and tearful acceptance speeches that orbited around the big movie, TV show, or album. Even though I have grown up and understand that flirting with fame is a dangerous pastime, I still want my 15 minutes on the red carpet, my 40 seconds at the podium.

Anyone with a television, radio or internet connection has probably stumbled upon the day-to-day coverage of Spears’ bizarre daily life: her inexplicably numerous trips to L.A. gas stations, hotels and Starbucks, her every traffic violation, and her shopping trips for clothes, toys and pets. The sheer volume of coverage, prior to this morning’s blitzkrieg, was disturbing and distressing. It made me revise my aspirations of fame, just a bit. I added realism to my fantasies, which I admit is pretty sad, but that’s how I roll. I’d avoid L.A., maybe hang out with Julia and the kids in New Mexico or find a trendy, roach-free loft on the Upper East Side or a beautifully old brownstone in Brooklyn like Keri Russell. I’d be above the L.A. club scene/rehab loop that most stars traversing right now.

However, the events that played out with Shock and Awe proportions early this morning (central standard time) have completely reversed my warm and fuzzy feelings on Hollywood’s now all-encompassing spotlight. I’m obviously referring to the purported breakdown of Britney Spears, captured by aerial news crews and malicious paparazzi, who literally chased the ambulance to get pictures of Britney strapped to a gurney, grinning incoherently and fighting with the paramedics. They chased the van with her children in it, and would have potentially endangered their lives if Kevin hadn’t risked his life to block the paparazzi pursuit.

Spears has always coveted controversy; it made her a so-called pop icon. What she lacked in talent, she hid in a smokescreen of scandalous RollingStone covers, the famous boyfriend, and laughable declarations of virginity. Her sexy good girl image all but dared paparazzi, now armed with digital technology, to get photographic dirt on her, and they did. While she’s (yes, I have to do it) not that innocent, no one deserves to have a devastating low point in their lives photographed, commodified and splashed across every magazine cover in the world. Fame isn’t worth that the complete breakdown of one’s privacy—something my shy self relishes daily. Right now, in the immediate wake of this morning’s events—ones that will be dissected and discussed for weeks to come—even the fantasies feel wrong and silly. I think every girl wants to have their red carpet moment, where all eyes are on them, but with today’s fame, they never look away.

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