Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lindsey v. Paris

Paris Hilton, or Lindsey Lohan. Hmmm… It’s difficult to decide who I care about less. Rehab. Jail. Parole. Paparazzi. More rehab. More rehab. More whatever. I can’t say that seeing their pretty painted faces on the cover of US or PEOPLE or THE NATIONAL INQUIRER doesn’t make me smile. While I rarely read (or rather look at) those magazines, one can’t help but see them at the grocery store or the drug store.

If I smile it must mean that I do care, but not the way a lot of people do.

US WEEKLY is relatively new to me. Until a few weeks ago I never actually looked between the covers. While I was at the doctor’s office the other day I was irresistibly attracted to an old copy in the waiting room. There was nothing else to read except the posters on the wall which showed photographs of abnormal skin lesions. I had already read those exact posters several times before waiting, with my shirt off, for the big skin exam. Once again, I found myself sitting there, cold, shirtless and with absolutely nothing else to read. When…there it was: ROYAL WEDDING! The Making of a New Princess… The gowns, the jewels, ladies in waiting, strict new rules. How Kate’s Life Has Changed Forever – And What She’s Learned From Diana.

Do tell. I am happy for her and all, but it is all cartoon reality for me. Jewels? Ladies in Waiting?

I guess she’ll be happy, but I am thinking that her life is going to be about as weird as can be. What are the chances that Kate is going to go out for a cup of joe at Starbucks or hang out in Barnes and Noble or go to a movie or walk her dog in the park without being accompanied by a massive bodyguard unit? Maybe one of her ladies in waiting will have to walk the dog for her. Well, one less thing to worry about.

There was an article; maybe it was a regular “column” in US, called HOTHOLLYWOOD. The story this time was about the “Dancing with the Stars” finale. That is a show I look forward to missing every week. So this guy blew out his TV with a shotgun and had an all night standoff with police because, “He was upset Bristol (Palin) was still on the show.” He must have been a real devotee of the show. That is some serious investment in TV!

Have you ever wanted to know how Angelina (I am sure that I do not need to write her last name, right?) stays satisfied while directing her new film in Hungary? Apparently US WEEKLY has paid off spies because they have the scoop… “By snacking on food from the pockets of her coat!” It’s true. She has been seen eating broccoli, cauliflower, mixed nuts and even scones. Scones!

Want to know what’s in Julie Benz’s purse? It's in there.

Did you know that Denise Richards has a fascination with lucite stripper heels? Well she does.

After Eva Longoria parker filed for divorce, “rumors continued to swirl” about her husband fooling around with a former teammate’s wife. Those rumors are probably still swirling.

The pictures are really informative too. Katherine Heigl is shown browsing a bed and bath store buying pillows. Kristin Cavallari is shown taking out her own trash and Dakota Fanning was photographed plugging coins into a parking meter.

I am not saying that I wouldn’t like to meet some of my heroes. I would love to ask Eric Clapton to show me some riffs, or to ask Stephen King to give me some writing tips. I would love to get some insight from Nelson Mandela or swap stories with Jimmie Carter. They’re celebs too. They probably plug coins into parking meters, take out the trash, and even eat snacks right out of their pockets.

But I wonder at the fascination we have as a society, for the rich and famous. Perhaps it makes us feel a little less common if we know that the rich and famous and beautiful we hold so high also have marriage troubles, eat out, buy clothes and do a lot of the regular stuff we do. Maybe if we see photos of them taken from a quarter mile away with a telephoto lens without their makeup, we feel a little better about ourselves without makeup. If we see a famous model or movie star in a skimpy bathing suit and her figure isn’t as perfect as we thought or she has some cellulite, then perhaps we feel a little better about our own imperfect bodies.

But there is a part of me that is resentful of this stuff. Because perhaps we should also be paying attention to other things. Example: 15 years ago there was a massive genocide in Rwanda. Well over a million were murdered in 100 days. The scope is unimaginable. But very few Americans seemed to know or care about it. Most people who have not seen the film, "Hotel Rwanda" aren't even aware that it happened. The hot news item du jour was the O. J. Simpson trial. It was on every weekly magazine, in every newspaper, on every news broadcast. It probably got more than ten times the ink of the Rwandan genocide. A hundred times the ink. A THOUSAND times?

And what about the tragedies in the Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo? Have we forgotten the conditions since the earthquake in Haiti?

Maybe it's just in our nature to gravitate to the easy stuff. The fun celebrity info takes our minds off the real news. It’s not like we don’t care, it might just be too much of a challenge, too depressing, too hard.

But if we don't pay attention to the hard stuff, if we don't look up and out at the real world, how will we know who to pray for?


Kelly said...

oh, i know, right. seriously, i wonder if anyone has ever cared about paris as much as she cares about herself. i skimmed over an article the a while back about the future princess/queen and the guy writing the article made some very good points. he said that all (most) little girls dream about is being a princess, but this girl will never be able to say anything interesting ever again because it might be controversial in some way. she can't have a bad hair day. castles are notoriously drafty. she'll have pictures taken of her while she eats, while she jogs, while she gets into the car, while she gets out of the car, while she walks into the store, etc. you're right, though, i wonder why some people get so caught up in someone else's (usually) self-inflicted problems, when there are so many other people out there affected by things they have no control over? i do have to say, though, i was loving it when i caught a clip of paris on larry king after she was released from prison, you know, whatever time that was, and he asked her if she was involved in politics. "Oh, yeah, definitely." "Do you vote for the president?" "Yes." "How often?" "Every year." i have to admit, i did enjoy that immensely.

Chris Hass said...

These types of magazines make you look over your shoulder after reading a headline to see if you've been caught. A "favorite" of mine is the inside cover of the Parade magazine. It has letters (from presumably real people) that generally go something like "Mark Wahlberg surprised many people when he became even more famous than his New Kids on the Block brother. Do the two guys see much of each other these days?" Who has the time to wonder about these things?

All things celebrity creep me out. I don't understand it. I would think that new technologies like Twitter would just about put these magazines out of business. I mean, now Angelina can tweet us to let us know the very moment she's snacking from those pockets. Amazing.

Tim O'Keefe said...

I know what you mean by being embarrassed when caught reading these things. So I was sitting there waiting to be checked out in the doc's office and I'm writing down some quotes for the blog when the nurse comes in and, you know, checks me out, tells me the doc will be there shortly. I'm sure I turned red. It was like being caught with a men's mag or something. And yet, there it was, out in the doctor's office.

Emily Whitecotton said...

I wonder (not all that seriously because I'm almost positive of the answer) if the lack of attention might make it easier for the Lohan to get clean or for Paris stop walking around with tiny dogs in purses. If people stopped watching, how would they live? What would they be?

I am so enjoying your responses to the beautiful nuggets of information you gathered. Scones! Did they not do something in the headline with the idea that Angelina was hungry in Hungary? It is just a little too easy, but I can't imagine that the writers of US would be above that. Something simple and in the same lettering that they use on the wrapper of a Snickers bar like: Hungary? Why Wait: Put stuff in your pocket and eat it now like Angelina!

On the flip side of what I was noticing about all the media coverage of Hollywoodishness, what if we did get equal media coverage of places like Rwanda? Sudan? Haiti? I wonder what the viewing public would do if the paparazzi who followed movie stars around went to these places and wouldn't let the images of reality stop. Could we ignore it?

ruck said...

you think like I do