Friday, June 11, 2010

Today's Celebrity-Obsessed Culture

It was recently announced that Megan Fox will not be in the latest Transformers movie. The first 2 installments in the big-screen adaptation of the '80s cartoon have been summer blockbusters, with fans of that genre asking for more.

Why is Megan Fox not going to be in T3? That's not really the point of this post, but it's something along the lines of disagreements with the director & "diva-ish" behavior. Also, for the record, I'd like to state that I'm not a fan of the Transformer movies. Explosions just for the sake of explosions and too many corny jokes. Not for me.

Why is this Megan Fox information pertinent? (Aside from the fact that it gives me an excuse to link to pictures of her from this year's Maxim Hot 100 list). It's news. A major star of one of the biggest movie franchises not returning for the 3rd installment is news.

Do you know what's not news? Most of what's presented as news.

Let me give you a history lesson. Until the last decade (the "Aughts" as people have tried to name it) news wasn't constant. There was a daily or weekly newspaper. There was a morning, noon, and nightly newscast. That was your news for the day. Depending on your work or school schedule, you usually missed 1 or 2 of the newscasts. And, of course, there were your Sunday political shows, and your Good Morning America and the like. But, you get where I'm going with this.

It started slowly in the late '90s, as cable started to become the more popular television viewing option. Cable news channels started airing pretty much 24/7 content information. And, with that they realized something - "We have a lot of time to fill and the top stories get boring after a while."

That led to Entertainment News becoming a viable option. It had always been there, people have always wanted to know about celebrities and movies and gossip and whatnot. Now, it was just there a lot more and featured more prominently.

In addition to a constant news bombardment, the Aughts are likely going to be best remembered for the proliferation of entertainment blogs and increased "paparazzi" presence.

Thanks to people like Perez Hilton and Harvey Levin, perezhilton.com & tmz.com are popular attractions for all things "celebrity."

What's the downside to sites like those? For the most part, there's not a lot of interesting content there. Well, most of it's interesting in the context of "I have nothing else to do, I'll check out TMZ."

The problem with that is that it's changing the culture on what is a celebrity. Mischa Barton hasn't done anything of interest with her acting career in roughly 6 years. So, why is the fact that she was photographed at a Starbucks posted on their site? They needed content to fill their pages. What does this tell people? That Mischa Barton is still interesting, and therefore still a celebrity, despite the fact that she has done nothing for the better part of the last decade and the current one.

Why are Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag still popular? Because "Speidi" are featured regularly on TMZ. Aside from that, they have no career. And, that is sending the message to people that they are still important, when they really should not be perceived as such.

Why are the many mistresses of Tiger Woods still in the public eye? What have they done... besides Tiger Woods? Answer: nothing, except enter the public lexicon for a while. The gossip sites decided they needed content, so they are kept in the public lexicon.

I'm not sure if this is good or bad, but a result of this constant proliferation of entertainment news is that celebrities will no longer disappear after their careers begin to fade.

We won't have any more Corey Haims or Feldmans. Neil Patrick Harris never would have had that 10-year dormant span between "Doogie Howser" and "How I Met Your Mother." People just won't go away, as long as these sites think they're interesting.

To take this post full circle, Megan Fox never has to do anything of substance in her career again. She was in two huge summer blockbusters and is hot - that's enough for TMZ to track her every move.

What effects will this have going forward? It's really too early to tell. In today's 24/7 media world, it is easier than ever to become a celebrity. And because these sites and channels need content to fill their 24/7 news blocks, these people will remain celebrities long after their relevance fades.

2 comments:

  1. Some of these celebrities just hate working. They make some money and then decide not to do any more films. Or with the young ones...no one wants them in their films lol. Their not actors or actresses! They need a job. Maybe Mischa was picking up an application from Starbucks.

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  2. She could have been, you never know lol

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