May 3, 2007

The issues of fame

Nice little YouTube collection from YesButNoButYes that leads me to thinking a little more about the trappings of fame and celebrity.

Let's run it down from the top - just the two that interested me, though.

Check the Paul Young video of him singing "Radio Ga Ga". He's smack on stage at the old Wembley Stadium for the Freddie Mercury tribute concert, and he's got the entire crowd of 100,000+ in the palm of his hand. About halfway through the video, Young breaks into the chorus and has the full crowd clapping their hands over their heads. And it's that single moment that made me pause.

I've been in front of a couple hundred people here and there, and it's a bit of an ego boost, I'll admit. But, I can't possibly imagine what it's like to be treated like a god - for a few minutes, even - by a hundred thousand people. To have them hanging on your every word, responding when you want them to, screaming when you tell them to.

I can fully understand how celebrities pull the sort of stuff we hear about in the tabloids - driving 100 mph with hookers and coke in the back seat, throwing commoners through windows of third-story apartments, generally feeling like they're above you and me, like they're entitled to use us as nothing more than stepstools.

It's because we've trained them that way.

Whether they're talented because they can carry a tune, kick a ball, cry on command, or make the ace of clubs come out of our backsides, we pay people to follow them around, documenting their every move. We pay them gazillions of dollars for a few hours of work, and we act like their devout acolytes for those hours.

I'm impressed that none of our celebs have gone bonkers and declared themselves king of the world or something on us.

We'd deserve it for all we've done to further the celebrity culture here in the US (and mostly 'round the rest of the world).

Remember my recent post about the cult of celebrity that we've created? Well, I'm becoming more and more resolute in those thoughts.

Let it go, folks.

They are no better than we.

Don't treat them as though they were.

Kill your idols.

(Well, maybe not kill, literally. I don't want to advocate anybody actually slaughtering the golden calves, but maybe just taking those calves down a few notches here and there.)

Oh, and in the second to last video on that page, we get George Michael leading Queen and the crowd in a sing-along of "Somebody to Love". In retrospect, may I please ask why anybody needed George Michael to come out of the closet? Wasn't it a little obvious?


cmorin said...

I came across the same realization about how many people watch these celebrities when I was watching DMB's Central Park DVD (the quintessential Dave album in my opinion). I don't think anyone can fathom what that is like until they've experienced it first hand. I can’t think of much better.

On top of that, however, watching those YouTube clips made me realize three things.....

First off - I'm glad I was not apart of the 80's.

Secondly - Queen has to be one of the most musically talented rock bands ever assembled.

Thirdly - As good as musicians as they were, Queen was made by Freddie Mercury.

PHSChemGuy said...

1 - But the 80s were fun...the sixties were interesting in the shift from wholesome to radical...the seventies from radical/social to hedonistic...the 80s were all about the shift from hedonistic to greed...

2 - they were impressive

3 - absolutely correct...he is one of the biggest personalities that rock has seen...the stories and the performances are legend...

Joey said...

listening to queen with paul rodgers can completely attest to number three.

just thinking about it makes me... wanna....oh no... *HURRRRLLLLL*

PHSChemGuy said...

Yeah, the Paul Rodgers bit isn't the same...Freddie is missed...but the band apparently continue to soldier on...