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Monday, November 29, 2010

Spectacle Or Substance

Once upon a time in a land of soft lighting, demur glances and bodies clutched in silhouette there existed a mystical creature called celebrity. How celebrity spent its moments away from the celluloid dream screen were shrouded in a bit of mystery and noire. Extravagances were hinted at through tastefully decorated attire, homes and cars without excess. Even rollicking good times dressed themselves in metaphor and strolled down rain slick streets without pretense. It didn't require flash, open mouthed stares or spectacle to sell itself. Celebrity was a height to be reached by the most subtle of means.

Somewhere between counting the casualties of the war between the sexes and reinventing civil liberties celebrity found itself at the beginning of a life crisis and determining a newer, more liberated identity. Something that didn't adhere like cement glue to the notion of traditionalized roles or oppression. In short, something that didn't look like its parent's celebrity. In finding, it's twinkle dimmed, it's shine lacked a bit of luster...but struggled against the stimulant induced mania of the 80's and staggered broken and bewildered into the 90's. And as the page turns to 2011...celebrity is on life support.

Welcome to the age of garish attentions, gross spectacle and obnoxiously blatant gestures. Shiny, intangible objects dance in overlit rooms to inexplicably loud audial porn disguised as "love songs". Every moment devoted to intimacy is open to precisioned vivisection and less than tasteful staging...then ran repeatedly to effectively anesthetize the viewing public. We in turn, immortalize the tacky and hand it over to our much beleaguered friend, "celebrity".

It's fascinatingly sick and I'm as much patron as protester of this mishandling. My Sunday night postings about the RHOA notwithstanding, I've fallen victim to the phenomena of spectacle over substance. I'm lofty in my rationalization. I tell myself it's research for the next blog post or a sociological experiment to test the bounds mature thinking. I'm spiritual in my approach to my vice. I watch so that I'm able to pray for these poor misguided souls and gather wisdom about the importance of a Higher Power. I'm even in denial about my semi-obsession with Phaedra's delusions and Kim's inscrutable wig choices. "I don't watch it EVERYTIME it's on...and when I do... it is to give my huge, cynical, analytical brain a rest from solving the world's problems  it's only entertainment! Geeesh...

Or it would be...if we didn't call these reality show camera hounds, celebrities.


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