At a recent show at our favorite local theatre, NextStop Theatre Company, watching the a great show called Crimes of the Heart when near the end of the show I started thinking about something. Why do we get starstruck? Why do we somehow hold some people up as not being real?
Let me try to give you my thought process when I came to this question:
- I'm really getting into this show. It is funny. It is dramatic. It has some really odd situations. It has some really great acting.
- Some seriously good acting. I really hope these actors get lots more work and I get to see them again in another show soon.
- What if one day they get in a Broadway show? Or a movie?
- Its sort of weird to be sitting in a theater less than 100 feet away from these actors.
- They are so good they don't seem real. Are they real people?
- Of course they are real people. But why do we feel like some people aren't real?
- Starstruck. Why do we get starstruck?
OK, so I get that the stream of consciousness of that little internal monologue doesn't make much sense but it doesn't really change the question: Why do we get starstruck?
I guess it is part of human nature. Think about actors. You go to a movie and these people are literally larger than life. Movie screens are huge and we must translate that into our reality. But these people, these celebrities, are people just like you and me. They put on their pants one leg at a time. They pay taxes (well, maybe not Nick Cage and Wesley Snipes, but most of them do). When we tear them down on the internet because we don't agree or don't enjoy something they do I'm sure they are as hurt as everyone else.
I think as I get older I'm either becoming more aware of the starstruck phenomena or just becoming more cynical because the idea of a celebrity is less and less interesting. That isn't to say that I wouldn't like to meet some famous people. I'd love to meet Eddie Vedder. As you have read before (you did read it, didn't you?) I'm a huge fan of Pearl Jam and I'd like to thank him (and Mike McCready, and Jeff Ament, and Stone Gossard, and Matt Cameron) for the music that has done so much for my life. I'm a massive fan of Jason Statham and his movies. I'd love to shake his hand and maybe get a picture.
The point being is that I no longer think of these celebrities as objects out there in the ether. They are people, just like you, just like me. I listen to a lot of podcasts put out by famous people. Most often I listen to a podcast featuring Kevin Smith (you know, the Clerks guy) which isn't shocking because he has 6 or 7 hundred podcasts. He often makes the joke about he has seen Batman's dick. Why? Because for a long time he was good friends with Ben Affleck. Kevin Smith is friends with Ben Affleck. Just two guys working hard that happen to be known by a lot of people. But they are people, none the less.
So when you are watching TV, checking out a flick, reading a book, or listening to the radio remember that those people are just like you and me. Just because you don't like the music of Ariana Grande doesn't mean she is a terrible person. She's probably a nice girl. Just because you think that Mockingjay movie was stupid doesn't mean Jennifer Lawrence is an awful human being. I'm sure she is perfectly lovely. Just because that most recent Dan Brown novel was more boring than staring at a white wall doesn't make him a bad guy. He's probably a great dude to share a beer with. Celebrities are people too; they just happen to be more recognizable. Treat them like you would want to be treated.
Except Justin Bieber. That guy is a douche.