The other day while reading Time
magazine, I came across a political cartoon. The first box
gave a headshot of a double-chinned, balding man declaring
that he was tired of people saying Americans donít care
about children in Africa. Then in the second box, you see
the upper half of the manís body as he grins and says with
confidence that he went out and bought a T-shirt.
The shirt says ĎBrangelina had a girl!í
The cartoon pokes fun at the constant
celebrity obsession that currently plagues the nation. Three
manifestations of this obsession can be seen just through
the cartoon. 1)The fuzzy and lovely moniker Brangelina
coined to join the couple into a blob of a single entity in
the legacy of Bennifer and TomKat. 2) The man actually
thought wearing the shirt meant caring about African kids.
3) The fact that there are shirts out there stamped with
tabloid-sounding headlines circulating Americaís apparel
And there really are shirts like that.
Remember the famous Team Aniston vs. Team Jolie? Poor Brad
Pitt. I wonder which one he was sporting. Or the line of
white tees stamped with a bold black ĎThatís Hotí to show
the world your Paris Hilton attitude post Simple Life.
There is something seriously wrong when
there are people on eBay willing to bid thousands for
Britney Spearsí saliva-drenched chewing gum or when
magazines dedicate whole sections to analyzing the latest
picture of a celebrity couple, trying to decode their body
language and love habits. Or my personal favorite? A jar of
Brangelinaís possible exhalations sold for $530 in an online
Not that being interested in celebrity
culture is a curious phenomenon. Itís definitely
understandable that we, as commoners, are intrigued by the
glamorous lifestyle of the rich and famous. In fact, I enjoy
reading celebrity gossip: who is dating whom, who lost
weight, who had a baby; But when there are pictures zooming
in on Mischa Bartonís Starbuckís and captions concluding
that she likes soy with her coffee, itís too much.
Why have we become so obsessed with how
these people live? My guess is that we are just inherently
curious, or nosy about other peopleís lives. The more
intimate, the better. The more sensational, the better. It
provides a sort of entertainment where we can all live
vicariously through the ups and downs of the glamorous drama
of other people. And hone our psychoanalysis skills in the
The media is not helping to curb this OCD,
what I would like to call the Obsessive Celebrity Disorder.
Instead, it stuffs us with more and more intimate details of
these starís lives. When there are more than a hundred
something tabloids running in the nation, reporters and
photographers are out to beat the competition. Getting a
picture of Mischa Barton is good. Getting a picture of her
with puffy eyes and no makeup is better. And getting a
close-up of her daily soy-enriched coffee is the best.
But in our mad desire to know every juicy
detail, we are directly supporting media to take more
images, find more gossip, butt into more lives. Thatís what
happens in a supply and demand economy. We demand it. Media
supplies it. And the vicious cycle continues, until we reach
a zenith where celebrities have no privacy at all.
And thatís the other issue, that
celebrities do want and deserve some amount of privacy.
Though they should realize that, yes, they are in the
nationís eyes and need to deal with paparazzi and eager
fans, they donít deserve to be scrutinized to the detail of
whatís in their coffee. Nor should they have weird people
lurking around their house scouting for discarded gum or mad
hatters prancing around with empty jars ready to cap the air
Maybe itís time to realize that deep
inside, celebrities and commoners have some things in
common: they enjoy privacy once in a while. They are people.
Rich, glamorous, exaggerated icons of a people, but people
who enjoy some iota of privacy nonetheless.