Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Celebrutality Vol. 1

The Andrews Sisters

Have any of you all noticed that as the proverbial sands of time cascade through the proverbial hourglass, the roster of individuals who are supposedly celebrities becomes more and more unrecognizable?

As a boy, my siblings and I were tormented by parents who didn't realize that celebrity is a fluctuating and fluid concept. My mother or father would make a "hilarious" reference to Jack Parr or the Andrews Sisters, and the stares of mute incomprehension on the faces of their young children would inspire a cackling riot of mock horror: "you don't know who Ernest Borgnine is? How did we raise such a bunch of drooling retards?"

Ernest Borgnine

This experience inspired in me a lifelong hatred of trivia. As an academic historian-in-training, this is a bit of a liability, since a lot of my colleagues seem to regard the goal of their education as the perfection of the ability to read the historical annals with the same confidence as a tourist traversing the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I mean, who gives a fuck? It is not like it's a virtuous act to have paid enough attention to everyday life to recall that Woody Harrelson was on "Cheers." If for some reason you forgot, then you could just look it up, right? Wouldn't we be happier just not worrying about it?

Similarly, when I went to the Universal Studios theme park as a young man, I was struck by the fact that the gift shops stocked a similar supply of old Hollywood icon souvenirs: Charlie Chaplin tumblers, Marilyn Monroe desksets, Groucho Marx umbrella stands, Laurel and Hardy lobster bibs... It was as if there really truly was a pantheon of American stardom that would never change.... as if no matter what seismic shifts altered the terrain of celebrity, these faces would remain as potent and recognizable as ever. But why no Alan Thicke corncob-holders or Randy Quaid shaving kits? I would certainly be more tempted to buy one of these souvenirs than shelling out cash for a Mae West rice-cooker.... Leading to the real question-- who did buy these knicknacks? Did they enjoy them? Are theys till cherished heirlooms?

Anyways, all of this rumination brings me to the real subject of my post today: celebrities who don't seem really to be celebrities. How did all of these people become famous all of a sudden? Can enough resistance to the postulation of their famousness on the part of the population at large remove their putative famousness? Let's try!

Jessica Alba
Jessica Biel
(are these the same people?)
Anne Hathaway
Kate Bosworth
Kate Beckinsale
(are these the same people?)
"Boston Rob"
Rob Thomas
(are these the same people?)
Trista and Ryan
Jake Gyllenhall
Maggie Gyllehnall
Tobey Gyllenhall
NASCAR people....

And more to come!!!


femme feral said...

Athletes and realtity show people have to be pretty special to be considered "celebrities." And since when are the children of aging rock stars of so much interest? Unless you are kelly osbourne, go away!!

was kim stewart on your list?

Crystal said...

Yeah, we live in a disposable society and that applies to celebrities too. Are any of the names we see splattered across Us Weekly and Entertainment Tonight gonna be memorable a decade or two from now? Doubt it.

R2K said...

Having met alot of these people, you find out that they are pretty much normal.

This means good and bad things about them.

They are not as special as it seems, but they are also not as bad as many think...

They are really mostly normal people with the time and power to act a bit more crazy!

I mean what if a camera was on you for your whole life? I bet alot of dirt would come out on anyone.

nhennies said...

To be fair, Jake Gyllenhall is quite good in "Donnie Darko" a movie that I fully expected to hate but have loved after each time I've seen it, including the director's cut (despite the heavy-handed titling they added in to "explain" the movie... yech).

femme feral said...

I'd like to add the entire cast of desperate housewives (though I sorta like Marcia Cross).

femme feral said...

and whoever that viva la bam guy is.