I, Fatty Question #20 ~ Star Power

by Jerry Stahl

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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I, Fatty Question #20 ~ Star Power

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Jul 24, 2005 9:55 am

On pages 80-81, Roscoe talks about becoming famous and the influence he realizes he has over his fans. “I had a future, even if it wasn’t the future I’d imagined. What did I know? I’m a fat kid from Kansas. My own good luck scared me. Life seemed unbelievably livable.”

When he receives a fan letter from a little boy with tuberculosis he goes to see him in the hospital. Roscoe’s comment is, “Knowing this kid put so much faith in me. An actor.”

Johnny has expressed similar sentiments when he says “I’m just a dad with a weird job.” Why do celebrities have such an influence in our culture?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Sun Jul 24, 2005 1:26 pm

Personally, I've been grateful when celebrities who are well respected speak out on subjects they know a great deal about and have experienced. I began feeling this way when I had breast cancer years ago right after Betty Ford and several movie stars came out and talked about successfully going through the ordeal. I respected their opinions and drew hope from them. Of course, many others had been through it as well, but they didn't have the public platform to encourage us all.
Since then I've appreciated those celebrities who have let the world know a little more about bi-polar disorder (Jane Pauley, Patty Duke), post-partum depression (Brooke Shields, Marie Osmond, Courtney Cox), and the list goes on.......
HOWEVER, when celebs get on their soap boxes and expound on subjects they clearly know nothing about (I think you can supply names here yourself :-O ), I don't know what they're thinking :eyebrow: or why anyone would believe them.
I hope only the credible ones truly have an influence in our culture, and that influence would be due to feeling that one knows and trusts the celebrity and how he's conducted his life and that he's speaking on a subject in which he's knowledgeable. Johnny wasn't appreciated when some thought he was critical of the U.S.A. but is highly influential in the realm of art, literature, acting, style.... (add your own). :cool:
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Unread postby Liz » Sun Jul 24, 2005 3:04 pm

Betty Sue wrote:Personally, I've been grateful when celebrities who are well respected speak out on subjects they know a great deal about and have experienced. I began feeling this way when I had breast cancer years ago right after Betty Ford and several movie stars came out and talked about successfully going through the ordeal. I respected their opinions and drew hope from them. Of course, many others had been through it as well, but they didn't have the public platform to encourage us all.
Since then I've appreciated those celebrities who have let the world know a little more about bi-polar disorder (Jane Pauley, Patty Duke), post-partum depression (Brooke Shields, Marie Osmond, Courtney Cox), and the list goes on.......
HOWEVER, when celebs get on their soap boxes and expound on subjects they clearly know nothing about (I think you can supply names here yourself :-O ), I don't know what they're thinking :eyebrow: or why anyone would believe them.
I hope only the credible ones truly have an influence in our culture, and that influence would be due to feeling that one knows and trusts the celebrity and how he's conducted his life and that he's speaking on a subject in which he's knowledgeable. Johnny wasn't appreciated when some thought he was critical of the U.S.A. but is highly influential in the realm of art, literature, acting, style.... (add your own). :cool:


I, too, appreciate celebs who come out and speak out about struggles they have or have had--especially if it can be helpful to others in the same situation. Michael J. Fox is one.

I tend to be attracted to celebs who speak out on issues I agree with--one of the reasons I appreciate JD.

Actors are bigger than life—especially to kids. They can be role models placed on a pedestal. In the particular case of the boy in the hospital, he didn’t have a good male role model. His father was probably abusing him. Thus, when Roscoe visited him in the hospital, it meant even more to him. Plus, I think people get lost in the movies/TV shows, forgetting these people are just actors. I think this is especially true with soaps.
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The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: I, Fatty Question #20 ~ Star Power

Unread postby Raven » Sun Jul 24, 2005 3:18 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:

Johnny has expressed similar sentiments when he says “I’m just a dad with a weird job.” Why do celebrities have such an influence in our culture?


I use movies and books as a way to escape the regular life I live. So I do get wrapped up in the movie/book and for a while I am transported to Ommpa land. So when a celeb comes out and speaks about any topic, and it gets press (we had this discussion) we can relate or not, if I like that actor/author I may even agree with them and then feel connected to them. It is unlikely that I will meet them, so I can make them into what I need/want them to be for me. If they are coming out to make us aware of Cancer lets say (Lance for example) I of course am going to be all for more awareness and maybe more research in finding cures etc.
On the other hand if it is a actor I thought was ok and now is spouting crap about something he knows nothing about like depression, then I will not listen to him in the future and if I really feel strongly about his message not even see his latest movie.
And this is all in the news and the press goes over it each day ad nauseous. It is hard to ignore even if you want to.

do I make sense?

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Re: I, Fatty Question #20 ~ Star Power

Unread postby Liz » Sun Jul 24, 2005 4:33 pm

Raven wrote:do I make sense?


Very much so. Our eyes are not wide shut. ;-)
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Jul 24, 2005 5:26 pm

That's the thing, isn't it? When they start spouting off about something they know nothing about. Or the other thing that makes me :banghead: is when interviewers, like on certain Entertainment Shows, ask a celebrity their opinion of some current event but the question is usually so obvious like, "Do believe in murder?" that there is only one answer. The scary part happens when people believe everything a celebrity says just because they recognize their face. :soapbox: (Back to my corner...)
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Raven » Sun Jul 24, 2005 5:29 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:That's the thing, isn't it? When they start spouting off about something they know nothing about. Or the other thing that makes me :banghead: is when interviewers, like on certain Entertainment Shows, ask a celebrity their opinion of some current event but the question is usually so obvious like, "Do believe in murder?" that there is only one answer. The scary part happens when people believe everything a celebrity says just because they recognize their face. :soapbox: (Back to my corner...)


dont jump off that :soapbox: DITHOT!! just scoot over so I can join ya!!

Raven
"In my experience, those who do not like you fall into two categories: the stupid

and the envious."

John Wilmot, the 2nd Earl of Rochester in The Libertine by Stephen Jeffreys

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Jul 24, 2005 5:32 pm

Plenty o' room for two of us Raven! Step on up! :soapbox: :soapbox:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby suec » Mon Jul 25, 2005 9:42 am

We are all influenced by others to some extent, the more so if they are important to us. Families, friends, teachers, work colleagues, can all impact on us, in both small and more significant ways. I think it is part of human nature, though, to want to widen that circle of influence. We seem to need our heroes and role models, to have aspirations to be like them. Celebrities are distant enough from us for us not to be so aware of their shortcomings, as we are of those around us. I agree with Raven that they can be what we want them to be. We can project a certain impression of them onto what we want them to be like, and be selective in taking from them what we want (hopefully). I think that often, we make a connection with celebrities because we recognise similarities with ourselves, which helps us to relate to them , and in the case of actors, there is the additional factor of the roles they play, where we might see their characters in quite personal or emotional situations that we can recognise or empathise with. It is natural for that to happen, when we see someone exploring what may be a universal human experience.
Another possible reason is because they may be very good at what they do. When we see a gifted, talented person, it is natural to respect them, to admire the hard work they have put into something, or to admire the choices they make. When you have identified someone as worthy of respect, there is probably going to be that over spill, so that we might assume they are worthy of respect in other areas. So, for all of these reasons, we may be influenced by them.
Celebrities also have a certain glamour, though, don't they? That exclusive feel. If we know that our access to them is limited that can increase their standing. Also, the media makes them seem so much more important, when every little thing they do is reported on. So-and-so has had a nose job! Who cares? is my reaction. Why is that newsworthy? But still, trends are set. We look at so-and-so and the others that have followed suit, and think, well then, so can I.
So perhaps it is not surprising that attempts are made to harness that potential influence and for celebs to identify themselves with certain issues. I think they have as much right to free speech as anyone else, but there are also times when I think, why do you think you are an expert on this topic, mate?
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Unread postby Liz » Mon Jul 25, 2005 11:09 am

suec wrote:I think that often, we make a connection with celebrities because we recognise similarities with ourselves, which helps us to relate to them , and in the case of actors, there is the additional factor of the roles they play, where we might see their characters in quite personal or emotional situations that we can recognise or empathise with. It is natural for that to happen, when we see someone exploring what may be a universal human experience.


This struck a chord with me, Suec. I know that is a factor in my attraction to JD. He presents some similarities to me in spirit. He also chooses roles and plays them in a very human way that I can identify with or in the worse case, empathize with. I tend to appreciate other actors for the same reasons.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Mon Jul 25, 2005 4:01 pm

suec wrote: Another possible reason is because they may be very good at what they do. When we see a gifted, talented person, it is natural to respect them, to admire the hard work they have put into something, or to admire the choices they make. When you have identified someone as worthy of respect, there is probably going to be that over spill, so that we might assume they are worthy of respect in other areas. So, for all of these reasons, we may be influenced by them.


Maybe that is one reason why people become so quick to enjoy a downfall when a celeb gets caught doing something wrong - finding out someone has feet of clay after all?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby suec » Tue Jul 26, 2005 1:25 pm

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
suec wrote: Another possible reason is because they may be very good at what they do. When we see a gifted, talented person, it is natural to respect them, to admire the hard work they have put into something, or to admire the choices they make. When you have identified someone as worthy of respect, there is probably going to be that over spill, so that we might assume they are worthy of respect in other areas. So, for all of these reasons, we may be influenced by them.


Maybe that is one reason why people become so quick to enjoy a downfall when a celeb gets caught doing something wrong - finding out someone has feet of clay after all?


Maybe. Maybe it is like voyeurism, in that you find out something about a person that you feel you really shouldn't know. I personally don't enjoy that sense of disillusionment that comes with learning about the clay feet. Perhaps it is a case of being happy that they are not perfect after all and that they are like the rest of us.
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."

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Unread postby Bix » Wed Jul 27, 2005 2:51 pm

An interesting item just popped up on the MSN homepage this afternoon. It's an article called "Seeing by Starlight: Celebrity Obsession" in the Women's Health :-? section.

Edit: My link didn't work, but you can go to www.msn.com and the article is on there for now (it will go away at some point later in the day) or copy and paste the following:
http://articles.health.msn.com/id/1001081225

Anyway, it makes some very interesting points about why we obsess about celebrities. I thought this was one we had not picked up on in our answers: "In a secular society, our need for ritualized idol worship can be displaced onto stars, speculates psychologist James Houran. . .Nonreligious people tend to be more interested in celebrity culture, he's found, and Houran speculates that, for them, celebrity fills some of the same roles the church fills for the believer, like the desire to admire the powerful and the drive to fit into a community of people with shared values..."
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Jul 27, 2005 3:40 pm

http://articles.health.msn.com/id/100108125

Bix, your link worked for me but here it is again above just in case. Intersting article! There was also an interesting piece on a tv show, I can't remember which one, about a study done with monkeys. There is an obvious ranking order in monkey society. The researchers took pictures of the "popular/higher ranking" monkeys, male and female, and showed them to other monkeys along with pictures of other less popular monkeys in the group. When a picture of one of the higher ranking monkeys was shown the test subject had a very different reaction that they did to a picture of a lower ranked monkey. Somehow the researchers linked this attraction not just to the powerful position the monkey held within the group but that he had the position because of his personality/looks.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Bix » Wed Jul 27, 2005 4:01 pm

Thanks for the link, DITHOT! I'll learn how to do it sooner or later. I remember reading or seeing something about the monkeys too. Maybe the need to obsess over celebrities is hotwired in and we just can't help ourselves!! LOL
Live! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! ~Auntie Mame


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