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Look at MEEEEEEEEE! October 22, 2012

Posted by J. in FYI.
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I kinda want to be famous.

I’ll admit that to you because I know you won’t judge me for it.

As it is, I have a bit of a Big Fish-Small Pond thing going on. I live in a small town and have lived in the same house I grew up in for most of my life. When that happens, folks get to know who you are. There’s a great feeling of familiarity. It’s not the same as celebrity, but there is something very cool about walking into the town hall, or the post office, or the library and having everyone there know who you are and what you’re there for.

I get a bit of that same feeling of familiarity but in more of a “you know me but I don’t know you” kind of way at church. Because I cantor, mine is a fairly visible ministry, and it happens quite a lot that people will say “hi” to me and I don’t know who they are, exactly. Usually I recognize them, but on occasion I’ll have strangers come up to me and tell me they enjoyed my singing and I don’t know who they are at all.

I imagine celebrity is like that but on a far grander scale. And I can see why it’s alluring.

It’s flattering to have people come up because they know you for something and tell you, usually, how much they enjoy what you do. Though I suppose there are those who go up and say just what they don’t like, and that must suck. I figure I’m due for that to happen any day now.

I don’t know so much about being famous for the sheer sake of being famous, though. I mean, beyond being recognized, what is the attraction of fame for fame’s sake? What’s in that sort of attention? Or worse yet, being infamous. I think of the Jersey Shore fucktards and wonder why on earth you would want to be recognized for the reasons that they are. They don’t do anything, and are known for being stupid, shallow, self-obsessed, and ignorant. See also, The Kardashians.

They’ve sought fame and achieved it without actual achievement, and I can’t imagine either being interested in these people for being uninteresting, or for the celebrities themselves wanting that fame without cause.

I wouldn’t mind being famous, but I’d like it to be because I did something notable. If someday my name is known because I’ve contributed to the knitting world in some significant way, that would be the bomb, even if I’m only known at Rhinebeck or the local yarn shop. I wouldn’t mind being known as one one of the names that blazed a new trail in the erotica emergence of the 2010’s, even if I’m known by my pseudonym. Would I like to be the next Bloggess? Hell yeah, I would.

I don’t think I’m in any danger. I have enough trouble working social media to my advantage well enough to keep a few extra bucks in my Paypal account, so I don’t imagine the Fame Machine is going to spin wildly out of control any time soon. I’m so very uncomfortable with the whole social media and self-promotion thing that I really can’t even wrap my head around doing it just to become known. It’s crazy.

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I Reject Your Reality and Substitute My Own October 15, 2012

Posted by J. in FYI, Genius.
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I remember when the first season of Survivor aired. It was one of the coolest things I’d seen on TV. Real people competing in harsh conditions for a huge prize was fascinating as a premise, and I tuned in personally because one of the girls on the show had been a co-worker of mine only a few weeks earlier and I wanted to cheer Jenna on and see how she did.

I liked how back in the early days of reality TV, it was mostly anthropological. They put the “cast” in a situation and let it unfold. Look at those folks up there. They looked like real people because they were real people. Yeah, it was edited, but remember early on? It was much more raw in those days. I stopped watching the show part way through the second season when I realized they were just copying the basic formula as the first show and manipulating the “cast” into situations that were remarkably similar to the previous season. You could see the thought process behind it. “Okay, we need this type of character and this type of character…” If you look at the cast photos from later seasons, you can see people chosen to fit a script. There’s nothing real about them at all.

On the whole, I can honestly say I’m not even equipped to talk about reality TV because I can’t make myself sit through an episode of anything unscripted. I see so many shows full of nothing but human beings behaving badly. I see greed, ambition, vanity, arrogance, rudeness, self-righteousness, pride, and anger. I see people becoming famous for nothing at all save behaving badly. Or stupidly. Or ignorantly.

I understand the obsession with reality TV. I get the voyeuristic aspect of it. What I don’t understand is why we spend hours watching people behave badly? Would we not tune in to see people behaving nicely? Would we watch a show about the brightest people in the world doing intelligent things? Would we tune in to see people doing well and being kind? Even shows like American Idol and the like are punctuated by episodes where we can watch people perform and fail dismally. We dissect every mishap and make fun of every failing that happens on camera.

Why?

I have no idea. I suspect part of it is our need to feel superior to someone. Life can be a chore some days, and seeing someone else fail makes us feel like less of a failure, perhaps. We watch Real Housewives behaving like painted baboons and we feel better about ourselves. We see the vapid and shallow Kardashians and feel better about ourselves. We watch that little monster Honey Boo Boo and feel better about ourselves.

Beyond that, I just don’t know. On the whole I prefer fiction. I’d rather watch inventive stories and see programs where characters develop and change and grow, rather than a few seasons of real people acting like assholes until the next show and the next crop of assholes comes around as the “next big thing in reality TV.”

Personally, I’ll just put on reruns of Family Guy and knit until my fingers bleed.