Why have we become so desperate to be noticed?
I have been a MySpace user for just over a year and have seen my share of actor/band accounts, most of them with comments most likely contrived from a p.r. person who “reflects the comments” of the person they represent while actually misrepresenting them by not actually being that person. However, a decent percentage of the 200 million users still think that top musicians actually stay up late at night and respond personally to comments.
One Hollyweird star that actually does take some time with her page is Jenna Fischer, ‘Pam’ of The Office fame, actually noted recently by a major entertainment magazine as having one of the best blogs out there. I’ve read her stuff and while it’s interesting, it’s too intermittent to be ground-breaking. However, the reason why it’s interesting? It’s actually her, taking five minutes to give a few updates every now and then about what it’s like to be her. Refreshing? Yes. In-depth? Ehhhh, but considering how guarded celebrities are, we’ll take anything at this point not filtered and processed through a publicist.
However, what really, really gets me is the comments people post on her page. It’s almost sad how desperate we are as a society. While it’s admirable to be a fan, I think people should be able to take a step back if they find themselves crossing the line. The line, to me, is thinking that the person on the other end actually cares what you think. There are times I actually question whether fans can actually separate out the actor from the person they portray.
A little mean-spirited? Perhaps. But c’mon people: while Jenna and others might be nice in “real life,” do you think they really care about the little nuances of your life and how much of a fan you are, especially when it’s the same regurgatated b.s. over and over and over again? Do you think asking them questions or requesting they check out your band will make them care more or actually intrigue them at all? One of my favorites, though, is telling the star, “Hey, tell Co-Star X that he’s hilarious and that someone from Jonesport, Minnesota loves him!”? I mean, what the f**k? One poster even told Jenna how she rearranged her schedule so she could watch The Office on Thursdays and shushed her boyfriend at the movies during a trailer Jenna was in. Ok…that’s not endearing, that’s just psychotic.
As I perused tonight to get my bi-weekly confusion quotient filled, it hit me that a society, this is the point we’ve come to: we are desperate to be noticed by anyone, preferably someone that others deem socially important. The boss says, “Atta boy/girl!” Big deal. Who’s he? But if that guy from ER happened to have a MySpace page and said, “Thanks for the comment,” the world would start spinning the other way. Why is this? I can’t figure it out. Real people don’t count. Fake people, played by real people, are where it’s at. (Musicians count as fake people. If you don’t think so, watch VH1 reality shows for a few hours and then get back to me.)
Reality TV has elevated this hero worship to an entirely new level. Just for being yourself, you can get on TV. With no shortage of shows to appear on, it’s easier than ever to get your 15 minutes of fame…unless you get kicked off the show. Psuedo-celebs are being created network season-by-network season and creating even more people that the unspotlighted of our country want to reach out to. I vividly remember my brush with Tek from MTV’s The Real World in 2000 while on Spring Break in Cancun. While walking into Fat Tuesdays, I recognized this blonde-haired black man riding piggyback on another guy’s back. I instinctively yelled out, “Tek! Tek Money!” to which he turned and looked at me. I had nothing to say and walked inside the club. I guess I blew my big chance, eh?
Bloggers/podcasters like myself are no different. We want to get noticed, but in a different way. I enjoy writing and the podcasting thing has always intrigued me. While the thought of someone influential reading or listening to me is a hook I’m fully baited on, it’s not the primary reason I do it. My life will be just fine if I keep doing my thing and only a small handful check me out. However, I fear that others in the business and in life are just empty and will feel meaningless if they aren’t recognized for their efforts by someone drawing a fat paycheck.
If I had to send a message to the desperate posters, the bands who continually phish on others sites thinking that’s how they’re getting the big break or those that are screaming for attention, I give this advice: do it the way your idols did – through hard work, dedication and God willing, a lil’ bit of luck. If you want to brush elbows with the rich and famous, you’re not gonna get there via a social network. You might not ever get there and you know what? That’s ok! You’d be surprised how often one of the major stars probably would like to be like you for a day: normal. Not everyone was meant to dance in the main ballroom. Like it or not, we are a class society in every regard. While you have the right to become an actor, you don’t have the right to actually speak to them. Sobering, but true.
I really wanted to pose this question of this phenomenon to Jenna via a private message, but she shut this option off because she got so inundated with comments, she couldn’t respond.