Celebrities, Who Cares?
I’ve had it with “them,” and I’ve especially had it with the pundits who report on their every move while practically gushing all over them. And what about the suckers who swallow all the pap as it’s fed to them whilst clamoring for more? I think of them this way: if there were no “users” there would be no “suppliers” and “pushers.”
For all you “users,” why do you do it? Is your own life not interesting enough that you must suck the marrow from someone else’s? Are you not ashamed? I hate to use this cliché, but get your own life.
Every time I see footage of paparazzi clambering bodily all over each other while snapping their shutters at sports and movie stars, or at “stars of the moment,” I feel disgust; not only for the photographers, but also for the people who pay to see their rubbish; and you know who you are.
For consumers, the “users” of this nonsense, you suffer from a bad habit, like looking at pornography or smoking; so stop it; you should stop buying it; stop looking at it, and you should stop turning the channel to find it.
When I was 14 or 15, my father and I were playing a late afternoon round of golf at a public links course in Central Michigan. Some country music star, whose name I am no longer sure of (maybe it was Earl Scruggs?), was out by himself on the course with us. During our game, this famous performer was on a tee box only a rock’s throw away. My father discretely pointed him out to me with a slight nod of his head and a whisper. My natural kid’s reaction was to stare and remark aloud, but my father quickly shushed me and instructed me adamantly NOT to stare. It wasn’t polite and bordered on being disrespectful he told me. My dad realized that the man probably didn’t want to be disturbed and I learned that day to respect that wish for everyone, even and especially for celebrities. It might be a very old-fashioned and American Midwest attitude, but it made sense to me then as a kid and continues to make sense to me even more today.
I suppose if we hadn’t been on the golf course and my dad saw Mr. Scruggs in passing he might have politely said hello to him. But my midwestern father would never force himself on anyone, and why would he? How many stories have you heard of celebrities being interrupted for an autograph, or a photograph, during a meal in a restaurant, or while trying to enjoy the view on a beach? I don’t buy the argument that a star or a public figure sacrifices their personal life once they “make it.” That is pure rationalization; it’s nothing more than justification for bad behavior.
Late in 1975 my parents came to the Tri-City Airport at Midland Michigan to pick me up after I had just earned my Eagle-Globe-and-Anchor with the Marines. My mom told me that Jim Stafford, a successful pop singer at the time, was waiting for his flight out of town. In spite of myself I thought I’d go see, kind of like a covert recon mission. Sure enough, he sat alone in a large waiting room; it was just him in a sea of rows of seats. I could have gone up to him and announced myself as a fan, but I couldn’t get myself to do it. He seemed relaxed and I just did not want to bother him; it just didn’t seem right. He saw me in my green Marine class-A’s and nodded at me smiling. Feeling foolish, I grinned back, gave him a wave and a thumbs up, spun around and left him alone. That was the only time I’ve ever done anything like it, and it confirmed for me the rightness of leaving so-called famous people alone.
I once served in the Air Force with the son of a famous major league baseball pitcher, Sal Maglie. Joe Maglie, Sal’s adopted son, told me that he had met or been around pretty much every major leaguer of note from before the 70s. I asked him what they were like. I named one huge player after another, seeking to know if he had met them—Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Al Kaline, and on and on. Yep, he’d met them all; either in locker rooms while his dad was coaching and managing or at dozens of reunions. I asked him what they were like. His answer was intriguing.
“Man, let me tell you something. For the most part, those guys are boring. All they know is baseball, so it’s all they talk about. They are not interesting to talk to UNLESS you want to talk about baseball. They aren’t even all that intelligent. What do you expect? For the most part, they’ve limited themselves to baseball their whole life. Phil, I find people like you a hell of a lot more interesting than most any big league baseball player. You’ve lived all over the world and you’ve done things the average major leaguer cannot even conceive of. They are nothing special man. They’re just ball players.”
Joe was right. We give these people way more attention than they deserve, and presumably more than they want. When is society going to get a collective conscience and leave these people and their immediate families alone?
If you must, go watch their movies, or watch them play their games; but for heaven’s sake, find a new hobby or pastime. As Joe said, “these people are nothing special,” no more so than any human being.
Common courtesy and standards of decency demand that we leave them alone. Can you find it within yourself to grasp that notion? They are just people like you and me. Get it?