Thursday, June 30, 2011

Celebrities: Do We Really Have a Right to Know Everything About Them?

My girlfriend, Poncho Girl, works for a non-profit organization and over the years has met some interesting public figures. Yesterday was no exception.

Yesterday, she met Aaron Eckhart, an actor I adore. He is a talented actor with an impressive body of work, but really hooked me in his portrayal of Nick Naylor in Thank You for Smoking.

Prior to his visit, we googled him. I have to admit, other than finding him attractive and admiring his acting abilities, I didn't know much about him. I thought he was married with child, but found nothing to support my belief (I'd make a very poor celebrity gossip writer). However, in my search, I learned his date of birth, height, college he attended and how he was previously engaged.

This had me thinking....with all the celebrity/public figure news, do we have the right to know why someone's marriage failed? Do I care that some politician was stupid enough to send naked pictures of himself via twitter. No. Wait, I do if he did this on work time with taxpayer dollars. However, my point is this: Why do people care so much about the private lives of a public figure? Do we feel entitled because our movie ticket dollars help fund their career? I'm not sure.

If we use this logic, would we want our corporate employer to know we were having marital problems, fertility issues or that our teenage kids push us over the edge most days.... I doubt it.

So...this has me wondering why most people are interested in the private lives of public figures. My feeling is to let them share what they want and let them have a life that is not always under the microscope.

About my friend meeting Aaron Eckhart....well, I told her that I believed she was making the whole story up and I didn't believe her (I should know by now not to say this to her) and she told Mr. Eckhart that her friend, LMB, did not believe he was visiting her office and could she take his picture as proof. Apparently he laughed and posed with her.


BeckEye said...

I think people are so interested in celebrities for one of two (or both) reasons:

1. We always think the grass is greener over there in celeb-world. They have tons of money and adoring fans, so their lives must be great, right? We want to live vicariously through them. We want them to be our inspirations to reach our own greatness.

2. We are insanely jealous that anyone gets to make shitloads of money for doing something that they love, so we want to dig up dirt on these "perfect" people to make us feel better about our own lives.

Yes, these feelings can coexist. In general, people love to put celebrities up on pedestals and they also love to tear them down. It's weird but kind of normal.

Brian Miller said...

i like beckeyes thoughts...this year i have met several celebrities and what impressedme the most is that a few were real people, down to earth...i had a drink with asif mandvi and we had a great convo...we put people on pedestals and are surprised when they fall...go figure...

Lady Jewels Diva® said...

On one hand, they put themselves in a very public job and of course there will always be gossip shows and magazines trying to fill their segments.

On the other, just because you are in the public eye all the time does not mean you have to spill your guts because you think someone somewhere may take inspiration from it.

I get bored with celebs telling every little bit of their lives, and while I like shows like ET and TMZ, I don't read celeb biographies because I don't care for their sob stories.

Little Ms Blogger said...

BeckEye - I definitely follow your logic and can now see why people can be obsessed with personal lives of public figures.

Brian - my friend did mention how down to earth Aaron Eckhart was and pleasantly surprised. Isn't it surprising that we naturally assume the worst of a public person and shocked when down-to-earth.

Lady Jewels - You're right, they don't have to spill their guts, but sometimes others over share for them. Personally, I think people would turn off the cameras when around me or the cameramen might fall asleep during filming. Life pretty normal.

J.J. in L.A. said...

I've met my share of celebrities (in the 60's-70's) having been a poster girl for the March of Dimes. These days, I couldn't care less about the lives of celebrities. Probably because I saw how people reacted to them when I was around them.

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