A quote from one of my favorite movies, and books, Fight Club, has recently come back to mind.
“How Tyler saw it was that getting God's attention for being bad was better than getting no attention at all. Maybe because God's hate is better than His indifference. If you could be either God's worst enemy or nothing, which would you choose? We are God's middle children, according to Tyler Durden, with no special place in history and no special attention. Unless we get God's attention, we have no hope of damnation or redemption. Which is worse, hell or nothing? Only if we're caught and punished can we be saved.”
It’s a thought-provoking quote, and more to the point, it provoked thought in me about the way in which certain “celebrities” seem to conduct themselves these days. Read the quote and think of everyone as God, and these “celebrities” being Tyler Durden. Meaning, in the eyes of a “celebrity,” whose lifeblood is everyone’s attention, is it not better to garner everyone’s hatred and dislike than to garner everyone’s indifference? If we are indifferent to a celebrity, they will fade away into the ether. If we loathe them, and openly display our disdain, they still have their place at the table. They have, at the very least, not been forgotten.
Now, I don’t want to call these specific “celebrities” out by name. That would only feed into what they want. (I’m probably already giving them what them want, just by making you think about them). We all know who they are, these “celebrities” who make us wonder how they became famous in the first place. Every so often they do something inane and light up the internet for a week. We decry their behavior and lament the fact that we have to endure them, but we are the very thing keeping them in existence. We are playing the role of God in this charade, and we really need to stop.
I watched the 40th anniversary special of Saturday Night Live over the weekend, and something struck me as quite depressing. There were four musical acts chosen to perform for what was created to be a monumental television event. (That’s if I haven’t forgotten someone). Two were chosen because of how truly great their careers have been (Paul McCartney and Paul Simon). Additions obviously intended to add to the grandeur of the event. Yet, the two other acts were, relatively speaking, new, and I must say, nothing special. For a show that was honoring the very best of forty years of entertainment, it was bizarre to see two acts that I doubt will stand the test of time. (One of the acts didn’t even perform an original song). I know why modern musicians were chosen for an event geared to celebrate history. The show still needs its ratings, and so it has to at least try to interest all demographics, but the artists that were chosen were more famous for their “antics” than their art. I found it to be sad, and it’s our fault.
When these modern “celebrities” see the shine on their coats starting to fade, they simply make fools of themselves by doing the most outlandish thing they can think of. We all get together and talk, tweet, post and blog about it, (I’m guilty as well) and they regain their place among the stars. Albeit as the villain in the movie of life, but it’s still a prominent role. They play us perfectly, and we allow it to happen. We’ve become so good at giving them what they want, that they’ve managed to take a seat at the grandest of tables. Think about that: during a broadcast where the likes of some of the best entertainers of the last forty years were being celebrated, the imposter “celebrities” of the modern world were standing shoulder to shoulder with the greats. If that’s not tragedy, than I don’t know what is. Going back to the quote, we truly have chosen hate over indifference. That’s sad.
So, let’s help each other out. I’m going to start today. Let’s not talk about these fools anymore. Let’s stop tweeting, hash-tagging, posting, blogging, clicking, reading, listening, and giving our attention to these people and their acts of idiocy. Let’s put these misbehaving children in a time-out. I’m tired of them, and it seems that everyone else is too. The only way to rid ourselves of their noise is to silence it.