Tuesday, January 13, 2009

15 minutes of fame

Andy Warhol said that everybody will get their 15 minutes of fame. And this was WAY before reality shows. Back when he said these famous words the closest that most people ever got to that goal was to audition for a game show, probably one of those great quiz shows from the 50's and 60's. Boy how things change, and now Warhol seems as farsighted as Nostradamus.

The popular wisdom is that the reality show got it's start with Survivor, in 2000, but it all depends on where you want to go for the beginning of the reality show. I am not going to do a ton of research here to be the defining authority in the subject, but I do know that there were many shows in Europe that were competitions between everyday people in unusual settings, and perhaps even Japan was at the very head of the curve by putting entire office groups at odd in insane physical competitions. What really intrigues me about this subject is just what lengths people will go to to try and get famous. But I always wonder, is there a line? Is there something so stupid and disgusting or dangerous that some idiot won't sign up and send in a audition tape, or stand in line for hours in the beating desert sun, or the torrential rain or freezing cold?

Consider first the gameshows, who remembers Let's Make a Deal? Good ol' Monty Hall and the ever elusive airmail stamp. People put on stupid costumes and yelled like fools and were all ready to trade their first born child for the can of creamed corn that might be behind door number 1. Don't misunderstand me, I was 8 years old and it was the most entertaining thing to watch at 10 am on a snowday stuck home from school. It stuck with me. I will never forget the crazy people dressed in Halloween costumes and digging in their pockets and purses looking for a pair of tweezers to trade Monty for a crisp $100 bill. Jump ahead a few decades.

Millions of people line up for a place on any show you can imagine, for prizes ranging from A million dollars, to a new t-shirt. The biggest prize out there is debatable, and it is a toss up between The possible music career from American Idol or Nashville Star, or the business career possibilities from The Apprentice. But What about the Million Dollar prize for winning Survivor? The very first winner has done jail time because he failed to pay the taxes due on his winnings. Duh!! They even tell you in the paperwork that you sign to get the prize that you are responsible for the taxes. What is the draw of Big Brother? Why do you want to live in a house with a bunch of strangers, schemeing and conniving a way to get them all kicked out, until your the only idiot left. Cameras following you wherever you go, and watching your every move whether you do something nice or something nasty. For prize money, and maybe you turn out to be mildly entertaining and somebody offers you something more. Or maybe you go on to more reality shows. You gain fans and ( what is the opposite of fans? Haters, anti-fans? I'm gonna go with haters.) Haters and before you know it the paparazzi are chasing you around and looking for any opportunity to make you look stupid. The haters win!! They always tear it down. even the up and coming favorite ends up with a whole crop of haters after while. Thruthfully I would be willing to bet that for every supportive fan there are 4 haters out there. They may not always be as vocal, but they are usually the majority. Then there are the other 5 million who are totally indifferent, but we don't bother with them. that brings us to the big one...

American Idol, tonight is the premier of the 8th season of the show and once again the craziness starts. Stupid costumes, lousy singers who whole heartedly believe that they are gods gift to vocals. The people who put all of their hopes and dreams into their auditions and then when they are rejected storm out the door grumbling about what a joke the show is and how they will make it no matter what. If the show is such a joke, why did you audition in the first place? I have to admit that I really enjoy the show, but over the years there have been some odd people make it for a long way into the competition. Ya know why? It's this odd little hater website called "vote for the worst". You have to wonder which of those rejected auditioners actually built the site, because over the years it have really begun to guide the early part of the competetion. To me there are a few true Idols who have come out of this show. Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Katherine Mcphee. Then there are the mid-packers who have made great careers such as Kelly Pickler, Bucky Covington, Tamyra Gray, and Jennifer Hudson. Proving that winning isn't always the first place finish. The Sanjayas, and Scott Savol's of the world will fall away and the cream will rise to the surface. But it take 10's of millions people to audition to find those few nuggets of talent that may end up at the top of the heap. And the producers put the worst of the worst on the screen. America gets to watch as people get their 15 minutes of fame and then get shot down like a tin duck in a shooting gallery. Simon, with his razor sharp comments, Randy, laughing behind his paper, and Paula, smiling in that treakely way of hers, trying to tell them nicely that they suck more than a Dyson Vacuum. Now there is a new judge, Kara DiaGuardi ( not sure I spelled it right, still new to me!) But she seems to be a little bit of all of them rolled into one. She has the experience of the singer and performer that paula and randy have, she has the producing experience of Simon and Randy, she has the sharp tongue of Simon and the humor of Randy and the niceness of Paula. Since this was only the first show it will take some time to learn her true personality. But anyway....

So then there are the odd shows, like The Bachelor, one single guy and a dozen or so women trying to win his attentions. The guy is the prize? Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire? Well, who doesn't? D'oh! Rock of love? You get to be the ultimate groupy and bang your favorite washed up rock star? Skanks lined up around the block! Average Joe? One hot babe and a dozen "normal" guys. She is misled to get there in the first place then the producers toss in a half dozen male models to make things "Interesting". And people watched this! ( I watched This! I watched this... LOL ) You know what the hot babe does, she picks the model. But the truth is that the genetic math rarely works, it is very unusual for 2 hot people to make a good looking kid. Because the good looking people are both recessive genes and when they get together they cancell each other out and the dominant uglies come to the surface. so when you think about it, it's like nature's little joke on hot couples, they end with homely kids to teach them some humility. If you really want good looking kids you need to mix the couples better. Woman need to be taught to look for the homely guys and the good looking guys need to be taught to look for the scary broads and that way the best will continue to thrive!! But how did I end up talking genetics here? Back to the 15 minutes....

So there are TV shows for the 15 minutes, but what else is there? YOU TUBE!!! yes I have my Youtube page and I am even in it, but I also have other stuff that I have put together on my own. What else? Infamy, become a killer!! Or worse a BLOGGER!!! yes indeed there are those who are famous because they write about stupid crap like 15 minutes of fame and idiot politicians. Hi! That's me I am not famous and I don't really want fame, just some discussion. I never expect to change peoples minds or to make a true differenc in the world, but I want to say what I think and even if nobody else ever reads it, I know that it's out there if somebody does want to read it. Then there are those people who are famous for being famous, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, and a few others. They do nothing to add to the human experience good or bad, yet the world is so celebrity obsessed that they bestow the blessing ( curse?) of celebrity on someone simply because they have become famous for being famous. Not even sure how it really works, but it happens.

There will always be those who wish to be famous, who live their life wanting the adoration of the masses and they will do anything they can to get it. William Hung, the most famous of the worst auditions ever. He went on a tour and people wanted his autograph. He could barely speak the language and he sure couldn't sing or dance. Yet he was famous for exactly that! Wow, scary what passes for celebrity!

Here's to you and to me and our 15 minutes of fame. I'm doing exactly what I want to do and if it brings me the 15 minutes, great, but if it doesn't, so be it, I would rather have the can of creamed corn behind door number 1 anyway!

1 comment:

Anal Slut said...

I don't care about fame either. I think I'd rather not want the attention. But I'd like the opportunities for making money it brings.

Your essay reminds me of another saying, "Leave your mark on the world." Some don't care what kind of mark they leave; being remembered is more important than the change they actually caused to happen.