Saturday, May 14, 2011

On Being Famous

I am a little bit sad, because I have to work on this glorious Saturday, and can't spend the day with T. and Miss M. They just left the house for an adventure with a friend. I am going to meet up with them later, but I am still sorry to be missing out on the intervening hours. Since I don't have to go to work for a little while, though, I'm going to use the quiet time to do some things around the house that I've been blatantly ignoring for far too long (like, folding laundry, and packing away baby clothes that no longer fit. . .oh, and blogging!).

Cycle-wise, things appear to be craptastic once again. I have to say, even though I knew it probably wouldn't be different, I was oh-so-hopeful that two years down the road, things had somehow improved with my body. I'm on CD16, and still no sign of ovulation. I would like to think that either the fertility monitor isn't working, or the expired test sticks I'm using aren't picking up on it. . .but all of the other signs of ovulation are clearly missing, as well. One of the OTHER things I have to do while I have a few minutes of quiet time today is research doctors. I still haven't found a new OB here, and that is high on my list of priorities. I suspect we will are going to need a little help again this time around.

And now that we've dispensed with the preliminaries, it's time for the top billing. . .

My job is weird, in that I often get to meet very well known and successful people. Sometimes they are industry leaders, sometimes politicians, sometimes Hollywood types. This week, I met three people that easily qualify as famous. One was a well known government figure, and two were Hollywood types. I was struck, as I often am, by how vastly different they were.

The government figure, who I'll call Doug, was kind and decent and smart and funny. He engaged with everyone in the room. He was patient, even when the situation was trying. He was thoughtful. He treated everyone as his equal, even when they clearly were not. He made eye contact. He is a very, very successful and very, very powerful man, but he was comfortable in his own skin, and it showed. He didn't rub your face in who he was, but rather related to you as a human being. I heart him.

The Hollywood stars, who I will call Arse and Arsier (you can see where this is going), were the inverse. They were, the pair of them, both very, very successful in their respective fields. But they were not thoughtful or kind or even comfortable in their skins. They were dismissive, looked through people, were unwilling to engage, and frankly, were downright rude. They were, so to speak, on MY playing field, there to work with my colleagues and I, but they treated me as though I were somehow invading THEIR world, as though I were imposing upon them. (I was simply doing my job, by the way--not looking for a photo or an autograph or anything like that.) I came home from work completely dispirited. It's been a long time since I've felt so invisible. They are meaningless to me, but it was still shocking to see that they clearly thought they were somehow beyond basic human decency, as though common courtesy simply wasn't required of someone famous.

I had a conversation with a friend of mine after the fact, and she has a theory that is a good one, I think. She said that Hollywood fame is hard to achieve, and even harder to maintain, so that when people DO get there, it's almost as though they behave like jerks to show how different they are from people who aren't famous. As though, breathing the rarified air of fame and fortune truly makes they a different animal altogether, beyond the social niceties of the rest of humanity. And, they are incredibly insecure, because it could all evaporate in an instant, so they are paranoid about how they will be perceived, which causes them to be intemperate over the most minor things, and utterly unable to engage, lest they manage to say or do something that is less than uber-cool. As far as I can tell, being famous has never done anything to improve a person's character.

Arguably, Arse and Arsier have had so much professional success, they should almost be beyond such behavior (it's not like anyone doubts their ability, at this point), but I could also clearly see that my friend was right. Both of them seemed insecure to me, during my discussions with them. Which struck me as odd. In the same situation, I would have been comfortable and secure and not thought twice about engaging with me. I would have seen it as simply part of what I was there to do, had we exchanged places. Instead, they hemmed and hawed and were ultimately rude to me, each in their own way. But they were rude because inherently, they were afraid to engage with me, and rudeness was their way of avoiding the situation altogether.

When you achieve a really high level of fame, there must be so many people who want a piece of you that you must end up getting burned over and over again. It's almost inevitable. You trust someone just a little bit, they take what they want, they cash in on you. I can see that, and I can see how much that must suck. By contrast, it's struck me that people like Doug are generally more secure in their success, because they are capable of something that has a bit more substance. They know they have a skill, and if their current job doesn't work out, there are loads more opportunities available for them, because they are smart and successful and accomplished. If you are a successful political figure, you can go on to become all sorts of other things. Hollywood success is more of a one trick pony. If movies, tv or theater don't work out for you, you are basically washed up. There is a confidence and stability in a Doug that isn't there in an Arse. It makes me really prefer working with the Dougs of this world.

As for Arse and Arsier. . .I feel a little sorry for them, but the pitfalls of fame don't excuse their behavior. Everyone gets taken advantage of in life, and if more is asked of them because they are successful Hollywood stars, perhaps more is expected of them given what they've been given. I think you can be careful of being burned, and still be kind. You can watch your own back, and still give back.

It hasn't changed what I think of them in their professional capacity, I suppose, because I've never really been starstruck. I see famous people as simply people. I still think Arse and Arsier are accomplished. I still think they produce good work. But, my interaction with them this week does change how I feel about spending money on projects that I know are theirs. I know that my entertainment dollar won't go to their projects from here forward. I don't patronize the restaurant down the street where the waiters are rude to me, even though the food is good and the atmosphere is great. I don't buy things from shops with rude shopkeepers, no matter how cool the shop may be. Why would I go to a movie when the director has treated me poorly in person? They may be talented, but there's a lot of talent out there, and since I don't have time to see every movie or television show out there, anyway, it's just as easy to choose one that involves people who haven't treated me as though I were something less than gum on the bottom of their shoes.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Very interesting. I hope that my favorite actors and actresses don't act that way. I'm kind of partial to Colin Firth and Tom Welling. It's a shame really that famous people can be that way. I always think people should be working to better their character, not get worse.