Friday, January 29, 2010

Oh, cry me a river. Better yet: DON'T.

Jessica Simpson farted during a business meeting.

Seriously. It was loud. You can read about it here on the Us Magazine website. It was one of their exclusive stories yesterday.

If I ever get famous, like the kind of famous where strangers would recognize me on the street . . . kill me. If I ever get famous enough that major entertainment rags care enough to pay attention to my gas passing habits, kill me quickly. I promise, you'd be putting me out of my misery because the idea of celebrity seems utterly painful.

I don't remember if I've ever blogged about this before but it bears repeating if I have: I can't think of anything I could do that would be bad enough to earn me instant fame. The whole idea makes me . . . I don't know: hive-ish. Is that the word for feeling like you're about to break out in hives? Even if you've never had hives? Because that's the word I'm looking for.

I've seen lots of celebrity up close and personal. They hang out around here. Cameron Diaz sat behind my RS pres at Avatar a couple of weeks ago. And our Sunbeams teacher finds herself next to Sandra Bullock on the treadmills at the gym on a regular basis. And I've bumped into a bunch of celebrities over the years. May I say that I have talked to only ONE out of the dozens? If they're just hanging out, I say leave them be.

Now, I'm not talking about the tabloid baiters like Paris and Lindsay or anyone from Jersey Shore. My sister-in-law has several celebrity clients (she's a children's photographer) and while they're pretty down-to-earth, they tell her stories of their not-so-grounded acquaintances who do things like call ahead to the paparazzi so they'll be snapped coming out of a restaurant, etc. Them? I don't feel bad for. That's a willing sacrifice of their privacy and if you open yourself up like that, you have to accept that you don't get to set the boundaries any more.

I'm talking about the famous faces you see and know well and yet never see in the magazines. You can live a low key life out of the spotlight.

When I started teaching 8th grade in 2002, most of my boys wanted to become famous in the NFL or NBA whether they had a lick of talent of not. That was the game plan. It's pretty typical for that age. The girls were all going to be singers or models. Not my choice for a secure career path, but at least they were planning to DO something to earn their fame. Then Paris Hilton exploded onto the scene a couple of years later and suddenly my students' long term career goals revolved around getting their fifteen minutes of fame, and they didn't bother figuring out how they were going to earn it. They just had to be drunk enough or scantily clad enough or engaged in something truly stupid enough with a camera rolling to make their dreams come true.

I preached the gospel of goal-setting and hard work; I taught them about things like "merit" and "acheivement." It was very Quixotic of me, I know. And yet, I had enough of a rapport with these kids that I think sometimes, maybe even a lot of the time, I got through.

And then...

This happened:

Crying Girl from American Idol.

She happened to be a student in my third period class. Until this all went down, I'd say she was as sensible as a thirteen-year-old girl ever can be, I guess. But after she bawled during Sanjaya's performance on live TV one  night and then got flown to NYC every few days after that for some kind of talk show or photo op...

It was insane. Our front office fielded mind numbing numbers of phone calls from media outlets wanting access or information. Reporters followed our students as they walked home from school, trying to get the dirt on Crying Girl. She, formerly a quiet girl who spent her morning giggling with her small circle of friends before the morning bell, a group largely ignored by the "popular" kids, suddenly had more friends than she ever knew about. EVERYONE was claiming they were tight with her, eager to bask in reflected (and highly questionable) glory.

There's so much more to the story (nothing scandalous, just a little sad) that I would tell you about but I feel as obligated to protect her confidentiality now as I did when she was my student. She was a nice girl. I hope she's gone back to her fundamental nature. But I'm a little doubtful since I saw her on the Idol auditions the other night. (Um, no . . . she's never really been a singer.)

Anyway, you can imagine how much my Chris-Farley-Van-Down-By-the-River motivational speeches got through after all that . . . um . . . nonsense.

But I'm still convinced fame stinks. And I'm holding fast to my New Year's Resolution, so don't doubt I'm walking the talk, people. We will continue to be way too boring as a family to EVER be on reality TV, thank you very much. And if I ever get famous, do me a favor when you see me, will you? Slap me. Just slap me. I'm sure I'll deserve it.

24 comments:

Jami said...

My near-brushes with fame have convinced me it is a curse. My observations of those with real fame have backed up those convictions.

I never saw "crying girl." I'm sorry anyway though. Things like that shouldn't happen to kids. Most just don't have the emotional maturity to weather pseudo-fame well.

MommyJ said...

I am always so disappointed when I really stop and think about how much our society feeds in all the celebrity crap. Take Tiger Woods for example. It's not like I like what the guy did. He was an idiot, plain and simple. When you live in the public eye, and you make millions off the public supporting you, I think you have some sort of an obligation to at the very least, be decent, especially in sports because so many kids consider you a role model, look up to you. BUT. No one is perfect. It infuriates me when the media doesn't allow those who have screwed up to suffer in silence. Why is it even news?!

I often think that tabloid media outlets must be completely without a soul, but then, they feed what much of america wants. And that's what makes me sad. I don't know though... hounding a thirteen year old who cried on TV? That just seems all kinds of wrong.

What you need to do is be the kind of famous where people recognize your name, but have no idea what your face looks like unless they see your picture on the inside of a book jacket...

Susan said...

Okay. You got it. If you ever become famous, I'll slap you. You can count on it.

Becca said...

So when your book comes out and everyone reads it, are you going to have a little MelanieJ avatar-thingie on the jacket, so nobody stops you in Target and shrieks, "It's YOU! I LOVE you! You are my favorite writer! You've changed my LIFE!"?

(Didn't you know this happens ALL THE TIME? Just take my word for it.)

Kristina P. said...

Maybe I need to reconsider my dream to be just like Lindsay Lohan.

Sarah M Eden said...

I can slap really hard. Just so you know.

Carolyn V. said...

Aw. Poor girl. It's amazing what a little piece of fame will do to someone. I don't think fame is worth going for. But if someone becomes famous, let's say, unintentionally, I just hope they have the wits to stay humble and down to earth. =)

Kazzy said...

Yeah, I think that craving for fame is part of the carnal man/woman that some cannot seem to rise above. Funny that the crying girl was in your class. It seemed so staged to me when the camera would pan over to her and she was crying. Sad.

Lara said...

I don't remember the crying girl.

Just as well.

I do know that I could never take fame. At least not of the celebrity and tabloid type. But then, it all pretty much is. Although the famous opera singers do tend to stay out of it for the most part. :)

L.T. Elliot said...

Amen.

And that's all I have to say about that!

DeNae said...

I'm famous enough. Seriously. Sometimes I have to slap MYSELF!

CaJoh said...

I always told myself that I wanted to be well known in my field. Now that I am in such a broad field at work, it is hard to imagine me being known at all. Even in the blogging world I am hoping that I can at least be recognized.

If I ever am famous, I don't know if I would want the tabloids making up weird untrue stories about me (my real life is interesting enough without having to make something up for readers).

Terresa said...

Yes, hive-ish is a perfect word for the sucky life "fame" would bring.

Although, JD Salinger figured out how to live in the world but not of it, right?

And absolutely no cameras catching me toot around grocery store aisles or back church pews, etc. No thanks! :)

Amber Lynae said...

Well It is official. You have crushed my desire to be famous. :) Actually I don't care much about fame. I have no desire to have my every action known to the world. Just give me enough money to travel and be with the ones I love and i would be happy.

That Girl said...

I had to google who the 'crying girl' was.

I don't think I'll ever be famous.

Good thing. I don't like getting slapped.

Kimberly said...

Well here's hoping your book isn't as fabulous as I've heard it is or else you might be doomed to a bit of fame yourself. =P

Really though, it all is a bit sad. How people who might have lead worthwhile lives throw that potential away chasing after fickle fame.

Amber said...

What do you think about becoming unintentionally famous? People like Stephanie Nielson and Courtney Kendrick (my old neighbors) (not that I like to name drop or anything) (because that would be completely snobby) (and I don't roll like that) (not completely, anyway)?

I was planning on a Heidi Montag celebrity life. Complete with 40 million plastic surgeries before I turn 30. I guess this is one of those scenarios where you shouldn't follow your dreams?

myimaginaryblog said...

I've often thought (in fact was just thinking this again yesterday) that I don't want celebrity because I'd really hate to see myself drawn in caricature. My appearance is too ripe for unflattering exaggeration.

But I would love to be known in a smaller way for creating something that's beautiful or moving.

Debbie said...

You and me both! Why anyone would want to be famous is beyond me. And poor crying girl. She is just a girl, for goodness sake. Her parents should have protected her.

Heather of the EO said...

I think most people have this deep desire to be KNOWN beyond their family and friends. especially when young. It feels good when that wears off, when the realization hits that it would be a huge pain in so many ways. When it just doesn't matter.

I just love how you tell stories. Just saying. I kinda want you to be famous (sorry) so I can say that I've loved you since... :)

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I should have guessed you were her teacher. I wonder which one of your protoges will show up on the news next? (Maybe I'll have to start watching the bachelor again to find out! *wink*)

P.s. as a school teacher, a seminary teacher, YW leader, and now a mother, I've mastered the art of giving REALLY good lectures and lessons that no one listens to or follows. It bites.

TheOneTrueSue said...

I can't imagine dealing with the criticism celebrities (and authors for that matter) get. It would turn me inside out.

wendy said...

Interesting that you know/taught Crying girl (as we still call her)
Media takes a situation and can totally "rip you a new one" so to speak.

I am glad I am not famous.....
cause I've been know to fart at the store and I don't want anyone knowing that ---EXCEPT ALL MY BLOGGER FRIENDS (tee,hee)

ceebee said...

So the heck what that she farted. Farting is a normal function of life. I can't understand for the life of me as to why people demonize normal body functions.

As for her mother, her mother seriously needs to lighten up. If the businessmen/manufacturer doesn't want to manufacture Jessica's pants designs just because she farted, well then obviously they all have some mental/psychological issues that they need to deal with.

There are more important things that should be criticized instead of demonizing a normal function. No wonder why society in this day and age is totally screwed up.