Monday, January 28, 2008

"A person is smart...

...People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals, and you know it."

One of the most interesting things that happened when I took my trip to India earlier this month had nothing to do with Indian culture or food or sightseeing or whatever. It was the discussion between a father and his 14- and 16-year-old sons about life, and about people, and about how things work.

In the discussion, the father busted out the above quote from Agent K in "Men In Black." Which, (a) way to remember a quote like that, and (b) nice going on finding the appropriate pop culture reference in this discussion with your kids. It was right on, and the kids new exactly what he meant.

Anyway, I was reminded of the above quote when I read this bit of commentary this morning. Jon Friedman's thesis is that Britney Spears is heading for a similar destiny as Princess Diana (only without the class or philanthropy) -- a paparazzi-based crisis, fueled by "our" need to know every salacious and lascivious detail of The Celebrity Life. And my response was, "As long as people will buy that crap in the checkout line, the paparazzi will go after those pictures, and people's lives (their spiritual lives and future enjoyment AND their physical, living, breathing lives) will be in danger."

It also got me thinking about one of The Cool Kids I mentioned in a post last week. Julia Allison is an editor-at-large for Star Magazine, and, near as I can decode, her job is to appear on entertainment news shows and talk about The Celebrity Life.

If you click over to her blog, you can see that she writes a lot about her personal life (she recently broke up with internet wunderkind Jakob Lodwick and she's apparently also a dating columnist for Time Out New York) as well as her professional life. But the stuff on her professional life is mostly "Here's a picture of me at CNN Headline News for Showbiz Tonight!" Or "Here's a picture of me on my way to the FOX News studios." Or "Here's a picture of me getting my makeup done. And here's what I wore..."

Which made me think she was a vapid, self-obsessed moron.


Much like America's car-wreck obsession with Britney, I can't quit visiting Julia Allison's site. She posts like 30 times a day, which, come on, but still. The real reason I keep going back is that every once in a while, this little glimmer of a better self pops through as she discloses doubt about her role in the Celebrity machine, disbelief about how self-centered her blog could appear, etc. She's actually a great writer, and I hope that she's ultimately able to find an expression of herself and her work that allows her to become who she really is.

Britney, too.

I mean, all of us, really. Isn't that what life is about? Finding out who you really are and then creating a way to be that person?

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