I might hit on some tender points with this post, so readers beware.
I see it all the time on the internet. (It’s probably on television too, but I very rarely turn mine on.) Some celebrity is complaining about flash mobs of fans out in public or seeing his/her picture printed in some tabloid. Some celebrity is grumbling that “yet again” he/she was disturbed in public and asked for an autograph. They complain about the life of “the rich and famous.” I want to ask them, “Do you not understand that your fans are who make you famous?” If people weren’t interested in them, celebrities would not be celebrities!
Before I get too far into this post, let me make a few things clear. Just because one is a celebrity does not mean he/she has given up all rights to privacy. I believe our favorite celebrities should be able to go enjoy a nice meal without being asked to sign autographs. They have a right to be less than perfect, making that late night run to the grocery store without a stitch of makeup on for a pint of Ben and Jerry’s like the rest of us. Their children deserve the right to go to the beach or park or theme park and have a great day with their parents without people barraging them with requests for attention all day. They have the right to keep their personal problems out of the media’s light. Summing up, I get that celebrities are people too.
But didn’t they ask for fame? If you sign on to do a major movie, do you not realize that people are going to be attracted to you? If you start a band with the hopes of getting signed by a label, do you not understand that you need fans to buy those records you want to make money off of? Where do celebrities think that money they used to buy their multi-million dollar homes came from?
As I sit here typing this blog post today, perhaps I’m just ignorant of what fame really is. I haven’t personally experienced fame in any way. I wasn’t even popular in school. I’ve never been popular. But I try to remember as I think about wanting to be a working author, as I dream about getting published and picked up by an agent and being able to make my living writing books, that fans are going to be the ones making that happen for me. I can have all the talent in the world and write the most brilliant literary works of our day, but without the fans, it’s all for naught. (Okay, maybe not for naught exactly, but you get the idea.)
I believe having fame places certain responsibilities on my shoulders. I should take the time to thank those that gave me such a status by being willing to sign a few autographs in the grocery store line as I buy doughnuts for that late night craving. I should be willing to take a moment and appreciate when a fan wants to tell me how he/she loves my story and wants to write like I do someday. I should be a respectable role model for those who look up to me so that pictures of my naked crotch don’t end up on the front page of a supermarket magazine. I need to remember what fame is!
I’m sure any celebrities that read this (which I’m guessing numbers about zero) would argue me that fame has its ugly side, and I’m sure that’s true. My point is that I (kind of) know before I get published what it is I’m asking for. I need to remember, if I am ever famous, what it was like to an invisible fan vying for a moment’s worth of attention from my favorite celebrity. I don’t want to ever become that celebrity that forgets my place in this relationship.
Perhaps I don’t have a clue about any of this. Then hopefully someday, I’ll have the opportunity to learn. It still makes no difference in how I want to treat my fans. But all of this is contingent on the small chance that people will someday know my name.