The Cliché ‘I’
Real understanding demands time. But who has time these days? The bigger the label, the bolder the letters, the faster the message sinks in, no matter how shallow. It’s like running around a dozen cafes in a day – that doesn’t make one a connoisseur of good food. And boy, do we get flooded with those ‘value judgments’ in the digital frenzy of today. In H8R, a TV show about celebs and their haters, people present their versions of famous people. According to the public, Kim Kardashian is not supposed to date black men; Eva Longoria is at fault because she is skinny; Scott Disick is the ‘ultimate douche’ – just because! Of course Longoria is comically confused with her most famous character, Gabrielle Solis from Desperate Housewives (confusing Kim Kardashian with the character she portrays on Keeping Up with the Kardashians is too fucking subtle, I will not go there; the same thing happened to Kseniya Sobchak in Russia, by the way). H8R is supposed to be breaking stereotypes but instead it reinforces them (Latinas have to speak Spanish, be good cooks, have curves, and know how to dance, and hey, look, Longoria possesses all those characteristics, therefore she is a real Latina), and I don’t think the creators even suspect it. (Did I mention the haters on the show are picked up from a crowd of audition hopefuls for another TV show, striving for that spotlight alongside the people they hate with so much ardor?)
The Real ‘I’
The dizzying transparency modern media culture has created for celebrities pushes them to find survival techniques which allow them to be successful yet keep their privacy (if you think I am exaggerating, take a look at the world from the perspective of Britney Spears in her car chased by paparazzi). Not everyone is enamored with fame, and there is one great example from the literary world: JD Salinger, who fought for his right to privacy till his last breath. He could have been huge – bigger than Capote or Hemingway – but he didn’t want to. But times change; the 21st century model of a successful writer is Grigory Chkhartishvili (Boris Akunin, Anatoly Brusnikin, Anna Borisova) who has been as interactive as it gets, playing with masks to please his public, keeping his alter egos secret for years without anyone suspecting.