I’ll never understand our attitude toward celebrity.
We are a society in search of celebrities and we latch onto them fast and hard. But why are we even more determined to bring them crashing back down to earth? Why don’t we wish them well and allow them to continue to soar?
We’ve taken such morbid pleasure in watching the disintegration of Linsay Lohan. It’s as if we anointed her simply because we recognized her fragility. And she hasn’t let us down.
OK, I admit to taking pleasure in watching her fall to pieces because she is such a spectacular mess. And it makes me feel almost glad that I’m not rich and famous and pampered.
But, I can’t find pleasure in attempts to bring down the little people who earn fame by doing extraordinary things.
Take Jacie Evancho. She wowed everyone the other night on America’s Got Talent. She’s a prodigy with a voice that’ll be filling opera houses. She had my wife in tears. Her little Puccini ditty, “O Mio Babbino Caro,” was performed at our wedding. She nailed it.
So why is she already being smeared with accusations of lip-synching? New Zealand opera conductor John Rosser has viewed and re-viewed the footage and declared that what she was doing was genuine. But, hasn’t the damage already been done? She’s now potentially a fraud in millions of web-surfing minds.
On a local level here in North Dakota, swimmer Dagny Knutson has been a sensation. She is the type of gal who doesn’t only win high school state titles; she finishes races while her competition is still barely off the blocks. She was the talk of the U.S. Olympic Trials two years ago.
She just competed at Nationals in Irvine, CA and it wasn’t one of her best meets, nowhere near what she needed to attain a spot on the World Championship team. And her final swim will sadly be her defining one for some time to come. The headlines read, without a hint of sympathy, “Dagny False Starts.” She’s gone from the “phenomenon” to the ”loser” of the swimming world in one summer.
It seems that Warhol was right about his “15 minutes” prediction. But, did he really mean it to include people who deserve to be celebrities?