Flattening the curve on celebrity culture

Pre-pandemic our culture was a bit celeb obsessed. Now it turns out that they are exactly like us, and as such, we are more interesting.
Pre-pandemic our culture was a bit celeb obsessed. Now it turns out that they are exactly like us, and as such, we are more interesting.

There’s just no point in celebrity anymore. Anyone can get on social media and share their talents, and celebrities are doing just that in trying to stay relevant. But as it turns out, watching cats push over dominoes—

Is far more satisfying than watching celebs sing a sappy old song. In fact, I couldn’t even watch with the sound on. There was more than enough cringe in seeing these croony, earnest faces. No matter how glorious these voices, there’s just no time or reason for celeb platitudes.

Even before these plague times, internet celebs were encroaching on Hollywood culture. Instagram stars, Vine stars (remember them?), and Twitterati were well on the way to replacing the hallowed hand prints on the Walk of Fame outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

As production on film and tv shows shuts down, and newly released movies will be broadcast on our home screens, there’s suddenly not that much difference between celebs, in their home isolation and your cousin Chachi who’s stuck in his home in Columbus, OH. The celebs might have better digs, but then again, who cares, Columbus has porch concerts.

I find myself far more interested in the daily lives of people I know, how they’re holding up, and what they’re doing.

While Conan and news anchors and people who had high profile jobs in entertainment seek to entertain us from the glory of their own homes, it seems just as relevant to me, if not more so, to have Facetime parties with friends.

Why listen to what Conan has to say if I could just as easily, and from the comfort of my own quarantine, listen to what my friend Jess has to say now that she’s embraced video chat after years of hating it?

More interesting than anything a celeb has to say from his house, are the things my American friend in Barcelona has to say from his house. He reports:

“We're under quarantine, but it's a rather flexible one. People can go to the supermarket, pharmacy, walk the dog, go to work. But only individually. They'll stop you if you're with someone else. I've only gone to the supermarket on the corner, which was pretty chill save for the lack of toilet paper. And the workers are all in masks and gloves, which is jarring. It was just announced that the Catalan regional president and vice president have tested positive.”

“Neighbors seem alright for now. The kid next store is playing with his father. I'm using Clorox wipes every time I open the door and disinfecting the door knobs and drawer handles here at home twice a day with a water bleach solution, just the way I learned when I did my course in food handling and protection. Same with all the groceries when I bring them home. Haven't seen or talked to my neighbors. But I'm constantly on Whatsapp with groups of current and past colleagues.”

“Just went to the supermarket and had to do the post shopping cleanup and change of clothes. They don't even bother stocking toilet paper on the shelves anymore. Post shopping clothes change. There's plenty of everything, and Spain is a food producing country. So things for the moment should be ok. And it's pretty chill, just more people in masks every day.”

Reports from London are of friend’s kids’ birthday parties cancelled, schools cancelled. General feelings of disbelief turned to something like fear, turning to assimilation to this new reality and an uncertainty about what’s to come.

Pre-pandemic our culture was a bit celeb obsessed. We wanted to know what the glitterati were up to, where they were vacationing, who they were sleeping with. Now it turns out that, just as we always suspected, they are exactly like us, and as such, we are more interesting.

Italians are singing from their balconies while mortality rates jump.

Self-isolated optimists are hosting online dance parties, and online dating with endless courtship messaging, are the new normal, and these kinds of interactions and expressions of humanity are far more engaging all of a sudden than Kim Kardashian’s toothbrush.

This is the time in our history when we all go inside. We turn away from the culture we’ve been given and begin to make our own, in ways that are more meaningful to us, more relevant, and more present. We knew we didn’t need celeb culture, we knew it was overblown and a little insidious. Even though we’re having trouble flattening the curve on coronavirus, we are making progress in flattening it on celebs.