Private Decisions, Public Consumption

A running joke amongst me and a few of my friends (although sometimes I wonder if it's not believed by some of them) is that I'm involved in some... let's say unsavory and less than legal activities. The proof they say lies at least partly in my tendency to be sketchy. Ask me where I'm going and I'm probably not going to be specific. Ask me where I've been -- nope. Non-specific as possible.

In fact, just this weekend, one of my friends looked over and noticed that I had quite a bit of cash on my person. "Why do you have so much cash?" she asked. "Uhh. I have stuff to pay for..." I responded initially. That's the kind of sketchy responses I give. It's not that I'm purposefully trying to be hard to deal with. It's just that I don't deal in details when I don't think details are necessary.

And maybe I also avoid details to avoid scrutiny and having to explain and whatever else comes along with people knowing the intimate details of any one decision.

I thought about this as I popped in and out of the twitter conversation around Fantasia's announcement that she's pregnant. The basic assumption is that the father of her child is Antwaun Cook, the same man she reportedly had an affair with and the same man who's wife is still suing her. On her popular reality show we watched her confront him about the drama and seem to insinuate she wouldn't continue to see him. Not too long after a rumor surfaced that she'd had an abortion and not to long ago so did reports that she had been seen with him.

And now people are expressing some disappointment in Fantasia ('Tasia Mae as I affectionately call her). Of course, where there's an expression of one opinion, there are just as many expressing the opposite and wondering why the other side feels the way they do.

I get really annoyed with people who want to live the celebrity life, but don't want to pay the cost. I actually feel bad for celebrities. I don't want people I know making snap judgements about the things I do and expressing disapproval, so imagine having thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people you've never met and probably won't ever meet who get to know every detail about your life and every good and bad decision you make is put up for them to judge and comment on in public forums. I couldn't do it.

That's why I'm not going to be that famous.

So for individuals who find themselves in fame's arms, loving the experience: appreciating the money, the prestige, the validation but then are surprised and angered by the flip of that: the negative blog posts, the poor record sales, the jokes by late night show hosts, I can't conjure it up to feel bad for them. You gotta take the good with the bad in almost every situation.

Plus, we live in a time where celebrities are marketed to us to make us love them personally. There used to be a healthy separation between a fan and a celebrity. We used to get, even if we didn't realize we got it, that they produced something we liked not so much that we had to also like them personally. I think immediately of Tupac. Tupac was attacked in the media, like a lot of gangsta rappers from the early to mid-90s, but qualms with 'Pac were often over his lyrics, even though he was shot and accused of rape and spent time in prison. I don't mean to suggest he didn't receive ANY criticism about those things, but I don't think a rapper today could have those things in their history and continue to sell records. Someone would make sure that didn't happen.

So after celebrity machines do their work and make us feel like we personally know these celebrities so we'll watch their movies and tv shows or but their albums and go to their concerts, there's suddenly surprise that when even when a celebrity isn't performing fans expect them to be a certain way.

Is it fair? No. Should it be expected, though? I think absolutely yes. I think that if you want the fame you need to know what the downside of it is and you need to know that you can deal with it. It's not my fault if you don't do that...

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