The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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B-PAX: Celebrity: Then and now

You are probably baffled by the amount of press and media coverage celebrities get these days. It’s next to impossible to avoid the latest celebrity gossip that is on the radio, on magazine covers at the check-out line, on television and on internet. I distinctly remember learning who Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan were for the first time and wondering why anyone would care about them so much. They are prime examples of the modern day celebrity. This idea of celebrity led me down a road that taught me a thing or two about making it big and staying there.

Today, a celebrity is defined as a widely recognized or famous person who commands a high degree of public and media attention. There was a time when the label ‘celebrity’ was reserved for working entertainers and some politicians. Now, however, celebrity can be achieved through shameless self-promotion, beauty and money. This has been proven by the rise of public or semi-public figures like Tila Tequila (the most popular female MySpacer turned reality TV star turned singer) and Chris Crocker (the ‘leave Britney alone’ youtuber who is also now a singer).

Before the time of MySpace, Facebook and YouTube, entertainers of all sorts trained relentlessly and then performed locally as much as they could. They then worked in local theater, independent film, regularly auditioned and sang at local gigs in hopes of getting noticed and ‘making it big.’ Times have changed and so have the methods of achieving that much desired fame. The current trend is for celebrity hopefuls to promote themselves through posting their music on MySpace or posting their videos on YouTube. This is a tactic that has become widely practiced and surprisingly successful. This kind of marketing is very democratic. Why? If people don’t like your content, then they won’t go back or tell their friends. If you do have some type of appeal, then you can strike gold with videos like “Chocolate Rain” or “Chongalicious.” This is THE reason Time Magazine deemed ‘you’ (meaning anyone reading at the time) as the person of the year. The idea was that everyone nowadays is getting what famous artist Andy Warhol called their “15 minutes of fame.”

With so much fresh talent and internet celebrities popping up, it’s no wonder that it is now harder than ever to not just become a celebrity, but to stay one. We watch the shows like ‘Extra, Extra’ and ‘Hollywood Insider’ to get the latest scoop on celebrity gossip, but how real is it? There is no doubt that the paparazzi invade a celebrity’s life, but how much of this privacy ‘invasion’ is actually unwanted?

When Britney Spears was going through her ‘meltdown’ she was in public more than ever. She wasn’t out promoting her latest album, music video or single. She was just driving around making a fool of herself. She would drive to random gas stations and start yelling across the store in a British accent, flash her unmentionables to onlookers, drive with her kids in her lap, attach cars with umbrellas and shave her head. These are only a portion of the highlights. Is that a poor young woman going through a crisis or a brilliant marketing campaign? Perhaps, it’s a little of both. I distinctly remember seeing Britney Spears leave a hotel, while in the middle of her ‘crisis’ and tell the paparazzi, “I love you guys.” What does that mean? Well, she knows and they know that without them, Britney just isn’t Britney. They live off one another and that’s how they survive.

As we all know, the ultimate queen of publicity is Paris Hilton, who has become an international blonde icon for doing absolutely nothing but constantly partying and being beautiful. There is one thing for, though, she pays out the nose for her genius publicist. All major celebrities have a right hand man or woman known as their publicist. This person is responsible for letting everyone at every major news outlet, magazine, gossip website, etc. know where their client will be and what they’ll be doing. This is highly important so the public doesn’t lose interest in the client. We all know what happens when celebrities leave the limelight. We move on and find another personality to obsess about.

Celebrities will always be a part of society because they make life more interesting. It’s true. We distract ourselves from our daily lives and gossip about the latest scandal or see who has gone to the slammer because we demand cheap diversions and celebrities provide it.

I can’t say that all celebrities love the constant attention, but it took a lot of work to get there and I doubt many are complaining they’re getting too much press. The reality, either way, is that entertainers are actually doing their jobs better than ever. Whether it is their latest film or events in their personal lives, they’re keeping the whole world entertained.

Brent Paxton is a junior international relations and political science double major. He can be reached for comment at [email protected].

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