People often say America is a celebrity culture, but this seems unfair to me. All cultures are celebrity cultures! Humans are fascinated with extraordinary people everywhere. In the U.S. we just have more celebrity coverage. In previous ages, famous figures passed into legend, like Queen Elizabeth, Jesus, Kublai Khan, and Odysseus. Their lives took on mythic resonance that fascinated and instructed people—largely through storytellers, minstrels and priests until the printing press and widespread literacy hit the world like a comet a few hundred years ago. In our modern information age, such stories erupt quickly as people achieve notoriety from accomplishment (the Beatles, the Clintons, Kobe Bryant), huge falls from grace (Barry Bonds, Bernie Madoff), or sheer dedication to celebrity (the Kardashians). We are especially attracted to celebrities’ love lives—who and how they love. I think this reflects fascination with each other—especially with mythic figures in the big stories around us, illustrated as they are by celebs. Lady Gaga is one of my favorites. Great music, fearless performer, straight from the heart communicator. What’s not to like? I was recently much taken by statements she made in an interview in Vanity Fair. Excerpts include:
- “I have an inability to know what happiness feels like with a man.”
- “I think what it really is, is that I date creative people. And I think that’s what intimidates them is not my purse, it’s my mind.”
- “It starts out good. Then when I’m in these relationships with people who are also creative, or creative in their own way, what happens is the attraction is initially there and it’s all unicorns and rainbows. And then they hate me.”
- “It’s a hideous place to be in when someone that you love has convinced you that you will never be good enough for anyone.”
- “When I fight with someone I’m in a relationship with, I think: ‘What would my fans think if they knew this was happening? How would they feel about my work and about me as a female if they knew I was allowing this to go on?’ And then I get out [of the relationship].”
- Relationships start well.
- People (especially creative people) become intimidated by my mind and begin to hate me.
- My lover and I fight, and leaving seems the best option, so I get out.