After The Texan got me to go Vegan for exactly one day, I decided to adopt more vegan recipes into my diet to help the girls & I be healthier & open minded about other dietary options. Because of this, I bought Bake and Destroy: Good Food for Bad Vegans by vegan chef Natalie Slater (my kids love taco lasagna). I’d been following Slater for years on Twitter because she’s freaking hilarious. But her first column with Red Eye Chicago (found here) solidified a thought I’ve had for years; celebrity worship is getting out of hand.
Slater details how her longtime friend has no privacy & can’t do simple things like take out his garbage or go to Target without people snapping pics. My oldest commented on how much that must suck when her friends on IG were uploading photos of her idol AJ Lee attending a hockey game with former WWE superstar CM Punk. “Poor AJ. She doesn’t deserve that. She’s not wrestling right now,” she said before unfollowing the offending account. She doesn’t read dirt sheets, mainly because she feels that they are biased against AJ & the Divas, & only goes to one wrestling discussion group, one of the few communities that promotes women’s wrestling & respects the hard work these women put in to entertain her.
As a semi retired entertainment reporter, I understand celebrity worship. In fact, as I apply for jobs in media in my new city, I understand that my livelihood depends on you caring about celebrity culture. But there is a limit & that limit is that celebrities are not trained monkeys to amuse you every second of their lives.
My job is to promote celebrities (well, it’s currently to sell phones, but my designated career path is to promote celebrities). I actually take minimal issue with the paparazzi. I feel that you signed up for that life, you take the pros & cons. But there is a limit. If a celeb is enjoying an outing with their children or doing a mundane task, then back off (I mean, does anyone REALLY care that Elisabeth Hasselbeck pumps her own gas?) I’m sure you’ve noticed that my children, while mentioned, are never seen. I have posted their photos twice. I do not call them by their given names. Mom’s a blogger; they aren’t. They deserve privacy. They also deserve me as a role model, not Miley Cyrus.
Before I go further, I love Miley Cyrus. I think she’s awesome. I also don’t expect her to raise my kids for me. If my kids experiment with drugs or dress inappropriately, that’s on me, not Miley Cyrus. Her job is not to raise your kids. Her job is to release albums & go on tour. She’s doing that. Don’t like it? Don’t buy them. Don’t go. Posting venomous comments on message boards clinging to anonymity because she doesn’t want to act the way you as fans want her to is sad. Then we wonder why kids bully. They learn it from you.
Slater’s piece should have opened our eyes to our fan entitlement. If Slater’s friend wants to retire from professional wrestling, he’s allowed to do that. He doesn’t owe you anything more. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan didn’t need to ask your permission to get married on the date that he chose, causing him to miss a week of TV. Jennifer Lawrence shouldn’t have to apologize for her personality. I have probably purchased everything with AJ Lee’s face or logo on it, but she does not owe me her private time & I hope if I ever ran into her in public, I have taught my teen daughter enough respect to leave her hero alone while she shops at Target or approach her with manners & respect, as well as respect that Lee has the right to decline her request for an autograph if she chooses.
Think about how you would like it if you were enjoying a baseball game & strangers were photographing you to announce it like a Sasquatch sighting. Or you’re enjoying dinner & 20 strangers bombard you, asking you when you’re in next or why you made that choice at work. Because that’s what it is; their job. I know if a stranger bothered me on a date to ask me about either of my jobs while I was off the clock; I’d punch them (or want to).
Sadly, Slater’s piece didn’t help anyone “get it.” Just more fan entitlement. Those people didn’t get that this is exactly what she meant. Those people who blasted her & called her horrible names, she was talking about fans like YOU. Yes, people choose the entertainment industry, but that doesn’t make them zoo animals, forced to perform 24/7. It’s not about you; it’s about basic human respect.
So, next time you decide to send that hate tweet, or go on Disqus as “guest” to put a celeb on blast for not being a good role model to your bratty kids, or attempt to take a selfie with the celeb you spotted at Olive Garden, think about how you would feel if people sent you hate tweets for making a work decision or demanded photos while you were eating your angel hair pomodoro. Also, before you say “well, they chose & I didn’t,” yes, they chose & worked hard & sacrificed & succeeded to entertain schmucks like you, & I bet you’d trade places for a day if you could. And I bet if it meant shopping in peace, they would too.