Saturday, September 1, 2007

Tell me what to do...

Although the only use I usually have for The Daily Toreador (my school's daily periodical) is to seek and solve the daily crossword and/or So Do Ku, the crossword Monday was strategically placed across from the Opinions page. There, a headline caught my eye, "The Dixie Chicks should just go away." I proceeded to read the article, and was pleased with the overall substance of the article, however conservative and Chicks-bashing it was. However, the fact that the writer was, in the first place, somewhat condemning actors, socialites, or, in this case, singers for spouting their political views is laughable.

The consumer driven market we live in has made these people our role models. Whether its what we wear, the music we listen to, or the things we eat (or not eat) and drink, celebrities influence our every move (whether we'd like to admit it or not). I'm sure dairy farmers themselves would personally thank the 'Got Milk?' campaign spokespersons like Cindy Crawford, Britney Spears, and Kelly Clarkson for the boost in awareness about and consumption of milk. Hey, Britney's doing it, why not me? Speaking of the ex-Mrs. Federline, upon the debut of her 'not so innocent' image back in the early 2000s (pre-baby-Britney) the advent of low-rise jeans was catapulted by the six-pack-bearing bombshell. Even six years later, her fashion faux pas and crotch-baring photographs have merely raised social awareness of the vital role underwear makes in our daily lives. I don't know how many times I've stepped out of my Jaguar at a party and thought 'Hope the mouse is in the house! Thank God I remembered my underwear.' As obscene and nauseating this example may be, the media explosion that followed the unfortunate photos was mind-numbing. The picture and party-girl stories were plastered all over every Holly-Housewife tabloid and publication available at the checkout counter. The editors, writers, and investors in these magazines bank on our fascination with what celebs are doing, wearing, not-wearing, or buying.

Case in point, the 'celebrity' is now multi-platform performer/entrepreneur. Taking advantage of the malleability of the American people's interests and buying habits, these individuals take our behaviors straight to the bank. Although J.Lo may be one of the first multi-platform stars, since then its unheard of to just be a mere singer or actor. The hyphenations are flying left and right. Singer-dancer-actor. Actor-spokesperson-reality show judge. Singer-designer-producer. Spokesperson-dancer-fragrance. Fragrance? That's right, we love celebrities so much, we want to smell like they want to smell. Whether it's J.Lo's 'Glow' or Sarah Jessica Parker's 'Lovely' we can't get enough.  Why else would advertisers shell out millions upon millions of dollars to get celebrity endorsements?

We have created larger-than-life role models out of these people. Now, these things may seem mundane. That is why many are so shocked when celebs spout their political agendas. Hell, the American people have elected celebrities to vital roles in the American political system. If he can save the world from futuristic kill-bots, why shouldn't Arnold be able to save California from smog emissions? Also, one of the most photographed, Googled, and beautiful women of all time, Angelina Jolie, is single-handedly saving Africa before our very eyes. Even celebrities look to their peers for how to behave. Post-Angelina in Africa, celebs like Oprah, Bono, and George Clooney have joined the 'Save the world' bandwagon and lets start in Africa. 

But when these people speak up about anything but their latest clothing line, a backlash media explosion erupts.  If you don't believe me, ask Natalie Maines what she was doing months after 12 little words rocked her world.  But, why be shocked at something that we've basically begged for? We used to be pleased with the fact that these people were talented actors, singers, or whatever they did, but now we yearn for someone who dances in the limelight to tell us what to do, where to spend our money, and how. So, before we start throwing stones at people like Green Day, the Dixie Chicks, or Angelina, for God's sake, let's at least see what they're wearing and go get it in every style and color.

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