The other day, on Facebook, I praised a highly accomplished filmmaker and his new film. Within a few hours, someone left a nasty comment criticizing the filmmaker and his films. (Note: I had tagged said filmmaker in my original comment, so he personally was aware of the conversation.)
No doubt, if I had praised an unknown filmmaker, a mean comment would never have been posted. This makes me wonder: what is it about celebrity that dehumanizes people?
Think about all those humiliating “fat” photos of stars or headlines about their personal misfortunes. And what about scathing reviews of someone’s film, book or art? Now imagine if the same treatment was given to an ordinary, average Joe: who would stand for that? There would be a public outcry. So why is it okay toward celebrities?
Does one become public property, mere chattel when they become famous? By spending our dollars to consume their appearance, performance, or any other form of personal expression, do we purchase a piece of their soul? And as they become more famous, as they sell more of their personal expression, do we possess more and more of them. And, ultimately, does this transaction empower us to exploit and deconstruct their person, like we are able to exploit and deconstruct a vacuum or shoe?
So if celebrity is a form of selling ones soul to the devil, then, I suspect, we the consumers are the devils. Thus, it might behoove us to reconsider how we treat those whose souls we purchase.