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View Full Version : Hollywood or Bust: What is the worst thing about being famous?


melangell
03-22-2007, 10:59 AM
Hi Everyone! I am new here and glad to be a part of your community. This is a question I asked on another forum I belong to, but it got me in some hot water (too chatty, they said), so I am here to get the Straight Dope :) :


These days everyone wants to be famous and, thanks to reality TV, they might just get the chance. To many people, being famous seems not so out of reach with so many new celebrities in circulation.

You hear all about the trips to St. Bart's and the Balenciaga gowns, but what are the down sides? How many plebs have run towards an illusion of ultimate freedom only to find themselves in a stronger, albeit gilded cage?

The tabloids are having a virtual feeding frenzy as celebrity after celebrity collapses under the burden of their fabulous lifestyles. So, what gives?

Smitty
03-22-2007, 11:03 AM
Ask Gary Coleman.

Seriously, the nature of celebrity now is so fickle that you can go from being the most famous person in the world to working as a security guard in a pretty short time frame. That can be a hell of a fall.

Also, I'd imagine that the loss of privacy is a huge issue.

don't ask
03-22-2007, 11:18 AM
If you have to be a celebrity do it in the right place. My boss is a devout South Sydney Rugby League team fan. The team is part owned by Russell Crowe. Last Monday night at their game while queueing he happened to bump into Rusty. They had a conversation about a few football related things and whether the team would win that night, and then went their separate ways. He said not one other person spoke to Crowe that he saw.

When Keanu Reeves was filming the Matrix movies in Sydney he used to be able to shop at the local supermarket without anyone talking to him or taking his pcture.

I could tell you many more similar Aussie stories so I think the answer is move to Australia or become an Australian before becoming famous.

Triskadecamus
03-22-2007, 11:41 AM
Fame was once a consequence of deeds worthy of renown, or words worthy of reading and repeating. Sometimes it came with great wealth, sometimes less so. And when the wheel turned, one lost fame, perhaps lost wealth, but one still retained those qualities that led one to do the deeds, or write the words. Courage, wit, diligence, honesty, these are not always renown, but they remain matters of important personal value, even in complete obscurity.

This is no longer the case. Now people are famous for no discernable reason at all, except that they are famous. A million fans adore you for a few moments, and maybe even give you a buck apiece, and suddenly you are a famous millionaire. Keep it up for a week, and you are a multimillionaire superstar. And you have no characteristic which actually sets you apart from the vast majority of humans who are not famous, and only sudden wealth that makes your life different.

A lot of people don't handle sudden wealth well, and people who are trying to remain famous will most often try to act like they are very rich. Actually, they try to act like the media pays to have famous people act, but after the brief moment, the newly, or formerly famous have to pay their own way, and it is very expensive to act like you are very rich. One other sad fact is that very famous people often feel that they have to have "people" around them. The people take your money, and tell you lies. They do it because you pay them to, but usually they tell you more lies, and take more of your money than you realized.

Since you did nothing exceptional, you have very little to keep the attention of the world upon yourself. You are not really well liked, only well recognized. The "people" you have are not really even yours, they belong to your money, and when that is gone, so are they. Since you never really participated in the events that made you famous, you cannot repeat them, and you are now, briefly a has-been. You can get a certain amount of income from being a has-been, but it doesn't involve all that much wealth, or fame, and it generally is unpleasant to the same personality type that enjoyed being rich and famous. Most has-beens do it out of what they consider to be necessity, since their own assessment of their intrinsic human worth is even lower than that of the former fans. Very few famous people simply go back to the lives they had before they became famous.

What is inherently less desirable for a life experience, being Ryan Seacrest, or a security guard? Your choice says more about you, than it does about security guards.

Tris

PoorYorick
03-22-2007, 11:58 AM
I have never understood people who crave fame for fame's sake. You see them auditioning for American Idol, saying, "I've wanted to be famous since I was 5 years old."

From my limited experience around a couple of people with minor celebrity, the worst drawback seems to be strangers who want to treat you as an intimate friend. I'm reminded of the scene from Annie Hall where a total stranger sees Woody Allen's charcter in the street, grabs him, and starts yelling, "Hey, everybody, it's Alvy Singer! Look who it is!" It seems like everyone thinks they own a piece of you just because they've seen you on TV, in the movies, or whatever.

Ghanima
03-22-2007, 04:00 PM
I think the worst thing about being famous is not being able to get out of a car without someone taking a picture of your crotch.

WhyNot
03-22-2007, 04:12 PM
The worst thing is either everybody coming up to you all the time to talk at (not to) you, or else it's nobody ever coming up to you ever to chat.

I mean, it's nice that Keanu could get his grocery shopping done in peace, but don't you think it might be weird never to have small talk, or have someone tell you your baby is cute, or share an eyeroll towards some weirdo on the bus? Celebrities have to put up with a crushing sense of duty and social oppression, while also suffering from intense loneliness and a lack of genuine casual human contact.

You know that feeling when you just KNOW the two gossipy bitches by the water cooler are talking about the fact that you're wearing the same shirt you wore yesterday? That they've invented some sordid story about your gallivanting around at all hours and sleeping at strange men's houses, when in fact you were sitting with your mom in the ICU all night? Being famous means EVERYONE around you is making up stories about you and they really are all talking being your back.

msmith537
03-22-2007, 04:25 PM
I have never understood people who crave fame for fame's sake. You see them auditioning for American Idol, saying, "I've wanted to be famous since I was 5 years old."


It's usually a combination of ego, narcissism and no real skills or talents. Look at the countless idiots and drama queens who appear on American Idol who can't sing. I guess they figure if a lot of strangers know their face and they can buy a bunch of crap, it will make them happy.

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
03-22-2007, 05:49 PM
I think the worst thing about being famous is not being able to get out of a car without someone taking a picture of your crotch.OG forbid that they catch you in the jakes. :eek:

samclem
03-22-2007, 06:45 PM
This one is more suited to IMHO. Moved from General Questions.

samclem GQ moderator

Miller
03-22-2007, 07:15 PM
If you have to be a celebrity do it in the right place. My boss is a devout South Sydney Rugby League team fan. The team is part owned by Russell Crowe. Last Monday night at their game while queueing he happened to bump into Rusty. They had a conversation about a few football related things and whether the team would win that night, and then went their separate ways. He said not one other person spoke to Crowe that he saw.

That might have to do more with the fact that Russel Crowe is fucking terrifying than anything else. I wouldn't want to strike up a random conversation with him. Especially if there's a phone near by.

dwc1970
03-22-2007, 08:24 PM
If I were famous I'd hate having my face printed on the cover of the Enquirer and other trashy tabloids, exposing every minor intimate detail about my personal life and exploiting and blowing out of proportion anything that, with the right spin, makes for good gossip. I'd also get tired of the paparazzi (sp?) constantly trying to get my picture. I'd get tired of having to adhere to a rigid, busy schedule of always having to make appearances, pitching endorsements for products I personally would never use and always having to put up a front that would mask the real me from the rest of the world.

Fame? Forget it, I'm just fine the way I am.