|"Raiders of the Lost Ark"|
Following a typical argument with my older brother (whose personality is known as Zermon in my Gastar novellas) I began to think about the entertainment industry. Like many others, he gets frustrated with high profile celebrities using their recognized faces and voices to enter our homes to “teach us something,” as if we little people can’t figure important issues out for ourselves, such as current events.
My counter-argument with him is the same one I have regarding the lives of writers: People have their work and their lives; one doesn’t always overlap. Let’s pull away from entertainers for a moment: Have any of us ever worked with a competent colleague but disagreed with him or her regarding some topics? Does opinion of world events impact a person’s ability to do their profession, be it software salesperson, auto mechanic, plumber, doctor, or hair stylist? I don’t think so. Why would it be different with entertainers? Answer: Because they’re given a public voice.
Now let’s move to why entertainers are given such a large voice. Generally, they are respected for the work they’ve done in the industry. Because so many see them via films or television, they are a ready-source for something newsworthy, be it about their life or their opinion. All the media has to do it attach their face or voice/quote to the story, and presto, ratings and sales! Ask the tabloids; they’ve made good livings off entertainers for decades.
Thanks to the media and perhaps attention seeking by some (not all) of we see the lives of entertainers: The designer wardrobes, the Vogue spreads, the mansions, the private jets, and the red carpet events. The beautiful people, as many say, smile for pictures for us to choose who wore which dress the best. They’ve got it all, the success, the respect, the money, the clothes, what else could one want? Are celebrities overvalued? Perhaps. Are they overpaid? Perhaps. Is this an easy life? I’m not convinced it is; because after so many millions of dollars, one can buy, buy, buy, but some of the most important things in life cannot be purchased: Love, friendship, and privacy.
And there it is; we value entertainment. Our eyes are drawn to entertainers because we like what they do in the industry in which they work. We respect their talent. We like their films, and we enjoy their songs, we are drawn to their beauty. Guess what new authors: we are part of the industry as well, though, speaking for myself, I’m a quantum in comparison (quantum being the smallest unit of measurement).
When all is said and done, to whom do the beautiful people answer to? Answer: The same people we authors answer to; our audiences. J.K. Rowling would not be rich and famous if her audience did not purchase the “Harry Potter” books. The entertainment industry is a tough one, because nobody stays on top and at one time or another their audience will speak back to them. Entertainers walk on hazardous ground if perceived to be condescending to their audience. Ask fans of country music or daytime television. Facing a public downfall with a merciless media cannot be an easy experience. I think about that on vacations; the only time I ever pick up a “Star” magazine.