Is this the trigger for the next GFC?
So Brangelina has gone Brex-Pitt. Can you believe it?
Not so much the break-up itself. How anyone maintains healthy relationships in the intense and surreal world of Hollywood fame is beyond me.
More, can you believe how much press and airtime is dedicated to it? Day after day.
And if you believe like I do that attention is energy, what does it mean when a few billion people are tuned in the divorce proceedings of just two people?
(If only we could harness that energy for good.)
I actually find it kind of embarrassing, as a human. I’m sure there are intelligent aliens watching what’s going on here, and just shaking their heads and eye-stalks. Add it to the list of reasons why it’s still too early to give the humans a call – along with the way we eat plastic and chemicals and bomb the crap out of each other.
And I’ve seen a few attempts to explain away our celebrity-fascination. That gossiping is a form of social grooming. Apes get together and pull nits out of each others fur. We get together and talk about whether Halle Berry’s titties are real.
(Personally, I’d prefer it if you fingered through my hair for nits or gave me a banana, but maybe I’m just unevolved.)
So gossiping serves a function. It’s a form of social bonding, so the theory goes.
But I’m not sure I’m really buying it.
I mean, maybe there’s an element of that. When the shocking news first came up on my news feed, I took an interest for a moment. I am a man with my finger on the pulse. I need to keep my pop-cultural references current. But then I do write blogs, so there’s a practical element to it.
But that’s where it ended for me. I don’t need to go into the details. I don’t need to know about what’s going on with the kids or what someone close to Angelina says she’s feeling. I actually don’t want to know about it.
And I kinda worry about people that do.
What it looks like to me (and I can’t really speak from personal experience here – so this is just a hypothesis and could well be wrong) is that celebrity obsession reflects a lack of self-worth.
On the way up, it’s like we want to get closer to the stars. We want to be part of their inner circle. We want to weasel into the fallout zone of all the love and adoration that comes pouring down on super celebrities.
And knowledge is power. When we have a tid-bit of information about someone interesting that no one else has, we have a sense of power.
(This will make me look like I’m well-informed. Closer to the Brangelina inner-circle than Barbara at bingo. )
It might be an absurdly misplaced sense of power, but our brains seem a bit useless at distinguishing the practical from the ridiculous.
(And the Aliens just drive right on past.)
But that’s on the way up. On the way down – when celebrities go into their predictable alcohol/drug/sex death spiral, there’s an almost gleeful intensity to the attention we give it.
The messier the better.
It’s like it makes us feel better about ourselves. I might not have Pitt’s chiselled jaw-line, but at least I’m not fighting over custody of the kids and can you believe what she said?
This is a profound sickness and comes from a place of smallness and self-hatred.
The problem starts when we make celebrities our bench-mark for successful living. If we spend too long fixating on them, then the Brangelina mansion, the kids, the fame, the enchanting eyes and fabulous hair – they become the standards we measure ourselves against…
… and doom us to weapons grade self-loathing.
From this position of self-inflicted smallness, we can make ourselves feel better in two ways. Either we can do the inner work, where we affirm our intrinsic self-worth and loveability, or we destroy our idols.
And so we watch them go down in flames. We’re still as small as we were before, but now the contrast with the celebrity benchmark isn’t so unflattering.
And so we might cry crocodile tears – we might even genuinely feel sorry for them – but we’re still willing to sacrifice them on the alter of public ridicule just so we can feel a little better about ourselves.
So one, don’t compare yourselves to superstars. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. Have clearly defined goals and standards, and hold your own self to account.
Secondly, make yourself feel better about yourself by building yourself up, not by tearing others down (or watching gleefully from the sidelines as others get torn down.)
To be honest, when I heard the news about Brex-Pitt, I was a little bit sad. I know the value of success, and I want everyone to be successful. When I hear about anyone suffering or losing success in their lives, I feel a bit sad.
I’m invested in success. I have an abundant world-view. I want to move towards a world where everyone is enjoying their own personal brand of success. Any loss is my loss.
Which is why I don’t want to hear about the gory details. Give them some privacy.
And because I know who I am and what I’m about, I don’t get any joy out of watching a train-wreck. None.
Seriously. I don’t mean to lay down some hard truths, but if you find yourself pouring over the details of the break-up, I think it’s time to ask some hard questions.
What do you think? Does celebrity obsession reflect a lack of self-worth?