We all have our favorite “celebrities”, even if we aren’t always comfortable calling them that. “People of high public profile” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. I’ll go see any movie written and directed by Kevin Smith or anything starring Casey Affleck. He’s written a few clunkers over the years, but I’ve read every book written by Stephen King. If a new Metallica album comes out tomorrow I’ll buy it, and I’d like to see Jon Lester win another World Series, no matter what team he’s playing for. (Unless it’s the Yankees)
I’m assuming that at some point Ellen or Oprah will become aware of this blog and invite me onto their shows, but until then my celebrity encounter stories are pretty lame. I once played golf behind Jose Conseco’s group in Florida. I shook hands with Chuck Norris’s son but didn’t turn into a legendary badass by DNA osmosis. I once sang a duet with Willie Nelson’s daughter in front of thousands of people, but I was five and the song was “On Top of The World.” I winked at Kelly Ripa about twenty years ago, but her husband, Mark Consuelos, was with her. She didn’t wink back.
“Celebrity” means something much different now than it used to. She couldn’t tell you who any of the above people are, but the teenager knew who Joey Salads was even before he pretended to steal children. She once freaked out because somebody that was “famous on Vine” was following her on Twitter. She didn’t agree with me that “famous on Vine” wasn’t the same as being “famous.”
When it comes to people that are actually well known for doing something, she always seems to know more about them than I think seems healthy. She knows more about the life and history of the cast members of the Hunger Games and Maze Runner movies than I know about people that I’ve worked with for the past twenty years.
A few years ago she was a big fan of The Black Veil Brides, a glam metal band for people too young to remember The Used or Marilyn Manson. She watched enough online interviews and home videos of the band that I sometimes felt compelled to remind her that she didn’t actually know them.
I don’t think that having this kind of access is always a good thing. I watched some of these videos to see what all the fuss was about, and thought that they came across as a bunch of pricks. Another band that she liked around the same time, Asking Alexandria, are probably just the same, but I don’t know that and I’ve now seen them in concert twice.
The world was much simpler before TMZ and reality television. Michael Jordan was a gambling degenerate, but we didn’t know that and he was loved by millions. I still pull for Tiger Woods, but it’s much harder than it used to be. It’s still OK to like Bruce Willis, but I’d have skipped the new Mad Max movie if Mel Gibson was in it. It’s hard to keep up with who is still all right.
It’s a hard lesson to teach. Justin Beiber and Meghan Trainor were both discovered online. Many others have no talent whatsoever but have gotten famous online. For some reason, lectures about putting too much of her personal business on the internet come across as hypocritical to the teen.
I’m constantly cognizant of who may be reading. Friends, family, current and potential future employers. We are all judged as much by our words as we are our actions, and the internet makes it easy for both to be disseminated quickly, no matter who you are.