I confess...I've been thinking a lot about celebrity lately.
For years now, I've taken issue with shows like Jon & Kate. If adults chose to broadcast their lives, I suppose that it their decision. But I don't think it is fair to involve children who can't consent. Yes, we allow children to act and such but that really is quite different. We shudder a bit at the way the Dionne quints were treated as a side-show act. But are we doing anything better today? Might it not be even worse since the format endures more and provides lasting evidence.
Part of me takes issue even when the kids aren't immediately involved and have to face the consequences of their parents' public lives. But there's some level of that sort of thing that we'll never escape. There will always be four little boys whose public-figure dad was caught cheating with an Argentine mistress. But we can clamp down on having the children as directly involved as reality TV has allowed.
And then, there's MJ. In a way, he's Celebrity to the n-th degree. He was in the spotlight from a young age and never escaped it. He both embraced it and thrived in it and was eaten up by it. We created him, both the good and the (alleged) bad. If he was guilty of some of the bad acts tied to his name, it is no doubt related to what we did to him from age 5. Excuse? No. But an explanation and something we need to think about.
I did a project in college once on Spectacle in early America (think circus freaks). Really, it has gotten worse, not better. The dog-faced girl may not be a side-show act in a cage. But is it better to be on a Discovery Channel special and to be tracked online?
What responsibility do we have to the celebrities we create?
There's more on this rattling around in my head....