Web Literacy: Fame and Power Part 1
|Life Skills||Web Literacy|
This is Shmoop's excuse -- Or, uh, effort
at answering some core elements of the Common Core.
And we're doing it in a hopefully
not ungodly staring-at-paint-drying boring way
in that we're gonna use Hollywood gossip, celebrities,
hot button areas of the web,
to help you understand how to do research,
how to understand what quality information is,
and, generally speaking, how all elements fluffy and green
work in the web when you're perusing Hollywood.
So we're here with Deb from Shmoop
to help us navigate these difficult waters.
And after this course is done,
you'll kind of have a sense for high quality research, we hope.
[ dog barks ]
What gives fame its strange power over us?
You know, we're obsessed with fame.
This is why we watch TV, why we watch movies,
why we subscribe to People magazine.
There's a bunch of different reasons.
And everyone might have their own reason
for why they're obsessed with a celebrity
or kind of obsessed with this idea of fame.
One thing is just that
people have always been obsessed with fame.
It used to be royalty.
People would be obsessed with the royals.
And now celebrities in America are the royals.
You know, Brad and Angelina are essentially king and queen
of the United States.
So it kind of just continues this long tradition of always
looking at royalty as someone above you
and, you know, you're kind of awe-struck by them.
But that's kind of giving humanity a lot of credit.
Most of why I think that we are obsessed with fame
is because it's this kind of schadenfreude, right?
Meaning that you see someone in a worse position than you're in,
and you feel better about yourself.
Now you'd think, "Wait.
Celebrities aren't in a worse position than you are."
But that's exactly what they are.
They have everything.
They have fame, they have money.
They have an awesome lifestyle
and they're still miserable.
So when we're reading about famous people,
it's usually like, "Oh, someone got a DUI."
Or they got divorced or they're in a custody battle.
Or whatever the case is.
So we're looking at them and being like,
"Oh, okay, well I might not be famous,
but at least my life's not that crappy."
Or is another angle that
gosh, they were these lofty, vaunted personalities,
but who are human.
Because they actually get DUIs and divorces
- and drug addictions. - Absolutely.
Absolutely. It kind of, you know, puts things in perspective for us.
When you're watching someone on TV or in a movie,
you know, they're like this fake non-person.
But then, when you obsess about their --
about them as people, their real humanity comes out
and you see them like, "Yeah. They have issues, too."
And then, you know, it's a matter of escapism.
We don't have to deal with our own problems
because we can watch other people's.
And then the kind of last thing to remember
is that celebrities give us a common cultural thread.
If you're talking to a stranger,
there are only so many things you can talk about, right?
You're like, "Hey, how about the Yankees?".
Or like, "See the game last night?
It's been pretty rainy."
Eventually you get to, you know,
"Oh, did you hear so-and-so's adopted kid...
You know, custody..." This, that, and the other.
So it's kind of like a shared cultural capital
where we can all talk about it.
You and I can gossip about stuff
that we know personally,
but if I'm talking to someone I don't know,
then celebrity stuff is my gossip.
- It's easy. It's the weather. - Yep. It's the weather.
What would you do if you were famous?
If you want to be famous, I guess my advice is
think about why you wanna be famous.
That is a good question to ask yourself.
If the answer is because you wanna live
the celebrity lifestyle, don't do it.
If the answer is you wanna do good for the world,
then that's great.
Figure out what you're gonna do and how you're gonna do it.
I would probably be a terrible famous person.
I would probably
take whatever money I had,
give some of it away,
and have someone else figure out what to do with it.
I feel like there's a lot of
pressure involved with being famous
that you don't think about when you're like,
"Oh, I wanna be famous."
You don't think about like,
"Oh, well every time there's a natural disaster,
everyone in the country is waiting for me
to go donate half of my income to them.
Or to fly to Africa
and carry a child with Ebola."
Or whatever the case is.
That is a lot of pressure.
If you don't do it,
you're called a bad person,
You're called whatever it is people say about you.
If you do it once,
then you're expected to do it every time.
So I think there is a lot of pressure
associated with fame.
And I don't think I'm cut out for it.
So I plead the fifth.
Fair enough. Well, you guys should
think about yourselves and that should be an assignment.
[ pen writing ]
Why are we attracted to celebrities?
If we really are.
Have we always had such a fascination with celebrities?
What would you do with your power if you were famous?
Ooh. Good mix.