Web Literacy: Fame and Power Part 2
|Life Skills||Web Literacy|
Why would a celebrity use their power for good?
This all depends on what drives
the desire to be famous to begin with.
If your goal is to become famous
because you wanna live the celebrity lifestyle,
you're probably not going to be philanthropic.
If your goal is to be famous
so that you can make a difference in the world,
then you're probably gonna become famous
and then do good.
There are plenty of celebrities
who are just saying like,
"Oh, yeah, I have enough cash.
Let me throw some money at this."
They don't really care about the issues
or, you know, they don't act
the way they tell other people to be acting.
But that kind of brings up this idea of --
There's a few reasons why someone would desire fame
and I think the most common one is probably just that people
want to be seen as having value.
You know, if you grow up in a house where
maybe you're not the smartest sibling
or maybe you're not the funniest or the most interesting
or whatever the case is.
You kind of want to be like,
"Hey, look! I'm valuable too!"
And so becoming famous is a way
to prove to yourself
and to everyone else around you,
whether it's your family, your friends,
or just kind of everyone,
that you're a valuable person.
And those people also
might not be doing the philanthropic thing
or the do-gooder thing,
because they just wanted to get to that point to say kind of,
"I told you so."
Well you have sort of a bifurcation of personalities.
So let's pull one example out of thin air.
The Kardashians, who, if they do stand for anything good,
I don't know what that is.
You see them focused a lot on sexual practices
and divorce and a lot of really odd entertainment things.
And then, at the other end of the rainbow,
is Princess Diana,
who famously went to Africa during the very beginning
of the AIDS scandal,
and was purposely photographed carrying
black babies who had AIDS.
And basically telling the world,
"It's not Ebola.
It's not even close.
And we need to take care of these people."
And she is cited, I think, pretty broadly
as someone who is truly courageous,
who used her celebrity and fame
and the royal brand and everything else
in the right way, the way you're supposed to do things
in this world when you're truly, sincerely trying to do good.
So how does that operate
in a very odd press that we have today?
That today, Princess Diana,
if she'd gone to the Ebola victims in Africa,
I don't think there'd be a whole lot of press attention to it.
But Kim Kardashian puts on 20 pounds
and wears tight jeans, that's the cover of People.
What is that saying about our world and sort of
what drives all this?
Yeah, I think it comes back to the reason
we obsess over celebrities.
And, as I said, it used to be
this kind of -- Princess Diana's a perfect example
because she actually is royalty and was a celebrity.
But, you know, it comes back to this idea of
what we used to value in celebrities,
in royalty, is that they were just
beyond anything we'd imagine.
They inspired awe in us, kind of like
you know, you compare Christians,
who might say like,
"God is this untouchable -- Can't understand him; he's an enigma."
Same with celebrities.
You know, they're the secular God.
We look up to them and we're like,
"We can't even -- Whatever they do,
we can't possibly understand it."
So it kind of started like that
and then now, as you're saying, you know,
what pair of shoes is someone wearing.
It's more just kind of
whether they're people, too.
They have worse lives than us.
The daily grind of getting away from our problems
and kind of escaping by looking at other people's problems.
So that whole process seems to me to be very ephemeral,
meaning it evaporates quickly.
There's no foundation.
It's not like owning a building in Manhattan
that you know is gonna be around a while.
She was Kim Kardashian
eight years ago, I think.
And now you see kind of an aging
not, I guess, that hot anymore gal
doing a revamp of a cheeseburger commercial
where she's in a bikini sitting on a car
and it's kind of just very depressing.
How does that play out in like...
Yeah, what you're talking about is
people who are famous because they're famous.
And that's a new thing.
For the most part, that's a new thing.
Paris Hilton is one of the earliest examples of this
that people in our generation would think of -- our generation.
- [ laughs ] - Of course. Yeah.
But yeah, being famous for the sake of being famous is --
That's Paris Hilton, that's Kim Kardashian.
That's the Real Housewives.
They're famous because they're famous.
The difference is
there are plenty of people who are famous because they're talented,
or because they discovered something amazing,
or because they're running a country,
or whatever the case is.
So there are differen kind of categories
of fame and this Paris Hilton type of fame
is very ephemeral.
It does kind of go away.
Nobody has forgotten about
every president, up until now, of the United States.
We can name them all -- Hopefully, you can name them all.
But, you know, probably 20 years from now,
you're not gonna be able to remember Paris Hilton's name.
So that's the difference.
And people who achieve fame by actually doing something memorable,
those are the ones that are actually going to be remembered.
But it doesn't really matter because, you know,
Paris Hilton is in her heyday now
and who knows if
maybe that'll get her through the rest of her life
and she'll have all the money she needs
and have the fame and she's kind of over it
and then she can go live a secluded life.
So the money is an interesting thing.
I think most people are shocked at how little money
celebrities actually make.
[ record scratch ]
Once you get to a point where you can
launch your own line of clothing,
then the world's different.
But there's maybe five, ten of those people in the world.
Whereas there's hundreds of celebrities
who you'd recognize -- Go through the last year's worth
of People magazines, you'll see them all there.
But most of them don't make that much
for a TV series.
Really weird dynamics in this perception of great wealth
that people associate with power
when it's really an illusion.
And so much of Hollywood
is incentivized to have celebrities spend all their dough
because then they need the infrastructure,
meaning the agent, the manager, the next job.
Yeah, and you do hear about a lot of celebrities going bankrupt, right?
That's like one of the common stories
is the celebrity goes bankrupt.
So those people who have --
They probably didn't save their money well.
The seven million a year
would have gotten them through.
Well this is seven million in one year, at the end.
It wasn't like that for years and years.
But that celebrities who do make millions
can still go bankrupt
shows you that the people who get into
the celebrity lifestyle
for the wealth,
which is another reason that people wanna be famous,
are probably -- that type of personality
probably isn't gonna have you maintain your wealth.
Absolutely. And what a lot of people don't understand is
so many celebrities come from small towns in the Midwest
and they came out here desperate and hungry and pretty
and got an acting job through whatever process was involved.
A really nice home in Kansas City
Well, $400,000 in Beverly Hills
doesn't buy you a parking spot.
So a lot of times,
what they think -- In Kansas City
on a million dollars, I don't know,
you can probably retire and live nice.
But a million dollars in California -
no, not even close.
So it's a very different dynamic
and a lot of them are not financial gurus
and so they go bankrupt
and it's incentivized by their managers and their agents
to keep them on the edge of going bankrupt
so that they need the next job
so they have a client to sell into the next deal.
So, a very sad thing,
but that's, I think, why so many go bankrupt.
Pro athletes, you obviously see that a lot, too.
Why do people wanna be famous in the first place?
What do celebrities do with their fame?
How has our perception of celebrity changed?
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Part 1B - The Revenge.