Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Recursive Celebrities Or Hypocrites: Aren't We All?

For those of you who wonder about this sort of thing, I mentioned that the models I used for Wonder Girl in that Teen Titans picture were Rachel Bilson and Natasha Henstridge, but I didn’t mention who I used for reference for Raven and Starfire.
Though I borrowed little more than the pose and some of the shading from her picture, the model used for Raven was actress Karina Lombard.
A little bit more of the model’s actual features made it into the picture of Starfire, for which I used a picture of British model/actress Kelly Brook as a reference.
In addition to dating actor Billy Zane, Kelly Brook is mostly known for having appeared as a love interest for Lex Luthor back on the first season of Smallville.
At least, that’s what she’s known for in the US, but across the pond, she’s one of those British celebrities who is famous simply for being famous.
The UK seems to have a lot of those kinds of recursive celebrities, people who maybe appear here and there in a minor role in a movie, or on a TV show, but primarily they’re known simply for having their pictures taken and printed in tabloids and who seem to have no other occupation than being a semi-famous celebrity. They aren’t the sort of people about whom you can say, “She starred in such and such,” or, “She sings that song whatchmacallit,” because they haven’t really accomplished anything. They’re just attractive and photogenic, and so, somehow, they end up getting their picture taken and achieve some measure of fame.
Granted, we have those kinds of celebrities here in the US – most of whom end up appearing on Dancing with the Stars or The Surreal Life – but we don’t have quite the preponderance of them that the UK does.
In any case, I was sifting through a celebrity picture newsgroup earlier – because obviously I need more pictures even though I have literally thousands more pictures than I could ever hope to put toward any useful purpose – and someone had posted a bunch of pictures culled from the various British tabloids.
Many of the pictures were of pseudo-celebs like Kelly Brook, but a lot of them also featured pictures of American celebrities. Lots of Britney Spears pictures, for example (pretty much all of which I already have).
Unlike American tabloids, their UK counterparts tend not have as many restrictions about what they’ll print uncensored, so a lot of the pictures are of celebs in unguarded moments as they sunbathe topless in St. Bart’s, or as they struggle to climb out of the back of a limo in a dress sans undegarments.
What kills me about the pictures are the headlines that accompany them.
The puns are entertaining (a picture of Cameron Diaz in hip-huggers crouching and showing off a lot of butt cleavage sports text that shouts “Look at Diaz on Cameron!”), but what really gets me is the fact that the headlines often seem to suggest that the editors of the tabloid are shocked and, quite frankly, offended by these displays of flesh, despite the fact that they’re the ones publishing the pictures.
It’s as though they realize that they’re appealing to the prurient, voyeuristic aspects of their readership, but at the same time they play at having some kind of high-minded sense of propriety.
It’s not terribly surprising, and it’s not something that’s confined to the British, or to tabloids, but it is a very obvious, and amusing, example of the way the press often attempts to have it both ways, and this particular way of doing things just seems to be a manifestation that is peculiarly British.
Over here in the states there’s a particular brand of double standard that is peculiar, I think, to America.
Every other week you’ll see a tabloid that features pictures of Nicole Richie and some other skeletally thin celebrities across the cover with sensationalistic headlines about “Hollywood’s Deadly Dieting Obsession!”
Inside you’ll find a story about how the body-obsessed Hollywood culture perpetuates an unrealistic ideal that can only be achieved at tremendous cost to the health of the women trying to attain that ideal. The story will feature quotes from bulimic or anorexic women (famous and otherwise) and health experts who talk about the damage that this morbid obsession with being thin is having on the women in the industry and the average American women who are trying to emulate the stars they love.
It’s so touching how concerned these tabloids are about the health of American woman and you applaud their efforts to promote healthy and realistic body images!
Then you turn the page and see a picture of a female celebrity, taken at an awkward angle, who appears to be retaining water and is wearing an unflattering, shapeless outfit, and the headline reads, “Jessica Simpson Has Become A Fat, Disgusting Cow!” and the article goes on to talk about how nobody loves fat people.
Turn a few more pages and you’ll encounter one ad after another promoting some new miracle product that promises effective and immediate weight loss and which will finally make you an attractive, worthwhile person rather than a disgusting lump of fat.
The messages presented here aren’t just mixed, they’re pureed.
Of course, it’s silly of me to point out the hypocrisy here, as there’s hypocrisy everywhere, particularly in the world of the celebrated.
I often think about the hypocrisy involved in a Web site like The Bi-Daily Celebrity Nudes – a site, if you visit regularly, you will see has at least three things wrong with its name – making fun of the paparazzi even as it posts pictures of celebrities provided by the paparazzi.
And then there’s me, poking fun at it even as I download the pictures of celebrities – which, as mentioned, I really don’t need at this point – and poking fun of the cult of celebrity even as I help to perpetuate it, though I try to justify it in terms of my “art.”
Oh well; so we’re all a bunch of hypocrites. What else is new?
Not much of anything in my life, that’s for sure.
I’ve been up for hours and have accomplished little more than shaving and taking a shower, though given that I don’t actually have to go anywhere today, I’d say that’s something of an accomplishment.
I’ve got a picture I started on yesterday (of a celebrity, of course) that I could be working on, but I really don’t feel up to it. After all, I’ve been fairly productive this work, as the one Teen Titans picture actually consists of three pictures.
Yeah, I know, that’s just more justification.
I suppose I should try to find something to do.

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