Friday, May 9, 2008
Now Everyone Is Famous Forever
Chuck Klosterman had perceptive essay in last month's Esquire (you know, the issue with the annoying picture of Jessica Simpson shaving?)
His theme is that "Teenage superstar Hannah Montana would be nothing without the Internet. In fact, she is the Internet."
OK, I sort of had a vague idea who Hannah Montana was, but I didn't know the show was about a girl acting as a character. That is, I didn't know that in the show there was Hannah Montana the girl and Hannah Montana the star and that Miley Cyrus plays both of them.
Klosterman says the reason the show is so spectacularly popular is that HM is dealing with a problem every teenager currently has: how to finesse the co-existence of your real, personal life with your created, public image on the internet.
If you have an internet presence, you're crafting an online identity. And this raises all kinds of questions: how much reality goes into that identity? Does it matter? What happens when people meet the real you? Should they?
Klosterman says, the show "premiered at a specific point in history when millions of young people arbitrarily decided they were 'kind of famous.' Most of them would never say that overtly, because no reasonable person ever would. But this is how they feel."
Clever. That may well be true.
I thought of this article the other day when I was reading the Toronto Globe and Mail, and their "Life" section had a story on how lots of people (read: Americans) are paying for professional retouching for their photos on Facebook and Myspace. It made me think, Chuck K. is right: celebrity isn't just for celebrities anymore; it's for everyone.