OPINION // Living The Dream
Has our obsession with celebrity gone too far, and will we even know when it has?
Two nights ago while casually settling in to a re-watch of The Bourne Identity (and yes I am aware how admitting to a re-watch of this trilogy affects my credibility, and what?) a friend sent me an email titled “a gift for you”. Within said email were these:
Yes, they are exactly what they look like: doctored pictures of Leonardo Dicaprio lurking around Cannes during the film festival with a questionably looking Blake Lively A.K.A a very shiny-faced me. That’s right, said friend had spent quite some time replacing Lively’s face with mine because she is aware of two very serious facts. Firstly, I loathe Blake Lively. Her fashion sense (‘Boobsy Legsley to the Go Fug Yourself-inclined) – like, I would never wear the hat, dress or sandals in that first image and I certainly wouldn’t stash my drink bottle into my blazer pocket (it ruins the line!) – and the lisp that suggests she constantly has something stuck in her throat are just the tip of the ice berg in her annoying quirks, and I’m sure you agree. The second truism is my absolute adoration for Leonardo DiCaprio. Thus you can imagine my inflamed and ongoing reaction to the news that these two people were dating. D-Caps, I know you had bad taste but really! At least Gisele’s hot! At least the model you dated after Gisele kept to herself! Lively is ANNOYING and worse, BORING!
Through various personal, public and inappropriately professional outlets I voiced my concerns regarding this union constantly and for several weeks. Sure, part of it was an irony-driven stab at humor but I think, deep down, this union truly pissed me off. In the same way that I was jealous that D-Caps got snapped playing poker with Tobey Maguire and not me, in the same way that a wave of relief swept over me when Carey Mulligan plucked the role of Daisy Buchanan out of the iron grasp of Lively, I was disappointed. Disappointed by someone who I don’t know and who plays emotionally fraught but ultimately unrealistic characters. Some web digging – and common sense – informs me that I’m not the only person similarly concerned with such occurrences. Sites like SimplyLeonardo are “dedicated to the life of work of the actor and humanitarian” and look like this:
These make Photoshop imagery and disdain for his relationship decisions look like a pretty pathetic attempt at fandom. I mean the dedication of sourcing the perfect whimsical backdrop to the serious-yet-sensitive imagery of the actor in the foreground, perfectly accompanied by exceptionally well-thought out linear design? Impressive.
Being obsessed with the rich and famous is obviously nothing new, but have we reached a tipping point? Like everything else following the birth of the internet information is delivered more quickly and from more numerous – and questionable – sources than ever before. And frequently this is positive. I love getting into an argument about the “year that album came out” and being able to instantly fact check it up, and my Trivial Pursuit talents – without cheating, might I add – have increasing several-fold from my ability to retain short, frivolous pieces of information. On the flipside the unreasonable standards Hollywood sets in all manner of livelihood – body image, consumerist ideals, idiocy (reality television shows, anyone?) – are constantly delineated to everyone, including malleable adolescents and aging young adults who only perpetuate this culture by writing nonsensical columns about it.
In the forthcoming Scorsese-directed re-make of The Great Gatsby, Leonardo DiCaprio will play Gatsby, a man drunk and ultimately driven to depression from his obsession with material wealth and high society, arguably the same things we covet about celebrities. Tobey Maguire will play narrator Nick Carraway, an inquisitive outsider who – although frequently found coveting Gatsby’s existence – retains a firm grasp on reality. Going forward let’s hope we all remain the Carraways of this world, because coping with life by being constantly drunk on gin and tonics in ones study isn’t really living, is it.