Monday, April 13, 2009

The shame of fame

So, you’re famous. Well done you. Now, thousands of people are going to be watching your every move, idolising you, imitating you, loving you. With great power comes great responsibility. Spiderman could handle it. Can you, Paris Hilton?

You’d think famous people would take on this burden with a little more skill. And some do, I know. I won’t generalise too much as it isn’t fair on the Shakira’s of this world. Oh. You don’t know about Shakira? Not enough do. I’ll tell you later.

Most of the silly little famous people who deface our weekly magazines, our red top newspapers, our websites, our clothing chains, our coca cola cans, our billboards, our every breath, are not up to the job. What’s with Paris Hilton getting let out of jail early? That seemed a trifle unfair. She was sentenced to 45 days in prison for violating a probation order (for drink driving). Four days into her sentence, she was released for ‘medical reasons.’ That judge needed a good talking to. Paris Hilton should have served her time as a lesson to all her fans. If you get caught drink driving, you will have to do the time. Not, if you, mere mortal, get caught drink driving, you, mere mortal, will have to do the time, but I, princess of the parties, will not do the time for my crime because I didn’t really like jail very much. What kind of lesson is that?

Madonna’s latest adoption. We all expected her to waltz in there, grab Mercy, sling her in the back of the private jet and be off. Yes, she’s minted, and that would be a nice alternative for someone who otherwise faces a life of poverty and neglect. But Madonna, let’s not forget, is also over 50, always on tour, divorced and has three children by three fathers. If you took away the Madonna, would that divorced, 50 year old mother of three (by three different fathers) be able to bypass Malawi's strict adoption policies? Unlikely.

If your daily goings on are going to be splashed all over the tabloids for all to judge, then all the more reason for you to be made an example of. Young women can’t be seeing Paris Hilton ‘find god’ in jail, be let out early, then go back to her pink and fluffy life without a second thought to all the humanitarian schools she promised to open. It teaches young women that if they say ‘that’s hot’ and bleach their hair, they can get away with criminal activity.

Young women can’t be seeing Madonna decide it’s time to add to her brood, pick a country, pick a child, and expect the laws to be bent especially for her. It teaches young women that if you sell enough records, do enough yoga, scare enough people with your weird veins, you can have whatever you want. Disregard the law, folks, just get famous like me!

Good work on the stirling music career, Maddie, but if you could just abide by the same governmental laws as the rest of us, that’d teach young, impressionable fans that no amount of money can buy you a child. Good work on the, er, what do you do Paris? But if you could just do your paltry 45 days then it would teach young, impressionable fans that fame can’t buy you a get out of jail free card.

Shakira? Well, since you ask. Shakira is thought of as a princess in Colombia. Not a princess like Paris. She doesn’t turn up in a diamond encrusted car, wearing a diamond encrusted dress, to the opening of an envelope. Shakira is thought of as a princess because she has donated $40 million to the victims of natural disasters. In 1995 she founded the Pies Descalzos Foundation, opening schools for under privileged children. She’s helped thousands of children who couldn’t otherwise afford to get an education. On her 32nd birthday she opened a $6 million school in her hometown of Barranquilla.

For Paris Hilton’s 28th birthday, she cruised by private jet to Las Vegas. You ought to require a license to be famous. And Paris ought to be denied hers.

Shakira sings and dances for a living, but when she gets off a plane, people swoon because she saves lives. She embraces the great responsibility that comes with the great power of fame. Just like Spiderman.


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