December 07, 2004

More Reader Participation!

So yesterday I had a rather promising interview with a media organization that deals with entertainment and the culture of celebrity, and I may be working with them in the future. Therefore, I'm soliciting two things from my readers:

1) Who is your favorite celebrity? Why? (The General Question, designed to elicit the juiciest obscure tidbits about people, along with normal people's reactions to those in the public eye.)

2) Who is your favorite sports figure? Why? (The Specific Question, since my background in sports is a little weak, and I may need to fix this problem, as athletes are part of the Pop Culture Gestalt.)

Have fun. Thanks!

Posted by Attila at December 7, 2004 12:34 PM

1) Mel Gibson - Doesn't pander to Hollywood, and yet still very successful

2) David Robinson - Greatest citizen/athlete since Roberto Clemente (and a Navy alum to boot)

Posted by: JFH at December 7, 2004 12:45 PM

Hmmm, sports would be Ichiro, an amazing athlete & a team player who shows you don't have to be built like a brick wall to lead the league

Celebrity: Margi Lowry

Posted by: jeff at December 7, 2004 07:14 PM

The scandal with Margi being that her name is pronounced with a hard "g," of course.

Posted by: Attila Girl at December 7, 2004 10:04 PM

This is one reason I could never move back to California and still be happy. Celebrity bores me to tears. I try to remember that at first meeting, celebs are just as deserving of my respect as anyone else. But in the back of my mind, I keep wondering about the character of a person who can tolerate, much less desire, the state of being a celebrity.


Of course, I'm all for gainful employment in any reasonable field so I hope you get this if you want it. Then, at least there'll be one person there who will be sensible about these things.


Posted by: k at December 8, 2004 07:29 AM

Your ex knows a lot of actors from working as a television producer. Many of them aren't necessarily interested in the "fame" aspect of the work, but regard it as an occupational hazard.

And most of the people I've met in celebrity journalism aren't particularly awed by celebs; that's what makes them so good at doing their jobs. If you're star-struck, you cannot function in that world. People, Us, the West Coast bureau of Vanity Fair, Star and the like are operated by people who live here in L.A., but are writing for those in the heartland who have never just passed someone famous in the street, and think they would like to. (Trust me: it changes nothing about your life.) [Okay--Vanity Fair is different: it is more oriented toward the coasts.]

As one editor for a celebrity magazine put it to me: "we serve readers--not ourselves." Another woman told me she calls up her mother in the Midwest periodically to ask what she and her friends want to read, and uses that as her guideline in putting her magazine together.

I guess my point is that though I have no particular awe of actors (or whomever--sports figures, singers and the like) I respect the fact that there are people out there who are willing to go in front of a camera and suffer the annoyance of fame so that all the others whose work is behind the camera can eat, and so houses get built, and shops stay in business and the wheels of California's economy hum.

And my hat's off to them.

Posted by: Attila Girl at December 8, 2004 11:49 AM

Well, that's comforting. Maybe you wouldn't be the only sensible one out there after all.

For those who don't go for the celeb bit - or who thought they did, until that rude awakening - I've always felt a lot of pity. Sometimes you do work you love even when the occupational hazards are really nasty. Doesn't mean I should go painting people I don't know with the same brush of extreme privacy needs that works on me.

I don't expect anyone ever to be flawless. When I say I wonder about the character of someone who can tolerate that celeb state, I mean just that. I don't mean I've judged them and found them wanting, or people I needn't respect. It could well be they have a strength I obviously don't.

But I'll always watch them and think about it and see what they're like in that department. Because of my own quirks, that's a red flag to me.

I always respect good work of any kind. That includes even those products of our anthrax-assaulted friends at AMI in Boca. Their general intelligence, family solidarity, sweetness, and basic decency was stunning. Those traits came through loud and clear in the many interviews and background pieces I watched as that unfolded. It held for individual employees and AMI itself, although I must add I've never taken a close look at AMI's corporate character by analyzing their financial reports.

Knowing they're responsible for such things as the National Enquirer etc. created some dissonance for me. I can't get past the damage their false reporting does to some of those very celebs. I myself couldn't work at AMI and still sleep well at night.

But while I truly can't comprehend how to reconcile their positive and negative aspects, I can and do respect them for their qualities. And, I never forget they successfully do a job that meets a need. They satisfy their audience beautifully. Naturally, I'm always in favor of the economic engines purring along. Even if I am an economic contrarian.

Celebrity, in and of itself, just bores me. Can't help it. This means I respect those who can work with it well even more, not less.

I'm also real clear on the difference between "celebrity" and "a celebrity." I love to take each individual person as they are. Jumping to conclusions about people bores me to tears, too. It takes all the excitement out of talking to strangers.

Oh! I'm talking so much I almost forgot why I'm here, for the second time in a row no less.

1) um...still percolating.
2) Gail Devers.


Posted by: k at December 8, 2004 08:53 PM

1) Gary his work, enjoying him in CSI-NY, and love his support of this:

2) John Stockton, retired, Utah him because this is a guy who was never an exceptional talent, he just worked really, really hard...great work ethic, not a whiner, loved his wife and kids, lived quietly, and loved the game.

Other favorite sports figures:

Roy Williams: The classiest coach in the NCAA. Requires his student athletes to be scholars first, athletes second. Great work ethic, great leadership qualities, great coach...he exemplifies what coaching USED TO BE before all teams cared about was winning.

Michael Jordan: An oldy, but a goodie. Was cut from his high school basketball team, worked his arse off, and never looked back...I love the story of the guy who's told no and doesn't quit trying...

Thanks for letting me answer these questions. :)

Posted by: catzmeow at December 10, 2004 11:23 AM

Miss Attila;

My favorite sports figure is Hank Aaron, a humble and understated figure compared to todays athletes. Nothing will ever tarnish his name or records.

My fav celebrity is Gary Sinise, who is a conservative, living in New York, but remains unashamedly who he is.

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