Thursday, July 19, 2007

Sliding Down the Surface of Things

I'm watching a few minutes of this Paula Abdul show on Bravo (I know, I know, bear with me) and it's showing her in New York preparing to do Letterman. She's worried about her impending performance on the show, so she flies in a stylist and a consultant to advise her what to say - this in addition to her usual entourage. She talks about how she wants to the interview to be fun, but is in tears as she rides in her limousine to the Ed Sullivan Theater, her consultant still coaching her on the way. So part of me feels sorry for her - that every appearance is such an ordeal, such a project - but part of me is also dismayed at how celebrities are seldom themselves in these appearances, how they're a carefully-packaged, illusory, market-driven advertisement for themselves.

"It's so simple," she says at one point. "Let me do what I do." If only. There's nothing remotely simple, nothing natural or organic about the manufactured celebrity lifecycle.

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