Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Hollywood Babble On & On #168: Does Attention Whoring Really Work?

A recent commenter at this post talked about how stars have lost their air of mystery via the 24/7/365 bottomless tabloid chum bucket, and in turn have lost their real power as stars. I've written in the past of how the quality of stardom has gone way down since Hollywood's Golden Age, and I've even formulated a scientific solution to determine who are real stars and who aren't.

But I'm going to look at a single facet of this modern age of post-stardom, where celebrity is handed willy nilly regardless of ability or appeal. Today, I'm going to talk about attention whoring.

My definition of attention whoring is when a "star" plays along with the whole tabloid chum bucket game in order to promote or extend their own career.

A classic example of this is the recent behaviour of "actress" Megan Fox.

Megan Fox is an attractive girl, though the tattoos are a turn off for me (call me old fashioned) and she's been in the successful Transformers movie, and has landed a some more work, and been a regular on the gossip blogs and tabloids. But I guess that she's feeling a little left out lately because yesterday she got more coverage than the collapse of Lehmann Bros. by confessing to having an affair with a Russian stripper when she was 18.

Is it just me or does this all seem a tad contrived?

I mean it comes across as the sort of movie pitch lobbed in Chatsworth rather than Hollywood with hot girl on girl barely legal action (Google's gonna be sending me the pervs for weeks) and appeals to the most prurient elements in humanity. Toss in a lusty plumber arriving to "fix their pipes" and you've got the plotlines of over a dozen back-room rentals. It also got her scads of media attention, way more than anything she's actually accomplished professionally, you know, with her acting, and will no doubt guarantee her more work.

But will it actually help her career as an actress?

Probably not.

If such shameless attention whoring was truly effective, Paris Hilton's The Hottie & The Nottie would have outshone Titanic and The Dark Knight at the box office.

Because there are two kinds of fame an actor can have.

Real Movie Star Fame (RMSF) is where an actor is someone that people would gladly pay $10+ to spend 2 hours with in a darkened theatre because the audience knows that this actor is appealing, talented, and carries a certain guarantee of quality, if not for the whole film, but at least for their work in it.

Tabloid Schadenfreude-Plank-Spank Fame (TSPSF) is basically where an actor's career is based almost entirely on people feeling superior to the sort of folks getting caught snorting cocaine off the buttocks of a Thai prostitute, while committing Hollywood's gravest sin of being fat, or because the dirty-raincoat brigade has a hankering for collecting their upskirt shots, or shots of them tanning topless to put in their fantasy file. (I'm going to get perv swarmed, I just know it)

Now those few with RMSF can have long, and healthy careers, as long as they avoid the trap of taking what many think is the easy road of TSPSF. It seems like the easy way, because the tabloid chum bucket loves it (they have spaces to fill and a lowest common denominator to reach) but it's a road lined with landmines, booby traps, and quicksand.

I'm not asking that actors live like nuns, I know that impossible for them, they are actors after all, I'm just asking that they act with a little discretion, or maybe even a little class.

With the way Hollywood is right now, that would be an incredible novelty.

And for those folks who have come looking for pictures to fit all the "keywords" Google's going to find in this post here's a picture for you:

Take that as a learning experience.

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