Celebrities: America’s Royalty
Much ado is being made of Lindsay Lohan’s latest courtroom antics and sentencing. I’ve heard newscasters refer to her as a spoiled brat and question where she gets her sense of entitlement. Considering she’s a “celebrated person,” should we really be surprised she feels deserving of special privileges?
It’s been said that celebrities are the American equivalent of royalty. Let’s look at how they’re treated. They travel with an entourage at their beck and call, ready to serve their every whim. They’re ushered past long lines at clubs and restaurants and escorted to the V.I.P. area. In some cases they are even paid to show up at Tinseltown’s hot spots. They are gifted thousands of dollars in clothing and merchandise by top designers because getting a celebrity’s picture with their brand is worth its weight in advertising gold. As far as freebies are concerned, clothes and purses don’t rival the swag bags valued at about 150 grand they receive as thank-yous just for presenting at the Oscar’s.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. A-list movie stars negotiate contracts with thirty to forty perk points, which are really just financial demands in excess of their salary like on-set nannies, personal chefs and trainers, and even a budget for “incidental expenses.” By the way, those expenses trickle down to you as the movie-goer. If you pay about $10 for your ticket you can estimate about fifty cents to $1 is footing the bill for the stars’ luxury treatment while filming.
It’s not just the benefits they receive that sets celebrities apart. It’s America’s extreme preoccupation with them. It’s not enough to simply admire their creative talent as an actor or musician from afar. Fans demand to know every intimate detail of their personal life. Whenever a starlet steps out of the house her picture lands in the tabloids and it makes TMZ. As much as the stars protest the paparazzi, many of them are more than willing to invite you behind their closed doors. They broadcast even the most mundane activities in their daily lives on Facebook and Twitter. They let us gawk at their luxurious mansions on Cribs and invite us to follow their daily lives on their reality shows.
Getting in trouble doesn’t detract from their dedicated followers. The more stars get busted for bad behavior, the greater the media attention and Google hits they get. It’s as if they can do no wrong. No wonder so many celebrities have an over-inflated ego.
Since Lindsay Lohan was little she’s been on the Hollywood scene. She’s become accustomed to extravagance and privileged treatment. The red carpet is quite literally rolled out for her. It’s no surprise to me that she feels above the law and finds her jail sentence unfair. I’m not suggesting society is to blame for her problems. Personally, I believe she’s an addict in desperate need of an immediate, life-saving intervention. But I do think we need to reevaluate the cult of celebrity and why we choose the people we do to “celebrate.”