Notorious Fame

Received one of the more laughable proposals off the web no filter could’ve deterred. Were I Ace Face, were I younger, image conscious, immodest, okay, vastly superficial, thought myself capable of converting into a “brand,” sure, I’d have succumbed.

Instead I rather muse about our current easy accessibility to undeserved celebrity.

Thanks to society’s favorite new devil, rampaging technology, one doesn’t require talent to draw the public eye. After all, two of the fountainheads of this wellspring gained mass renown through incidents that when propriety and discretion ruled, when self-control a sought and practiced virtue, would’ve suffered utter mortification.

Yet Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian, each woman fucked then fucked over for our viewing pleasure, turned her respective private intimate moments-cum-sudden explosive public exposure into fabulousness. Some segments of the public have even conferred respect on them.

Hmmm.

Not from the initial acts which brought them to our one-handed gazing. Tawdry as those revelations were, and rapacious as the exploitation which followed, both women somehow erected solid prosperity upon such louche foundations.

However one regards Kim or Paris, it needs admitting both eventually demonstrated fine examples of turnabout.

These days with our attention spans decreasing and our conduct becoming increasingly crass, who really remembers how either woman gained fame? Frankly seeing the material rewards both have earned aren’t theirs prime instances of ends validating means?

Mustn’t be a cynic to state that some will accept wading through and eating shit if the rewarding pot of gold large enough. One can be cleansed of fecal matter and offal can be scoured from mouths. Harder to remove are lingering memories of smell and taste. Best efforts aside, both remain stubborn reminders. Who can imagine the enormity of the lucre and immensity of the envious audience to endure such?

Obviously my parents should have raised a far more vacant and materialistic son. Indeed, to have attained success in this reality TV field my parents needed to have raised somebody else.

Me? If I were to become a public presence, became, um, popular, I’d hope acknowledgement came through talent. From what bears my byline. Not happenstance nor by life sloppily and carelessly lived. Not through humiliating spectacle.

The offer I scorned from the jump asked me to consider making my quotidian life part of the reality television show menagerie. That is once every liberty possible had been taken with “reality.”

Yes. Thrown into basic cable’s weekly mix of bitchy affluent housewives, drink-sodden Southern gentry and idiot Jersey Shore housemates, an observer who hopes his writing conjures Mencken, Hughes, Breslin, and Benchley. Appearing on TV screens throughout America and dubbed for overseas markets to act up interestingly, outrageously, crudely, or audaciously for the camera.

That show wouldn’t last long. Who’d watch it and why?

Chasing after the right words, the incisive phrase, will never transfix viewers like compounding car scratches then sanding them smooth before applying paint and buffing, or netting king crab on a commercial fishing boat in frigid Alaskan waters. No shortage of Jeanne Dielman moments in writing. Belgian film director Chantal Akerman might’ve appreciated them but these provide nothing for numbskull viewers praying to watch experts mess up or hoping to see calamity strike others from the warm safety of home.

Creation by an individual is a solitary pursuit. Too much develops through interior channels. Creation by an ensemble is a sit-com. Hijinks may ensue.

If ever lured to television, especially the misnamed reality TV genre (we all know these shows are scripted, right?), I’d prefer pursuing the figures whose “real life” escapades are suggested, created, or exaggerated for viewers’ astonishment and amusement intending to delve into what motivates their modern minstrelry. There must be more than simple spotlight seeking. Hopefully there are substantial defects which prompt their need to attract and hog limelight.

A single characteristic these “performers” share is having led nondescript lives before “discovery” or manipulation or becoming shit that’s been thrown against a wall and called art, parabolic mics and Steadicams. What impetus forced them to calve from the pack by bringing, well, really nothing into the open?

They’re not fascinating. Very few even rise to the level of being interesting. Why do viewers devote time and effort watching people who could be their friends or neighbors? Can we consider such exchanges give-and-take hallucinations?

Is there some vicious pleasure gained in seeing others sacrifice every ounce of self-esteem? That’s not entertaining. That’s cringe-worthy. Shouldn’t this arouse either sympathy or embarrassment for the subject?

And away from the cameras, absent the vapid adulation of being reality TV idols, in those quiet alone moments, do any of them understand or risk understanding what hollowed out husks they present and leave as legacies? Roxy Music sang that love is a drug. Maybe fame is more addictive. It leaves more convincing illusions.

I’d hope A.J. Benza would agree.

In any case, the flimsy tender extended me disintegrated quickly. I guess whoever had sent it finally got around to reading my observations.

Was the content deemed too real? Did that scare ‘em?

Inside the Assisted Drinking Facility

No Nevada buddies, no Las Vegas place to call a hangout should such even exist. Life’s dispersal has reduced the number of friends and associates remaining in Tucson, a k a the Desert Margaritaville. This same mortality has also shuttered many of the premises where we caroused while attending Arizona and afterwards.

One of those few elbow-benders which matured with us shares a Las Vegas connection.

During the days and nights of Sin City’s glorious mob rule, the proprietor of a vital, well-known Tucson establishment often gambled away fiendishly in Las Vegas. Away from the tables he proved himself a successful businessman. He headed franchises his family owned throughout the Southwest.

Who remembers what game of chance had buried him? The boys would’ve taken his marker. Doubtlessly both parties would’ve worked out a repayment plan to the outfit’s onerous advantage. However, the businessman defied the inexorability of his losing streak. Convinced the next hand, the next roll held the start of regained fortune he finally put up his enterprise as collateral and continued playing … only to lose everything. Continue reading Inside the Assisted Drinking Facility