Celebri-spiral™: Enough Already

Our culture is in a celebri-spiral. We're conflicted over our ridiculous, growing celebrity culture consumption via magazines, websites, and TV shows. In 2007, my love/hate conflict made me take to the blog-o-sphere. All writing on this site © Dave Singleton 2009.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

February 10, 2007: Thank You, Grammy Hall

We break from 24/7 coverage of the death of Anna Nicole to focus on something else for a minute. Namely, a celebrity who's aging beautifully.

Diane Keaton is getting the hardest pounding of her career, and no, I don't mean from Warren Beatty.
Her new movie Because I Said So is getting thrashed by the critics. From the clips, it doesn't look "Diane-i-fied," which means sharp, funny, and original. But let's give her a break. She's entitled to a stinker, if it turns out to be bad.

The critics bang their tribal drums in glee over bad reviews, schadenfreude overflowing. Some of the reviews are so personal and mean. Some reviewers have excess bile, and their only quasi-legit outlet is panning someone else's probably well-intentioned art. So while they do that, I'm taking a break from schadenfreude and focusing, instead, on Diane's contribution to the cultural conversation (we are going to get sooooooo sick of that word by the time Hillary finishes with us.)

Unlike the twenty-something celebutards that Pink sings about in her song Stupid Girls, Diane Keaton is an example of a celebrity whose interviews and appearances actually contribute. Unlike previous Celebri-spiral-subject Gwyneth, Diane's comments are thought-provoking without sounding elitist or arrogant. Since becoming the poster woman for the 60-plus set in her hit film Something's Gotta Give, she's talked alot about aging. She brings much wisdom to the typically banal and self-absorbed celebrity interview, a rare feat these days. These are two favorites:

1) The New York Post

"A lot of things happen around the age of 50. My father had died a few years before, and that was so difficult. And then I adopted a baby girl. And everything changed, in terms of looking at the dreams that I had as a younger woman, and realizing that they no longer were really applicable to the life that I was living.

Once I junked them, I felt a lot better. You find yourself more in the moment...you want to be in the moment, living your life in the moment. Not living your life based on what you hope for, some abstract idea of what your life is going to be. It doesn't work to your advantage if you're there a little too much, if you're parked in that zone, the zone of expectations. There's no parking there."

2) The Huffington Post blog

I know the Upside of Turning 60 column she wrote and published is a year old, but I think it's sharp.

"Having just celebrated a "milestone birthday", here is my biggest takeaway after 60 years on the planet: There is great value in being fearless. For too much of my life, I was too afraid, too frightened by it all. That fear is one of my biggest regrets. I wish I had put myself out there a little bit more and experienced people more instead of protecting myself. I spent a lot of time protecting myself. I mean, I've met a lot of extraordinary people over the years -- and I just wish I had been able to open myself up to them more.

I remember when I was filming "Godfather III." My father was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and I flew home. He told me, "I only wish I'd done more. I wish I had worked less at something I didn't really enjoy." I've been blessed to work at something I love, but I wish his words had emboldened me more."

You can make the point that lots of smart people make wise and insightful comments about aging. What she does isn't unique. Why does her opinion count more?

You've got me there.
We listen to celebrities. It's a cultural phenomenon, sickness or bad habit, depending on how judgmental you feel today about the topic.

But if we must, at least it's good when they say something helpful.


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