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Saibal Chatterjee: Celebrity overkill
March 15, 2013
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There is no way you can escape them. You want them to get the hell out of your daily dose of entertainment news, but they don’t. They pop up just about everywhere. They hold forth on matters private and public in the tabloid press, in gossip columns, in the social media, and on television shows and snippets. They are the rent-a-quote celebs who never tire of the media spotlight. In fact, they thrive on it.
The question being asked is: is this kind of over-exposure a good idea for entertainers that are, in the material sense, successful but, in terms of pure talent, clearly overrated? In an era in which reality television is rampant and miles and miles of news space has to be filled up 24/7, it probably is.

Until about a decade and a bit ago, too much play in the media for a music or movie star was regarded as the kiss of death. Showbiz pundits would instantly ring the alarm bells when they found a Paris Hilton or a Britney Spears attracting more than her due share of attention from sleaze-obsessed newshounds.

But that was then. Today, a Kim Kardashian has made a full-fledged career out of being a constantly-in-your-face reality television star. Making a spectacle of herself in the full glare of the digital media is serious business for the 32-year-old socialite.

Back then, the flashes in the pan were mere accidents and the hangover lasted only as long as the pan was on the boil. Today the Kardashian Klan including sisters Khloe, Kourtney and half sisters kendall and Kylie Jenner, is never ever out of the news.

In a survey done last year by a leading magazine (Forbes), Kim Kardashian was ranked number one among the world’s most ‘overexposed’ celebrities. It is unlikely that she’d be in danger of being dislodged from that perch anytime soon. 

Only the other day, a pregnant Kim was rushed to a hospital after she took ill on a flight from Paris to Los Angeles. It was a miscarriage scare that turned out to be a false alarm. The fame-obsessed lady was roundly slammed for continuing with her hectic lifestyle and travel schedule even after conceiving boyfriend Kanye West’s baby.

She recently started blogging about motherhood, filling her fans in with details about what was going on in her life. Of course, she was at pains to keep any mention of estranged hubby, basketball player Kris Humphries, out of her Twitter updates.

The private lives of public figures of the Kardashian kind are fair game for all and sundry. R&B star Beyonce Knowles has even produced a documentary (titled Life is But a Dream) that turns the spotlight on her inner world.

The tell-all film puts personal details in the public space, revealing such matters as her miscarriage, media speculation about the Grammy Award-winning entertainer faking her pregnancy, and her decision to fire her dad as her manager.

Beyonce, who is married to rapper and music mogul Jay-Z and is a mother of a one-year-old girl, made the documentary by stringing together conversations that she recorded using the video camera on her computer during the past two years and footage from home videos shot earlier.

Although constantly pursued by pen-pushers and paparazzi over the years, Beyonce was known to be somebody who kept her private life away from the eyes and ears of the world. That has changed following the airing on HBO of Life is But a Dream.

But celebs whose lives are anything but a dream at the moment are of particular interest to gossip columnists. Bickering star couples on the verge of divorce, real-life pairs who blow hot and cold, and romantic twosomes that keeping getting into trouble into each other hog a lot of airtime with their never-ending peccadilloes.

Teen pop sensation Justin Bieber and 20-year-old actor-singer Miley Cyrus are just two such personalities, under a microscope these days more because of their emotional tangles than their professional activities.

It seems that the entertainment industry is swarming with men and women who really have no clue how to conduct themselves when the pressure of constant media pressure gets too hot to handle. Bieber collapsed onstage in the middle of a concert in London on March 7.

The incident happened at the end of what was a rather rough week for the pint-sized teenager. The world followed every blow as the singer kept going on Instagram to air his side of the story regarding being thrown out a London nightspot on his birthday for letting minors in, and then, a few days later, hitting the stage two hours late for a live performance.

And we aren’t even talking about his messy break-up with Selena Gomez, who has announced that she is over and done with “toxic toddler Justin”. The development has obviously hit the Canadian pop star rather hard – he has been wearing a gas mask ever since. Talk of too much fame too early doing strange things to people, especially those that are still in need of being hand-held.

Miley, too, is being hounded by the media for what is being seen as the end of her engagement to Australian actor Liam Hemsworth, who flew back home in early March to take a break from the Hannah Montana star. The latter has been spotted without her engagement ring, strengthening the split rumours.

Two other celebrity couples are constant fixtures in media dispatches, but for completely divergent reasons. On one hand is the Shakira-Gerard Pique pair, who became parents in January this year, with the entire world following the progress of the Colombian singer’s pregnancy. On the other is the Barbadian singer Rihanna, whose now-off, now-on relationship with entertainer Chris Brown never fails to attract attention.

Whether you want it or not, regular updates about the RiRi-Brown affair make it into the mix of news that the world consumes. The twosome has been together since 2005, but it was only in 2008 that they went public with their relationship. But a year later, they went their separate ways after Brown pleaded guilty to assaulting Rihanna.

They are back together again – they were spotted in each other’s company at an LA Lakers versus NY Knicks basketball game – and Rihanna has begun talking about a lifetime of love all over again.

Find that tiresome? May be it is, but that is how the media circus works – it jumps on to anything that delivers cheap thrills to an eager audience and does not cost a bomb to generate.            

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