In the other room, my wife is playing Ethel Merman’s “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and it still stands tall. That woman had some pipes. The song is true on many levels and has me thinking.
Our culture always needs one “everyman” to be in the center of the celebrity world. Jimmy Fallon holds that title, for now. His “Aw Shucks” ability to place himself in the middle of cultural icons and claim them as his own is a little infuriating until you realize, he’s an entertainer and just doing his job. To be outraged by our entertainers is to be distracted by them. This is being entertained on a more personal level: cruelty is a form of entertainment. In fact, it is probably the oldest form around. You are not above it.
Why put so much cultural weight on entertainers? I really don’t care what Kayne West does, I’m sure he has his reasons. Jimmy Fallon is smart and funny (I guess since I don’t watch his show) and has an amazing agent who throws him in front of several cameras. There are plenty more and they all work hard for that fifteen seconds of attention.
How we are entertained hasn’t changed that much in our history. We love to shame people under the banner of social justice. If it validates our seething resentments against whomever or whatever institution making us feel small, so much the better. In fact, that’s perfect.
A world with entertainers is much better than one without. If we didn’t have clowns to take some hits for us, the whole world would look like parts of Syria.
Hollywood Gossip magazines have made truckloads of money pointing out the fragility of human relationships as the pressure of money and constant attention are put on them. The line between us and them, when you think of our own toxic obsessions, is pretty thin.
I embrace the “Karma Is a Bitch” motto, mainly because I’m not clever enough to throw people under the bus myself. If I could do that with impunity, I’m sure I would; but I can’t so…Jimmy Fallon.
So, let’s not get too worked up over what our entertainers are doing. Let’s not make false idols out of them. They have a job to do and get paid to do it. They have families and friends. They have important jobs but, we do too. So, let Jimmy do his job. Part of that job, of course, is letting you kick him around for being too cute and singing with Prince. You just need to know when to stop kicking and get back to work.