Monday, January 14, 2013

The Responsibility of Fame

I've never wanted to be famous. I'd love to be a great actor or writer, but the fame is something I don't aspire to.

Some people live for fame. This is why we have so many reality shows with average people doing idiotic things, or airing all their dirty laundry so they can have their fifteen minutes of fame. It's like a drug. They always need more. We judge each other's (and I hate this word) "relevance" by how many Twitter followers they have, or how high their ratings are. Just because a lot of people watch you be an idiot, doesn't make you any less an idiot.

For all those fame hungry whores, there are people who are doing what they do because they love it, or their work happens to be in the spotlight.

There's been a lot of talk in the past twelve hours or so about Jodie Foster's acceptance speech at the Golden Globes last night. It was her "I'm Not Coming Out, I've Already Done That, Won't You Leave Me Alone" speech. Some say it was like the ramblings of a mad person. Others, like me, were very touched by the speech. It was honest, and real. Not something we usually expect out of Hollywood.

In a sense, what Jodie was saying to all of us was, "stop expecting me to live up to your expectations." LGBT groups for years have been wanting her to come out publicly as a lesbian. By somehow coming out she would give the rest of us in the LGBT bracket some kind of legitimacy.

I've never been a fan of outing. While it is my private hope that LGBT people in positions of authority, or the spotlight, do come out so the average American can see we're just like everyone else, I don't think we have the right to force them to do it. Coming out can be a difficult process for anyone, and to do it publicly can make it terrifying. What Jodie Foster said last night was that she didn't need to come out because she had already done that years ago to the people who mattered to her. She didn't need to make a public declaration.

This pissed off some gay groups who think she owes us something. No, she doesn't. She's given forty seven years to the public eye. Leave her the hell alone.

I know there are many advantages to being famous. You get free stuff and you get great tables in restaurants. Other than that it's more responsibility than it's worth.

I've always liked Jodie Foster, but now I think I'm in love with her. She showed true courage last night when she stood up against the reality show train wreck which is our society today. I have no doubt she will continue to leave her mark here on Earth, even if it isn't done on three thousand screens.

Don't we all affect one another in quiet, private ways? My greatest heroes are not celebrities, but they are my parents, my grandparents, an acting teacher, a fellow writer, a hospice volunteer, a Mom whose husband was in Afghanistan, a friend with an autistic child, and so many other people. Maybe none of them will ever be famous, but they will have left their mark on many of us. Aren't those the true role models?

Let's stop looking to professional ballplayers, and actors, and rock stars, and politicians to be our heroes. They don't owe us anything. Let's look to the single mother next door if we really want to be inspired.


  1. Love this. My feelings exactly. Beautiful, my friend.

  2. Thanks for these words, Rick. I've never been a fan of outting people and believe the LGBT community should be just as diverse as the rest of the world. Why should we all eat, breath, sleep in the same manner? We're not all the same people.

  3. I do not watch award shows. Just not my thing. I watched Jodie's speech because of your post. Thank you, Rick! We should all be empowered to honor thyself! ~Wendy~