As this week crawls toward an agonizingly slow close, New York City remains a soggy teabag in too-hot water: puffy, steamed, damp, and fraying. Frankly, we’d all rather be snacking on mackerel in Antarctic bunkers. But that’s just not our reality, which is otherwise two-fold: be on the streets for too long and fumes emanating from trash or smelly people will asphyxiate you. Conversely, stay indoors and you’ll probably end up doing nothing besides tooling around on Twitter, because at 140 characters, it requires minimal exertion and that means fewer puddles of sweat around your apartment. But sadly, in this post-Michael Jackson era, this means that such intensive exploration will probably yield in many sobering truths about your idols. In a world of hashtags, character limits, and no copyeditors, Twitter will kill the celebrity.
The fan-idol relationship has always been premised on an unequal spread of information. In the past, we wanted more. And the stars would feed us little crumbs of information through ancient things like newspapers and Mary Hart. By doing this, they were never really culpable for their actions. And with Twitter’s noise pollution, the exact opposite becomes truer. Sloppy copy, nonsensical outbursts, and even the stray fight are all part of terrible habits among stars. And here are four prominent trends that, if kept up, will probably end up dismantling the cult of celebrity as we know it. Which is good news for Heidi Montag, but unfortunate news for the rest of us.
Logorrhea. We like to believe that the actors and pop singers who make the big bucks are too busy sun-bathing at some rich people-only island. Which makes Kutcher’s Joni Mitchell-quoting tweet annoying. It lacks any real context. And you wonder what could’ve been so important that he felt had to replace all the “you”s with “U”s and if he shouldn’t have been frying crickets for Demi Moore’s dinner instead.
Oversharing. I don’t want to think of my pop stars priming themselves to become lifecasters in the shoddy mold of Julia Allison. But here we are. One-third of the Sugababes, Britain’s biggest girlband (who’ve recently been slashed and dashed on Idolator) tends to tweet TMI bits like, “Pj’s on, pop a movie on, jump in bed with a tub of ice cream, and knock out! Lol night all xxx.” One of the things I like about my pop stars, if not their ability to sing or dance, is that I get to believe that they’re superhuman. Idols, icons, and divas don’t need sleep, food, or visits to the bathroom. But here we basically have a pop star being so candid that she’s one tweet away from tracking her bowel movements.
Banality. We like to think of celebrities as being interesting. Surprise! Most of them aren’t. The nearly-incomparable banality of Gwyneth Paltrow, whose GOOP Twitter is as insipid as you perceive the GOOP enterprise to be: completely or only sort-of. Not to be outdone, there’s the overwhelming banality of Miley Cyrus. She exhibits many emotions, but rarely ever channels it into her music. But it makes us long for the late ’90s, when all pop stars did was sing and dance. They do not have emotions. But they do apparently have PR disasters involving poles.
Typos. Mariah Carey predates most of the Twitter generation. In that way, we’d like to think of her as being perfect and omniscient. And immune to typos. Which makes her tweets so heartbreaking. You’ll recall Carey is having a difficult time with her latest album. But she’s making time to do obscure things that involve, “Still Chillin w/ raerae in the kitchen..having a splashh.” No amount of prayer could force her to connect all the dots and realize that perhaps next January would be a better time to launch her album. But I understand. It is important for celebrities to cut loose and have a “splashh” sometimes. Especially during this sort of heat wave.