Almost Famous: Can the FBI finally make you a star?
Fame is intoxicating. At least it must be. Look what it’s done for Mel Gibson. Being drunk on fame is about the only excuse Riggs has left these days. And yet even as the daisy chain of celeb implosions continues to grow, obsession with personal fame remains. Ah yes, life would be so much easier if only I were famous.
Unfortunately, it would. One look at the spastics on The Hills or the un-hireables from the Jersey Shore proves that once the cameras turn your way life is never the same again: gobs of money for doing very little, easy sex plus attention and adulation far beyond what is healthy for anyone (except maybe Regis Philbin). Reality TV has changed the fame landscape like few others and allowed for the creation of “stars” from knot-heads doing little more than being themselves. No marketable skills required to get famous these days – just your own personal brand of crazy stamped by a network as official and then broadcast without shame or introspection of any kind.
So as fame is downgraded (or, if you prefer, democratized) we see less difference between fame and infamy than ever before. It doesn’t matter what you’re known for, just that you’re known, and therein lay the problem. What’s left when you’re not connected enough to get on “The Situation’s” erotic events guest list or appropriately vacant to warrant an appearance in Paris Hilton’s next sex tape? Call in the FBI.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has commandeered (okay, Clear Channel outdoor says they offered but I bet the Feds stormed their offices one day and demanded) a digital billboard in Manhattan. The Great White Way now offers criminal faces forty feet high, placing a modern spin on the post office rogues gallery of long ago. And why not? Who even goes to the post office anymore? Those dudes are crazy (I blame the uniforms – and UPS). No, in these media saturated times the FBI had to step it up. But will the universal desire for fame collide with infamy and cause more than one numb nut to up the ante crime wise as he seeks to win himself a place on the Big Apple’s crime board? Lots of cons can do hard time standing on their heads, but how much easier would it be if they were assured a payday, and a career, as a dunderhead celebrity when they come out. Marky Mark actually had to pump weights, audition, get cast and then be willing to flash his knicks to get his mug displayed for all to see. How hard is it for the average snot bag criminal to make their crime a little more cinematically heinous? It sounds crazy but you’ll know I’m right when mug shots start showing up more posed and with copyright symbols attached. It’s coming and it’s going to be sick – I just know it.
Yes, it’s unfair to pick on the FBI. They’re just trying to catch these dirt bags to protect the rest of us. Now here I am giving them grief about some loser who might try to get famous from being on a billboard. Well, like it or not, in a world where truth is relative there’s no big deal with committing a few extra spectacular, news-worthy crimes before continuing the storyline on through to the appropriately sympathetic and sorry stage. Add in a skeevy, bottom-feeding agent and a take-no-prisoners publicist and it all makes sense. Never forget, anything can be rehabilitated. From Kobe’s indiscretions to Tiger’s insatiability to Mel’s moody madness. Eventually, even the worst of images can be repaired and when it is, that triple murderer with the handsome good looks and nice smile might just be the next Keith Olbermann. Not that Keith ever murdered anyone. He just sort of looks like he could – but only when he’s mad – really, really mad, like when someone screws up his sandwich or bulk Brylcreem order. No, like it or not, fame works so we’re stuck with it. I wonder if my agent could call the FBI’s agent? Maybe they could set up a lunch………