Its been said that monsters represent our hidden fears.They are a thinly veiled devices that allow us the reader/viewer to wrestle with the horrors of life at a safe distance. Accordingly these monsters evolve and change over time.
In the Monster Show, author David J Skal encyclopedic account of horror films, he connects the horror of classic Hollywood monster movies (Frankenstein) with the traumas of two world wars and the Depression. Similarly Michael Jones in his book, Monsters From the Id, parallels Dracula and the horrors of syphilis.
I was talking about this with a friend of mine (G.P) who suggested that the latest incarnation of monsters are celebrities. Celebrities! I balked. Are you kidding? Monsters are bad and celebrities are…what monster did you have in mind? I asked. Why vampires, of course.
The culture is drowning in vampires, much like we are drowning in celebrities. Both are everywhere, and both have undergone tremendous make-overs. Most apparently vampires; specifically they are no longer the ugly or grotesque caricatures of the past. Now they are the beautiful boys and girls of The Vampire Diaries, Twilight books, and too many Hollywood productions to count. Still no matter how they change and evolve, they are blood suckers who feed on mortal flesh. (And look hot doing it!)
Now some might laugh, suggesting celebrities are on par with world-wide plagues, while others I’m sure will agree whole-heartedly. But what can’t be argued is that what once was special and unique, celebrity, now seems common and suffocating. You cannot escape them. They are everywhere! They invade your home, your shopping experience, radio, TV and Internet. There is not a venue or subject they won’t ultimately conquer. Cook book? Children’s book? Work-out DVD? jewelry line? Clothing line? Cosmetic/skin care line…(Invasion of the Body Snatchers also comes to mind).
Is there no space, or room for the little guy? Like the body building brute in the old Atlas gym commercials, versus the wimpy guy, they take what they want. When our energies should be focused on more deserving subjects (insert just about anything) we wonder about celebrity births, and Who Wore it Best?
This star power is a double-edged sword. Conversely, and unlike vampires, celebrities respectability seems to have taken a turn for the worse. No longer worshipped from afar, thanks to tabloids, print and otherwise, stars are openly mocked from what they wear (Fashion Police), to who they entertain (JLo). Celebrities we love to hate. Is there any other kind? Taylor Swift, Justin Beiber, the Kardashians, John Mayer, the list goes on and on.
This peculiar industry, worships and derides stars in the same breath. Programs like Fashion Police, and TMZ to name a few. Fashion Police is the best example of the contradiction celebrity industry. A celebration and derision of celebrity, starring celebrities.
It’s as if stars have become villains of a sort, and villains, vampires, have become stars. Weird.