Monday, July 21, 2014

okay so this is probably just going to be a long-winded, unorganized ramble that may or may not make sense at the end, but i feel like i need to get out my thoughts on this. if you have any thoughts, i'd love to hear them.

see, i've been thinking a lot about abusive artists slash celebrities and people's reactions to them. i'm talking about award-winning singers and actors down to youtube stars and rapist pedophiles down to manipulative jerks. to keep my examples somewhat cohesive, i'll use the youtube sex scandal that happened a few months ago as my scenario just because youtubers fall somewhere between celebrities and "regular people" and i find that sorta fascinating, but really, there are tons of stories about abusive and manipulative celebrities that you can choose from. we all know the scenario: celebrity gets accused of rape/abuse/general scummy behavior, tabloids and gossip rings talk of nothing else for a week or two, furious fans and non-fans vow to boycott the celebrity and ask for his/her head on a stake, "loyal" fans scream just as loudly that said celebrity is innocent or made a mistake and is deserving of forgiveness, celebrity either makes a public apology or denies the accusations or ignores the whole thing completely, story blows over.

okay, so i have several different views on this whole thing, and they may sound and/or be a bit contradictory, but here goes. on the one hand, i'm not sure if i agree with boycotting an artist's work because s/he turns out to be an asshole. not to say i don't agree with it, just that i'm unsure. i always think of my dentist or eye doctor or tax filer guy or waiter in this situation. if i really liked my dentist or had a really great waiter, would i stop going to him because i found out that he manipulated people into having sex with him? or would i separate his work from the rest of him? i can say i'd go one way or the other, but it's hard to know because i will most likely never be in that situation. either i would never learn of his less than honorable behavior or he would be arrested/punished/whatever and the choice would be made for me. i have always had an issue with the way that people feel entitled to celebrities' lives. i mean, i totally get wanting a glimpse into that lifestyle, but at the end of the day, a celebrity doesn't owe me anything. i never understood why they were made out to be role models for the world. it is not a celebrity's job to raise our children or set a good example for them. it's just not. and the way that people feel "betrayed" when a celebrity is involved in a scandal... i just don't get it. aside from the new wave of celebrities that are famous because they are famous, in general, the celebrities give us art, whether that is a movie, song, book, or painting, and that's all you should be expecting from them. going back to the dentist, most people could not care any less if their dentist ate organically or smoked pot or didn't recycle. as long as they clean teeth and fill cavities and don't mess all that stuff up, well, then, it's not our job to worry about what s/he does after hours.

and yet, this is not the case with celebrities. one of the "famous" youtubers that was outed for manipulative behavior was alex day. because he cheated on girlfriends and did not entirely understand the concept of no meaning no, all of his products that were sold on - which included shirts, CDs, etc - were taken down, he lost a substantial number of youtube subscribers, he hasn't made a video since, and he lost a book deal which i think was from a publisher separate from youtube and its community completely. i'm not saying that he should go unpunished, i'm just not sure that this is the right punishment.

i think that's one of the main issues i have with all of this. because we view these celebrities as "other," we hold them to different standards. (although, to be completely fair, rape goes unpunished most of the time, celebrity or not. did you hear about the lady with HIV that was raped and everyone was so horrified that she didn't warn her rapist? the guy ended up getting AIDS and people wanted to start a campaign forcing women with HIV to wear some sort of identity badge so it wouldn't happen again. because that was obviously what we should walk away from that story with, not "don't effing rape people.") if a dentist commits a crime, he is arrested and tried and convicted and punished accordingly. he may have some difficulty getting jobs as a convicted felon, sure, but it's not really the same. in the case of the dentist, we feel we own his job. in the case of the celebrity, we feel we own the person.

however, celebrities *cough* charlie sheen *cough* who not only get off without proper punishment but then go on to use their crappy behavior and subsequent punishment to get more famous and go on tour and start a new tv show, well those people are the scum of the earth and deserve to be boycotted and shunned and whatever else. but for the others? i don't know.

what do you think? does knowing how a creator of content is as a person affect the way that you enjoy their created content? do you think that boycotting said content is a justifiable punishment for being a shitty person? do you think that if celebrities didn't tend to be let off with lighter punishments, people would still boycott their work? i'm honestly curious, so let me know. 

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