Celebrity, and why that word is stupid

Once upon a time, yours truly went to NYC to see Suddenly Last Summer, starring Blythe Danner, Gale Harold, and Carla Gugino. The play wasn't good, but my friends and I waited at the stage door nonetheless to catch a glimpse of the actors.

It was cold, rainy, and I could feel it rattling in my lungs, but no one else seemed to pay heed to the weather conditions. They clamored to get as close to the barrier rope as possible, all of them praying for the chance to see Gale Harold, who eventually emerged in an unfashionable ensemble that I mentally picked apart, just as I would anyone else.

I, too, went up, mostly because he and I had the same hat. And while the other girls cooed and tittered over him, we struck up a short, normal conversation full of sarcasm but graciousness. I was pleasant, so was he, and that was that.

My friends forbade me to ever talk to another celebrity again because I "did it wrong".

I've thought long and hard about this. My feelings haven't changed. Sure, I have my celebrity crushes (Nathan, Sean, Cate, and David Tennant), but I recognize these people as simply that: people.

Acting isn't what it used to be. Back when Hollywood was emerging, acting was about the art. It was about emotion, passion, pushing your body to its absolute limit so it might show up on the brand new Technicolor film. It was Marlon Brando, screaming in the streets. It was Anne Bancroft, a goddess seducing a teenager. It was Fred and Ginger, dancing on pockets of romance and night. These actors and actresses were humble, genuine, and unafraid to take risks.

Now, it's a status symbol. One celebrity can shut down an entire terminal of an airport upon arrival. Malls close for them. Normal, everyday people trip over themselves just to see them, will spend absorbent amounts of money to meet them.

Doesn't anyone realize that acting is simply a job for these celebrities? That's what it all comes down to, at least for me. This is their job, their occupation. Their job is to entertain, just as it's your co-worker's job to make sure there are cover sheets on your TPS reports, just as it's your boss's job to keep you in line and make sure you're not wanking to internet porn during company hours. But you don't see paparazzi lining the elevator when your superior comes into work in the morning, nor do you see restaurants and department stores giving things away for free just because your neighbor, the accountant; the teacher; the cashier walked through the door. Acting is their job -- granted, it's one of the coolest jobs to have, but it's still a job.

I don't go crazy over celebrities because they're regular people. So the next time you see Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie walking down the street together, leave them alone. You don't harass other complete strangers for living their lives. Extend celebrities the same courtesy.

It's just a job, people. Just a job.