Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Celebrity/Zoo Animal

Being in a foreign country can be a pretty daunting experience sometimes. Before I came to China I read a few travel books about China and a passage in one caught my eye. It was about a Chinese man who went to America and was astounded at how many different kind of people there are there and how nobody could tell he was a foreigner. I honestly didn't think much of the statement at the time, as I had just gotten back from Greece and it was relatively heterogeneous. That statement is a lot more important than I gave it credit for. I stand out like...the only white guy tends to stand out. I was told that sometimes it can make you feel like a zoo animal, and good lord is that accurate.

Walking down the street to do anything everyone stares at you and many people yell "OH HULLO" and then laugh hysterically no matter what you do. Some days it feels nice for everyone to look at you and pay so much attention to you, but some days you are kinda sweaty, need a shower, but had to duck out to the store because you needed to buy more toilet paper. On those days I want to be left alone. That isn't going to happen. Ever. So you have two options I figure; deal with it, or kill everyone you see. I chose to deal with it after some very serious thought.

My favorite way to deal with it is what I call "The Mexican". Anyone who yells "OH HULLO" at me is immediately greeted with "QUE PASO NO HABLO INGLISSS!". I'm sure it all sounds like gibberish to them because I didn't say hello, but I get some pretty priceless looks, and I'm hoping one day somebody starts yelling back in Spanish.

The thing is, these people don't speak English, and the ones that do understand a little English can't understand it if you talk fast anyway. I could say literally anything to them and get away with it. I choose to keep my tongue civil because I don't wanna curse out the one person that speaks English here, but I do like to respond to "OH HULLO" with "AW HELL NAW WHAT UP DOG?!". It probably sounds exactly like "que paso" anyway.

Now, if you think about all that I just wrote, you could apply that directly to being a celebrity couldn't you? Sometimes they feel like shit and just need to pop out to get some bathsoap or some socks or whatever they need to go do. They probably don't always want to have endless attention. In some ways they have it better than me, and in many ways they have it worse. For example, their house is nicer than mine, and they have nicer things than me. On the other hand, I'm not stuck in a magazine with all kinds of conjecture about me all the time. I think that would drive me insane. They also don't have the stress relieving ability to shout Spanish gibberish at everyone on the street, or rather, they would be considered insane if they did that. I can get away with that, no magazine is going to wonder about my mental sanity. Brad Pitt has no such luck (though notably he has other luck). However, in the end, it lead me to the conclusion that celebrity culture is our ultimate human zoo.

I can remember flipping through some celebrity rags when I was at a friends house and in a particularly...philosophical place of mind shall we say, and really thinking about what it is we are doing to these people. There were all kinds of pictures of people doing absolutely mundane crap and every single thing they were wearing and doing was being completely analyzed. It was mind blowing. I do feel bad for those people sometimes.

So keeping with the ongoing cliche theme of this blog I've posted this series of unoriginal thoughts that I had. I'm not entirely happy with the way they ended up, but I suppose one of the purposes of writing is to get better at it.


  1. wear sunglasses. Seems to work for celebrities.

  2. Welcome to the blogosphere! That was quite an interesting post. Thank you!