“The studies indicate we that we attach ourselves most easily to those with whom we share particular attributes- age, gender, class, nationality- or whose attributes we would most like to share. If we identify so closely with stars as public personalities (rather than as roles they play on the screen), then any humiliation or shame their acts might occasion is in some sense “ours” as well. A scandalous act is always vain because it suggests a disregard for the opinion of others.” – Adrienne L. McLean from Introduction to Headlines Hollywood
When it hit the newsstands that Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were getting a divorce, I was shocked. I probably had my mouth gaping open as I stared at the news story, which I vaguely remember seeing on the front cover of many magazines at the grocery store. I was heartbroken. I immediately pointed a finger to Brad Pitt, 99% positive he was at fault. How could sweet, lovable Jennifer Aniston ever do something so horrible? They were a hit couple in the 1990s. I especially remember watching Friends when Brad Pitt guest starred, and thinking how adorable it is that they got to share screen space with each other!
As the quoted passage refers above, we truly rip up a scandal when it hits. We either support the star or crash the star’s image with so much ridicule, it’s absurd. I’m not saying I identify with Jennifer Aniston completely BUT when I saw her on screen and off screen, I loved her personality and I thought time and time again, I would love to have confidence and charisma like she does when I’m her age. By identifying with her in this manner, my heart truly pained for her when I found she was going through this difficult situation.
However, I’ve never thought about this situation before in this matter until I read the above quoted passage. It resonated with me that it’s a little silly that we identify so much with these stars and that we react so much to scandals. Why do we give scandals so much attention? Scandals are essentially in my point of view, a cultural occurrence that we find ourselves having the right to either justify it or throw it down the drain.
What is of interest to me is that scandals have two sides to them, and that’s where after reading Introduction to Headlines Hollywood, I feel we should differentiate between types of the more serious kind and the ones that need less of our attention. We shouldn’t care if one of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills got some plastic surgery but we should care if musicians decide to promote inappropriate things to younger generations. The point is do we though? Are we beginning to at least? Or, do we have to wait for another 10 years to realize what scandals should matter, and what shouldn’t? Time will only tell.