August 7, 2008

A few thoughts on celebrity offspring

I like celebrity gossip as much as the next guy. I might not buy a copy of US Weekly, but I'll flip through it in a waiting room, and I'll absorb all the latest dish online. I like to know who's wearing what and who's sleeping with whom - I think it's a perfectly natural human impulse. But there is one aspect of celebrity worship that I simply do not understand: the attention given to their new babies.

We're all adults here (at least maturity-wise, I presume), so let's be honest about something: ALL BABIES LOOK THE SAME. Unless you see their special parts, you can't even tell if it's a boy or a girl. The only variations are size, skin tone, and amount of hair, but a human baby is a human baby. If you put one of the Brangelina twins in a room with 100 other random babies and instructed someone to find the celebrity spawn in the bunch, they couldn't. Now, if you put 100 random men in a room and instructed someone to pick out the one that Angelina Jolie was sleeping with, you probably could on basis on attractiveness (although there was that Billy Bob Thornton debacle). Or which of 100 evening gowns she had worn. The point is, reading about celebrities is fun because of all the sparkle, glamor, and variety, but their babies are the one thing in their lives that are just like everyone else's. They're not born with halos, lightning scars, or an otherworldly glow - there's nothing distinguishing them from some hick baby born in a trailer park.

I sometimes wonder if the tabloids that pay 19 kajillion dollars for a picture or two of a famous baby half-expect something special. They send out their check, and they get back a picture of the celebrity in question holding...a baby. A regular baby. Honestly, I'm not surprised that more people don't try to scam the bloids by sending in a random Google image of a baby and trying to pass it off as one of famous pedigree, because if it wasn't for the inherent shadiness of the source, NO ONE WOULD BE ABLE TO TELL.

The celebrity baby obsession is also pretty bipolar, however. Once these kids are about a year old (or in the case of adopted children, once they've been with a new celeb family about that long), they fade into oblivion instantly. No one cares. Their baby pictures may have financed three new houses, but by age 1 they're dead to the world. Their only hope of re-entering the media is through one or more of the following: 1) an expos
of their famous mom or dad's bad parenting skills that involves them only as a victim 2) an adorably futile attempt to become a star in their own right and not because of their lineage, or 3) some slutty scandal of their own.

And while some stars savor the publicity that their bundles of joy can bring, others (at least act like they) hate it. This
article about Nicole Kidman and child made me roll my eyes so far back in my head that I didn't know if they'd come back. To summarize, she issues a whiny plea to the paparazzi to leave her newborn daughter Sunday alone. This won't work, because she is a celebrity and gave her baby a stupid name like Sunday (as an aside, who wants to be named after the day of the week that you spend groaning about how you have to go back to work/school?). Hey Nicole, you know how you can get the the shutterbugs away from you and your precious cargo? Go back in time and don't become famous, or don't have a baby. Being a celebrity stunned that paparazzi want to stalk your baby is like being a normal person shocked that their baby isn't potty-trained from birth. As powerful as celebrities are, they are powerless to change the social structures designed to document every second of their lives.

What do you think? Am I alone in being passionately disinterested in celebrity spawn?


Anonymous said...

Well said.

Wo Kai Li said...

I completely agree with you. This practice of worshipping the celebrity baby is completely lost on me.