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On The Scale: Love and Celebrities February 5, 2015

Posted by michaelnjohns in Uncategorized.

You know I love my celebrities, when I’m not ignoring them.  You know how much I dislike the celebrity magazines and mud-slinging television shows, but I like the guys who were, or are, heroic and dashing, the ladies who were, or are loveable and smart.  Well, I love my movies and TV shows anyway.  When I can escape and watch those plots weaving and unraveling and coming together, I remember why I want to write.  Eventually, this year perhaps, I’ll finish my first novel and move on, assuming inspiration and free time coincide, in an undeniable miracle.  But not today.  Today I have to comment about how the media handles and mishandles our dear celebrities.

I like to hear about the latest projects, and the family developments.  I like to hear some of them talk, off the set.  Some of them are just brilliant, others surprise me with their sense of humor, some are extremely talented at conveying emotions, some are good whether the role is creepy or dramatic or funny, some are just so beautiful, if they didn’t act they could be models.  I like to watch those people.  The celebrity news pretends to love celebrities.  But their love is very shallow.  It only goes so deep as to celebrate the success of a rising star, the awards for popularity, the longevity of a success, and the stability of someone who is stable.

What happens when their project goes south, the movie is a flop, the series is cancelled, the celebrity gets caught in an affair, the celebrity becomes an addict on display and in and out of rehab, the couple gets divorced, they don’t win the award.  What happens is the celebrity gets their name dragged through the mud.  I understand curiosity.  I understand the desire to report “the truth.”  There’s a lot of  so-called “truth” being reported.  But unfortunately, I’m becoming more aware that in the media there is very little “truth in love.” (see Ephesians 4:15)  Sure, the media, indeed Hollywood, is frequently far from Christ, and won’t realistically be held to a Christlike standard.  But why?

The big things the media grabs to have their stories- drug related death, a success story, I have no problem with those because they are real news.  Some celebrities sometimes use drugs.  Sometimes celebrities overdose and die.  Sometimes celebrities are successful or popular, and their project is well written, well acted, well publicized.  It’s fine. But I saw an item that I didn’t think was newsworthy at all, and yet it was on the news feed.  It was trivial, but somehow it was important enough to build a whole story around the idea.  And the way it was reported was just mean-spirited.  When I thought about it, I realized how unfair it is, how backward minded in our supposedly modern era of awareness and enlightenment:

Which celebrities have gained weight?  See the 25 pages of before and after photos.

I thought this was 2015.  Seriously, bullies?

And how hypocritical!

When the news media gets ahold of a bullying story, they’re all about support groups and help for people who’ve been traumatized by the bullies.  Dr. Whoever gets on and talks about the consequences of bullying:  guilt, depression, suicide.  But the celebrity news is immune to being shamed for shaming celebrities.  I say, shame on them for this “truth-without-love” reporting on them.  They are people, and they don’t deserve to be bullied, but they’re bullied for everything that the media and the spinners want to portray as “bad.”  I’ve already weighed in, so to speak, about the vegan and animal rights battle against all carnivores.  There’s no love there, whether one is a celebrity or not.  I daresay there’s very little truth there either.  Except when it boils down, the animal rights lobby wants to shame the carnivores into giving that up.  I understand their argument, but I don’t subscribe to it.  And their tactics won’t work on anyone who eats meat, because we’re not ashamed of it.  Hatred and finger pointing and other kinds of bullying never work to change anyone’s thinking.  Only love works, and even that is an uphill battle.  Ask anyone who tried to nag their spouse, or a family member, to change a habit, they’ll tell you that nothing worked until they showed their love.  The truth by itself only hurts.

The dumbest fat-shaming photo set was beyond dumb, it was ridiculous on so many levels.  Marlon Brando was the last celebrity on the fat shaming list.  I used to weigh less than 200 pounds, back when I was in my 20s.  Several years later I weigh a few pounds more, and it shows in my wardrobe and in my mirror.  My before and after photos show it.  If you love me, and lovingly offer encouragement to me to exercise and eat less, with incentives, I might start to fight that battle.  But if you shame me for being fat, I’m going to sink lower in depression and eat more, and be less motivated to exercise.  Why would a celebrity be any different?  And why was this last photo set just dumb? Because the photos were taken more than 50 years apart.  Who doesn’t gain a little weight every year unless they are vigilant?  And over 50 years, one would expect to become a little more grey, a little less svelte.  Over the years of my marriage, a skin-and-bones thin newlywed, loving life, ate and has gained perhaps 30 lbs.  It spreads ok over my six-foot-two blue eyed frame, but it’s there and I’m aware of it.  But happiness and security will do that to you.

He’s not even alive to feel any shame!  The late, and I might add, great, Marlon Brando, who passed away in 2004. Wait.  I thought this was 2015.  11 years later and you can’t let him rest in peace?  The photos showed a slim and muscular Marlon Brando back in 1951, and a more recent photo showing that Mr Brando had been living a life while enjoying his success, taken about 50 years later.  Shame on them for shaming him for his weight, shame on them twice for speaking ill of the dead.

The rest of the photo set were only predictably offensive, showing various celebrities who probably starved themselves to be so thin, and then with a little success, started to enjoy themselves more.  And the thing about the so-called “fat” photos was, the celebrities looked just fine to me.  They looked perfectly normal, and my attractive female celebrities were at least as attractive as they were when they were “thin.”  Maybe they were even more attractive, at least to me.  I’ve never been one to say anything about someone who was thin, unless of course they had an unhealthy obsession about it.  And I don’t think people become unattractive just because of some weight gain.  I think you might become unattractive if you stop caring for, and about, yourself.  Otherwise, If you’re beautiful, you’re beautiful, end of story.  It’s just one man’s opinion though.  And my opinion probably won’t change the world.

But may I suggest, gently, if we’re going to love our celebrities, let’s love them.  If we’re going to speak the truth about them, let’s speak the truth in love, so as to not be hurtful, careless bullies.  And us normal people could learn how to do that too.  It might have the desired impact, instead of throwing the bullied into further depressed, destructive behaviors.  I’m prone to depression even without a bully’s help.  So I find when my wife is kind to me, it’s a lot easier to do better at living.  She’s so beautiful.  She’s very possibly more beautiful now than when I married her, and if pictures are proof, we’ve both added some to the scale.  I’ve done so less gracefully.  But she’s so encouraging, I’ve started to take the stairs again.  Maybe I’ll be around in 50 years, to still appreciate how beautiful she is.  And maybe I’ll have added a few stubborn pounds to the scale.  By then, though, maybe the world will change.

Maybe people won’t be fat-shaming others any more.  Maybe all forms of bullying will be shamed instead of openly tolerated, or accepted, or celebrated.  Maybe we’ll be speaking the truth in love by then, and in turn, even see the trend of successful and unsuccessful celebrities not surrendering to drugs, alcohol, and other self-destructive vices.  I’ll just say I think that would be a good thing.  Right now, if you weighed love on the scale, I know it would be found unhealthy, anorexic, skeleton-thin, and near death (Daniel 5:27).  Even in the modern, progressive, enlightened world, our love could use some fattening up.  And that’s just sad.

I can hope, but I’m not holding my breath while I’m waiting.  That would be self-destructive and pointless.  But we’ll see.



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