Celebrity Toilet Training
In September 2018 I visited California, the first stop on the trip being LA.
We stayed in a hotel in north Hollywood and on day two, while sitting by the pool, my girlfriend noticed that a couple of sun loungers down sat the singer from one of our favorite bands.
I was in the hotel gym at the time, but received a barrage of text messages telling me that he was there.
I joined her by the pool and sure enough he was there and both of us, for some reason, were kind of nervous and star struck.
Wondering what I did next?
I didn't go talk to him, I didn't ask for a selfie and didn't take a picture on the sly or tweet about it.
He was sitting by the pool with his family relaxing and I am a complete stranger who happens to like his music.
I felt that it would be rude to go over and interrupt, and anyway, in that moment he was just a dad sitting there with his two young kids.
But in our fucked up culture he's a celebrity. Which for some gives people the ‘right’ to pester him in exchange for being worshiped and pandered to.
At this point you're probably dying to know who it was...
That kind of says it all - we are obsessed with celebrities and the idea of 'celebrity' and that really bothers me.
What does it all mean
You shall not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it.
I'm not a religious man, but it's hard to argue with many of the lessons present in the bible (though it's also easy to argue with many of them).
It feels like we all too often put people on a pedestal. We look at famous actors, musicians and artists as being better than us. That they sit on a higher plane of humanity.
Perhaps we perpetuate this because we think we can get there some day and want to receive the same adoration. We don't upset the status quo because we want our turn.
This cult of celebrity has exploded globally with the advent of the internet.
We've always had celebrities but they were almost exclusively actors or musicians. They produced some form of art that enhanced society in some way, for some people.
These days we have a new tier of celebrity.
They are like proto-celebrities who exist as a tool for advertisers.
So there are the proles, you and I, the influencers and the celebrities. Sometimes influencers become celebrities and sometimes celebrities are demoted to the role of influencer.
Either way it is all bad, because as soon as we stick people up on that pedestal we put them in a position to manipulate and exploit us.
We also use this special status to treat them in pretty awful ways. Harassment, abuse, judgement and invasion of privacy - we do it all, either directly or indirectly. It's like we think that their money/social status means they don't get to complain about it.
I'm dangerously close to going on a rant here, so I want to divert quickly and head for the real point.
If you ever find yourself thinking of someone else as being better than you because of their position in this new social hierarchy, or if you feel like tearing someone down because they are famous and made a mistake, try this little exercise.
Picture them taking a shit
Everybody shits, and if you're eating properly you should probably do it at least once every day, so there's no need to get disgusted.
Now I want you to think of a person that you would maybe describe as an idol or hero of yours.
Now I want you to picture them pants down, red faced and grunting.
Strip away the glamour, the choreographed publicist made image. Take them at their most vulnerable and primitive moment. See them for what they are - just another human doing what humans do.
This works even better if the person you idolize is into clubbing, rock and roll lifestyle or drugs. Their shits are guaranteed to be awful affairs. Diarrhea and constipation almost certain, followed by painful wiping.
Remember, this isn't just about taking people down a level, it's about reminding yourself that these people we all look up to are just people. They don't deserve to be hounded or abused, just like the rest of us don't deserve to be manipulated or exploited.
Give it a try - we're all the same when we're taking a shit.