From Ted Williams To Snooki: The Fame Dynamic Shifts
It feels like just a week ago when Ted Williams was just a baseball player.
By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard some words delivered by the vocal chords of the “Golden-Voiced Homeless Man” and Ohio “resident,” Ted Williams. The overnight (literally, over one night) celebrity seems to be everywhere, and so does his success—first we heard he was offered a position as an announcer for the Cleveland Cavaliers, soon after we found out he was co-opted by Kraft Macaroni & Cheese to voice their campaign. The list of riches his rags turned to goes on and on,all of it truly heartwarming.
With great fame, however, comes great responsibility. On Monday night, LAPD were called to investigate a loud argument in Williams’ hotel room.
This matters not only because Williams may be regressing backwards down the slope that previously drove him to homelessness, but also because it represents a landmark in American pop culture: one where we actually care about the personal lives of voiceover artists.
If you answered ‘no’ to those questions, you’ll agree—the fame dynamic has clearly shifted. Once upon a time, we were given Snooki. Today, we are given an inspiring story and authentic talent recognized by over 13 million. This story paves the way for the Internet as the new American Dream, the new Hollywood, and, perhaps most of all, the new lottery. However, through the Internet, we were also given Antoine Dodson, who recently revealed he will be releasing an album this year.
One could say that celebrity has always been complicated, but that isn’t entirely true.
Until Y2K, it was pretty much common sense: the better looking you are and the more people in high places you seduce, the higher your chance of success.
Then we all bought flat screens and paid for MTV and gave reality shows high enough ratings that they prospered. Then YouTube listened to the people at home who actively disobeyed the Jackass warning of “Do not try this at home.” Then people started talking about Facebook at parties, and the Internet was no longer shy. It was life.
Now that the possibility of fame falls into the hands of the laymen, we simply cannot predict what will come next. This dynamic has severely altered the music business (would you have signed Antoine Dotson?), film industry (catch Justin Bieber in "Never Say Never"), and, apparently, the voiceover business. But in a world where the Kardashians can be famous for nothing of value, isn’t it a bit redeeming to see people like Williams getting the respect they deserve from society?
If you didn’t catch the twinge of sarcasm insinuated in that last sentence, let me clarify: it’s truly hard to determine whether Williams’ fame is a blessing or a curse.
The way we treat our celebrities is like lab rats, and, evident from the coverage of his recent domestic “disturbance,” Williams will be no different. Yes, we will give him the fame and the tools to have a wonderful life, but if he messes up, we will eat him alive.
Contrary to popular belief, for those of us (like Williams) who might screw up every once in a while, the pursuit of happiness might be a lot easier if it didn't involve fame.