A slow but steady stream of criticism to the MySpace, Friendster, Cobrasnake set appeared from the onset of when these social networking sites and sites devoted to raising ordinary people to the status of celebrity popped up.
For as much as people were fascinated with the idea that an ordinary person’s picture could be seen from anywhere on the world via the Internet, an emerging group of people have continued to argue that the Internet has led to the downfall of culture as more people hail the likes of individuals who have not necessarily done much of anything (other than boast maybe 1 million and counting MySpace friends or had their pictures snapped in various L.A. hot spots) to gain their celebrity.
So, when Cory Kennedy, the 17-year-old high school senior, was featured on the cover of Nylon magazine’s October issue it may have been enough to ponder in what direction the Internet is taking us.
After all, Kennedy became famous for her blog about her life and pictures posted by Mark the Cobrasnake who takes pictures of people at Los Angeles clubs. She’s hailed as “stylish” and a “fashionista” quite possibly more so because people can’t quite make out the jumbled mix of layers she is often wearing. And so instead of looking at her as dressing like some bag lady, she’s viewed as avant garde. And her jaded cynicism about how she can’t wait to get out of high school (because she doesn’t fit in) so that she can go to college and get on with “my adult life” (as she told Nylon) just seems so regular that it baffles anyone asking what’s so great about her. Through her vlogs, she was able to getfans and build her network on the realm of social media. Indeed, social media platforms are a new area where people can showcase their skills and talent so they can become an amateur celebrity.
So, the greatest question is what she and others like her – Internet celebrities – will do with their fame since their 15 minutes came quick enough via the web. What wonderful talent or gift do they have to offer other than being normal? Well, Tila Tequila seemed to take her fame as a ticket to get on TV so that she could be the host of her own reality show where she attempts to look for love in the most contrived way possible.
And, if all of a sudden American culture is fascinated with the amateur, then what does that mean? We love ourselves? If that were the case then there would be no such thing as the concept of celebrity since we would all be celebrities.
We certainly don’t hail do-gooders or people in charities with as much respect and awe as we do a Cory Kennedy or Tila Tequila. So, maybe the fascination is nothing more than a mob mentality. The more people become fascinated with the idea that Joe Blow off the street is acceptable to the masses, the more that person becomes “famous.”
The whole idea may leave an unsettling taste in the mouths of people who lambast the whole system for bringing down American values and culture, but no one can certainly hate the people who have been able to manipulate the whole situation. After all, if people are dumb enough to eat it up, then why not rise to the likes of a Cory Kennedy or Tila Tequila if it can get you somewhere else in the world? See? These people may actually have a bit of intelligence after all.