Monday, October 5, 2009

America's Most Hated

I'm fascinated in spite of myself by the constant ill-will that certain pop culture figures earn just by, it seems, simply existing. I, like most people I'm sure, tend to view those people in any of three categories: 1) Don't hate them and don't get the hate, 2) Do hate them, 3) Understand the hate but like them anyway. To illustrate:

I don't get the hate:
1. Megan Fox
So first off I know that not everyone hates her. She's got a large male fanbase. But the males that aren't her fans, and most females, seem to have taken to rabidly hating her to counteract the lust coming from said fanbase. I can't for the life of me figure out why. Her "faults" as I've observed seem to include being too pretty (to which I say, whatever, haters to the left), not censoring herself in interviews (my comment here is that she's said a few boneheaded things but mostly I think her lack of filter keeps her interesting, so kudos to her), being an idiot (as I mentioned, she seems to have said in my estimation a few dumb things, but I think this is a harsh criticism, as even if she's no genius she's certainly not more stupid than several other less-hated starlets with her same level of celebrity), being a whore (so she plays up her sexpot image in photoshoots, but as far as I know she's been with the same guy for several years... and that's not taking into account the debatable merits of calling a woman a "whore" to discount her worth), and being a bad actor (which I can't disagree with, but again there are plenty of other celebrities that get away with murder on their projects acting-wise and don't get the kind of vitriol that Megan Fox gets.) So in general, if you were able to make it through the longest sentence ever, I think she's harshly judged and I don't get why.

2. Jennifer Aniston
This poor woman just can't catch a break in my estimation. I'm not on Team Jennifer vs. Team Angelina because I don't care specifically about that drama. I feel bad for her now because I do think that immediately in the aftermath of her breakup with Brad, she mistakenly played into the media's framing of her as the tragic dumpee because she perhaps thought it would gain her sympathy. At this point, I think she has tried to move past that, but she's still getting written about as if she were this pathetic person with a miserable love life. And even worse, the Internet bloggers eviscerate her by accusing her of loving that kind of media attention. I don't know Ms. Aniston personally (obviously) but I've heard enough in-person interviews with her to get the impression that she's pretty down-to-earth and totally over what happened several years ago, no matter how much others want to dredge it up.

I get the hate and fully co-sign:
1. Jon Gosselin
I so tired of hearing about this guy (and frankly all of the Gosselins), but at the same time, every time I hear some new stunt that Jon has pulled after the divorce I have a worse and worse opinion of him. Especially in the last week it seems that Jon has pulled out all of the stops in his Douche Quest 2009, whether it was throwing a hissy fit via lawyers and a poorly spelled sign on the property when TLC ousted his name from the title of the show, or the recent revelation that he emptied his joint account with Kate that is supposed to be for the kids (!!), this guy really screwed up the hand he was dealt. I mean, he went from having the sympathy of many for being married to ball-buster Kate, to an Ed Hardy sporting poster manchild of Extreme Douchebaggery.

2. Katherine Heigl
I don't like her because I think she is a hypocrite. She and Megan Fox have both been been lambasted because they had the gall to criticize directors or projects they've worked on in the past, which I don't think is inherently wrong or just cause for scrutiny. However, Katherine brought the level of a-hole up a notch when she basically gave the finger in print to the writers of Grey's Anatomy in announcing her non-eligibility for that year's Emmys while she was still on the show. Then, she mentioned that she felt her character in Knocked Up was a sexist stereotype, and I felt that she did have a right to say so. But my annoyance developed when she went on to choose even more one-dimensional, stereotypical characters (27 Dresses, The Ugly Truth), and I couldn't help but wonder if she wasn't just airing a personal beef with Judd Apatow et. al by trashing their particular movie. In that scenario, she's unprofessional at best. In another likelier scenario, she's just a hypocrite. She'll keep on choosing sexist roles as long as she gets her Almighty Paycheck, even if they are of the ilk that she's denounced in the past. And I just can't respect that.

I get the hate, but I don't care.
1. Lady Gaga/Kanye West
Both of these inhabit one spot because I feel the exact same way about both of them. I find both of their public personas irritating, ostentatious, and ultimately flash-in-the-pan. I don't consistently enjoy either of their music, but they both have released songs that I do like. However, I do think that (ESPECIALLY when compared to some of their contemporaries) they possess talent in their craft, and within the arena of pop music one could do worse than listen to Kanye or Gaga. People have been crowing with delight at the news that their joint tour was canceled, but I think it would have been a fascinating show due to both of their showmanship and particularly Gaga's proclivity to completely re-work her songs when she sings them live. So I kinda get why people don't like them, but I can't bring myself to hate them because I think they have redeeming qualities.

2. Jessica Simpson
I mostly would just like to see her left alone. She was a crappy pop songstress at the height of her fame, and she was able to capitalize on her (at the time) relationship with Nick Lachey. Now she's not really relevant in mainstream pop culture, despite releasing country records. So I just can't understand for the life of me why people get up the emotion to hate on her still rather than just leaving her alone and ceasing to write about her. She's a non-issue at this point, and unlike other has-beens of her era, she doesn't seem to be always attempting to draw attention to herself every time she goes out. This isn't a "LEAVE JESSICA ALONE!!!" so much as it is a "Why are we still talking about Jessica Simpson?" I'm just really neutral on her entire existence and am surprised that people still seem to take her so seriously.

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