George Takei: Why we care that his Facebook is 'fake'
George Takei: The Star Trek actor allegedly paid a journalist to pen his Facebook jokes. Why are we surprised by George Takei, and why are we upset?
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Including that post, of course.
In an interview with a media blogger earlier this month, journalist Rick Polito disclosed that he’s one of the authors behind Takei’s Facebook page, earning a rate of $10 a joke. That seemed to be a blow to some of the fans of Takei’s page, which has almost 4.2 million followers and posts – mostly funny pictures – that round up tens of thousands of "likes."
But why do we care that Takei’s jokes are "fake"? And why, when celebrities are the most inauthentic parts of a world where most everything from smiles to stunts are faked for our pleasure, did we ever expect it to be ‘real’?
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Not much about celebrities is unmanaged. When a starlet glides down the red carpet, someone else has choreographed the ‘look’ to be consistent with a brand: pouty and rebellious, in a teen-friendly sort of way, for Kristen Stewart, or goddess-gracing-us-on-earth, for Beyonce. And when a heartthrob goofs in an interview out there in the wild, someone else will handle it, beaming out a press release that expresses whole-hearted, sincere regret.
That’s all part of celebrity culture: novel ghostwriters; clothing lines they didn’t design; body doubles; perfumes and colognes they’ve never smelled.
We know this, and we hate it.
And that’s where social media steps in, as the perceived last (or new) frontier for celebrity authenticity. Facebook and Twitter have been touted as places where we can really get to know those unearthly beings with great hair and white teeth, where celebrities do a bang-up job of convincing us that they really are "one of us," the people.
Mostly, they do so by making us cringe. Those Twitter feeds include those of Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes, tweeters of tweets so outrageously incriminating it’s patently unlikely that a publicist, or at least a good one, was not consulted.
“If U tell lies and post awful things and post awful photos of me on ur blog them ask me to follow you on twitter – I’ll post awful photos of u then block you forever,” Bynes recently tweeted, maturely.