For many, fame really has become a prerequisite for happiness. Americans are so saturated by the demanding mundanity of real life that they dream of being plucked out of it and whisked off into the vibrant surrealism of stardom. Life has always kind of sucked for the majority of people. An aristocratic class typically manages to slither its way into parasitism, so the masses can work themselves to death enriching their masters. Christians got through the bleak drudgery of it by dreaming of their own deaths. In the afterlife, everything would be awesome and they could hang out with Jesus’s ghost, and tell God how cool he is for all eternity.
But, where people once had to strain imagine a paradise, we’re confronted by it every single day. Advertising has long ago abandoned the informative route, and turned to what Chomsky would call “deluding [us] with imagery.”
We’re not buying a bottle of watered down Budweiser, we’re buying a pool party with leggy models all dying to fuck us. We’re buying a car that never gets dirty and zips down hypothetical racetracks in places we’ll never visit. Everything is meticulously lit, manicured and surrounded by the antidotes to all our insecurities.
Celebrities represent the fulfillment that lifestyle advertising promises. At least in theory, in our subconscious view of the world. It’s bullshit, but we’ll become involuntarily convinced of it thanks to the onslaught of shining, invincible prosperity we’ll probably see a hundred thousand times more often than we’ll see our grandparents.
Who we are goes from being a product of our actions and beliefs to something defined by our wants and aspirations; our desire to imitate. We can’t let our personas be self-directed or not properly compared to the mainstream ideal. An ideal not belonging to any real person, just a permanent state of radiant euphoria, constructed from an incoherent montage of gleaming teeth and jubilant spontaneity. Individuality becomes frightening, unquantifiable, repulsive.
That’s the torment I see in Mo’s dilemma. Before his dismissal, his role in life was totally defined by his imitation of one person. There was no need to compare himself to any other standard, or worse, find himself. Once his purpose was torn away, and he finds that his likeness is reviled by Angelinos, his limited instincts lead him on a mission to replace one imitation with another. As he experiences the real world for the first time, he goes through a kind of maturation process, each phase represented by another counterfeit persona.
When we take the typical American’s obsession with fame, and magnify it through the impressionable eyes of Mo, we get a reductio ad absurdum of our own unfulfilled dreams.
– Michael D. Caigoy, The Buffalo Beast