We’re All Celebrities by teZa Lord
The Many Gifts of Covid-Time
There are so many surprising things the pandemic has shown us, and continues to show us — personally, and as a united family of blended humankind. One thing it’s shown us is that the age of the celebrity is COVID dead.
I’m thinking about many things: society’s much-needed “reset” (too many choices, too many extravaganzas, too much, too much!); every household’s simplification (hey, how’s your home-cooking going?); and the importance of daily routine, exercise, and keeping in touch, however we can ( I have met Zoom-resistors, but they’re extremely rare now).
One important way we’re changing, one I’m extremely grateful for … is in realizing that each and every one of us alive on the planet at this time is important. We are ALL celebrities. We are survivors!
Before Covid-19, most people I ran into in my circle as an artist who writes were only interested in “the work” I made if I were famous, had “a following,” or were “a blue-chip name.” In other words, if I were a celebrity. Which I’ve never been interested in being. On the contrary, I’ve gone out of my way to shy away from any public recognition, for various reasons. Want to know some? Because, yes, it’s true that most people who set out to be creative changemakers (doing original-idea stuff, whether in the world of music, dance, literary, visual, etc.) want the public to know about them and their outpourings.
Why I Chose to Remain Anonymous for Decades
- When I was asked to audition for a part in Spielberg’s JAWS, the movie in which I was one of only two women working as set builders there in Martha’s Vineyard … I wasn’t interested in Hollywood, because I was addicted to being a blue-water adventurer on sailboats by then, and … was too involved in my own heart-pull to bother with anyone else’s imposition. So I declined the offer.
- Instead of making things that “appealed” to the public’s taste, as I was directed to do by prominent gallerists when I finally traveled to New York City, from a decade living in the most primitive spot in the West Indies, back in the 70s, I wanted to follow my heart’s calling. Again, heart won over head, and I returned to my jungle life realizing the Ahrt World was not interested in what I was doing … exploring Spirit and inter-species interconnectedness.
- And then, when I met my art mentor, Hundertwasser, during the time I lived in exile from the materialism of Amerika, I listened to what he told me. H, who’d never pursued fame but who embraced it at a very early age and “danced” with it for the entirety of his seventy-one years on this gorgeous planet, told me: “Don’t pay attention to anyone who doesn’t respond to your work. Ever.”
Why Covid-19 Has ReSet Our Culture’s Priorities
Today, having lived, like you, with Covid hovering over us like a black cloud for these past 9 months, in mostly isolation, I gratefully realize the reset in our culture has already occurred. Thanks to the ever-increasing threat of infection from a microscopic virus, the likes of which hasn’t existed since my grandfather, a newly arrived Lithuanian immigrant back in 1918, managed to be the only survivor in his Army barrack, thanks to the bread-and-onion sandwich he smartly ingested at bedtime when he felt the disease that would kill all his bunk-mates by morning, such was that pandemic’s virulence … all of us survivors have a chance to re-think what’s important in life.
Some of us are wondering if we should even go down the street to gather in small groups to celebrate Thanksgiving. I’m giving myself permission to make up my mind on Thanksgiving morning, after my husband cooks the bird, and I, the pies. The other big change I’m thinking about is how people in general are NOW much more interested in so-called ordinary people than they used to be before the pandemic. We’re all in the same boat, aren’t we? We’re all celebrities, of sorts. We’re surviving Covid.
Before Covid, it was the mega-star, the super-concert, the mind-blowing pyrotechnics that turned us on, that could only elicit interest from an over-stimulated culture that’d become uber-saturated with … everything! Too many choices for toilet paper! So what happened? First, there was a dearth of TP, so much so that we’d dare not mention the extra rolls we might have in our hidden cupboard, per our usual custom, nothing panicky-pandemic stuff, just survivor-smart ordinary things like the supplies we needed for brushing teeth and washing away everyday grime and dirt.
So now we can’t sit distracted, entertained in darkened theaters and see the next, the next, and the NEXT mind-blowing new film, can we? I happen to know the daily struggles of Hollywood’s film industry, because we have a close family member who gives us a weekly update on how it is in Tinseltown. It ain’t a pretty picture. Uncertainty is as common as the nurse administering the daily Covid-tests before that day’s shoot, months postponed already, can get underway. When a crew or cast member tests positive, the entire set is shut down for another two weeks. Inch by inch, a film here and there gets made.
The MESSAGE That COVID Has Sweetly Sent Us
And what of us ordinary people? Well, it’s the time when we who are outside the mainstream (by either choice or destiny) of the “Creative River of Fame” get to have a voice. Because of the internet, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, and all of the web’s many streams and rivulets, those of us who don’t shy away from using computers (Goddess Save US!) can participate in creation to our heart’s content.
Except for the occasional Zoom-phobic recluse, that is. And there’ll always be a few of those.
Yet in this time of “Everyone’s a Celebrity,” all of us get a chance to be the next SuperSTAR, the MEGA-wow, the overnight Viral Wonderkind … if that’s what turns us on. And why not? There’s nothing else to do, right?
Aspiring writers who, before, couldn’t get fantastic books of self-discovery backed by “legitimate” publishers can entice anyone to know their story now, thanks to social media “Stories.” A dressed-up miniature fake-toad can get a million followers, just by filling the need to be ridiculous, right now. Forget real life! Make something up! You’re famous!
We are having so much FUN at being ridiculous. And it’s time we did! The mega-super-over-the-top shit is too dangerous now, and … way over the top. It’s good to switch gears from what commercial folks told us before, we should be doing, should be spending our money on … and shaming common ordinary folk into being adrenalin junkies.
Bring on the Instagram Tantalizing Toads! Salute TikTok’s Silly Serpentine Dancers! This Covid-time is here to show us how to loosen UP, get down and get dirty with INSANE creativity!