Culture Clips: The ‘It’s Tough to Be Famous’ Edition

katy perry

Ah, celebrity, that fickle bestie of the entertainment world. One minute, you’re all, like, hangin’ out together at posh banquets, dressed to the nines and accepting awards. The next you’re wondering what’s the point of awards at all.

“All the awards shows are fake,” singer (and frequent award winner) Katy Perry told The New York Times, “and all the awards that I’ve won are fake.” She wasn’t speaking about the physical awards themselves, which clearly are not CGI fabrications (though it’d be cool if they were). Rather, she was talking about the rationale award-awarders use to award awards. Perry’s more interested in pleasing her fans, apparently. And given that the singer just became the first person to amass 100 million Twitter followers, she seems to have plenty of those.

But Twitter followers don’t pay the bills. Perry was 95th on Forbes’ annual list of the world’s highest-paid celebrities, clocking in with a mere $33 million in earnings over the last 12 months. She tied with Chance the Rapper for the honor—and keep in mind, Chance didn’t even put his last album up for sale.

Rapper Sean Combs topped the list with $130 million—thanks mainly to his dealings with his Sean John clothing line and partnership with a vodka company. (His Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour didn’t hurt, either.) Queen Bey, aka Beyoncé Knowles, finished second with $105 million, author J.K. Rowling was third ($95 million), musician Drake fourth ($94 million) and soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo flopped to fifth ($93 million).

But is all the money and fame really worth the hassle of celebrity? Maybe, but singer Demi Lovato says that if she had to do it all over again, she wouldn’t have entered the entertainment biz at age 8. “It was a difficult transition from child star to transform into a mainstream artist,” she said at the Cannes Lions festival. In another interview, she said, “You have to find your identity. … For so long, you’ve been molded and then you’re expected to figure out who you are in front of the whole world.”

For some, the cost of seeking celebrity can be shockingly high. We reported last week on the allegations of sexual abuse on the set of ABC’s Bachelor in Paradise. But according to James Callenberger, a veteran reality TV producer, a “drunken hook-up is the coin of the realm” in reality television. Producers encourage certain romantic matches. They grease the way with alcohol. And then they film the results. From Callenberger in Vulture:

[quote] That’s likely why, per reports, the producer who complained about [Corinne] Olympios and [DeMario] Jackson’s encounter didn’t step in and stop it while it was happening. During filming, producers are hyperfocused on two questions: Is this good TV, and how can I make it better? Only after the fact do they consider what happened from a moral and legal perspective.

Meanwhile, another case of alleged sexual assault was playing out in court with inconclusive results. Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial, wherein he was accused of drugging and assaulting Andrea Constand, ended in a mistrial, allowing Cosby to go free, at least temporarily. Montgomery County District Attorney says that he’ll prosecute the case again. The next trial could begin in just a few months.

We saw a much different outcome in the trial of Michelle Carter, the teen accused of encouraging Conrad Roy III, via phone and text, to kill himself. Roy did just that, and Carter, now 20, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. She could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.

When it comes to the average teen, though, we’ve got some encouraging news to report: Teens are losing their taste for cigarettes, with smoking rates hitting an all-time low. And even though many teens picked up e-cigarettes as a substitute, use of those devices is also now shrinking. About 2.2 million students (in both middle and high school) used e-cigarettes in 2016. That sounds like a lot, but consider that 3 million used them in 2015. That’s a pretty substantial drop.

But while teens may not be picking up cigarettes these days, they’re not picking up much of anything else, either—including their feet. The average teen is getting as much exercise as the average 60-year-old these days, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study.

Are phones to blame? If so, a Colorado group wants to make sure young kids don’t pick up the habit. Parents Against Underage Smartphones want to make it illegal to sell phones to kids under the age of 13. “Eventually kids are going to get phones and join the world, and I think we all know that, but little children, there’s just no good that comes from that,” says group founder Tim Farnum.

(If the initiative catches on, it’ll make it hard for kids to play the Pokémon GO knockoff Garfield GO.)

Finally, it sounds like Sherlock’s Martin Freeman has plans to make John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost into a TV show. For those who haven’t read the classic story, Milton’s story explores the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and features Satan as a main character. One of Freeman’s production partners called it a “biblical Game of Thrones, transporting the reader into an internecine world of political intrigue and incredible violence.”

Um, yay?

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Inkfeather1 . More than 1 year ago
Making it illegal to sell phones to kids under 13 is not going to do any good. Are kids that young even buying phones? I'm pretty sure that it's parents doing the buying and then giving the phone to their children, which this law won't make illegal so what's the point? It's stupid anyway to blame the phones for everything. It's the parent's job to limit their children's electronic use, and their right to make the decision about whether or not the child even needs a phone. 
bobed More than 1 year ago
PI, I have a correction for a review of yours. I was glancing at your review for Lorde's Melodrama and noticed you made a mistake. Is the singer not from New Zealand, not Australia?
bobed More than 1 year ago
So now Hollyweird wants to pervert Biblical stories. I am disgusted. I hope this TV show never sees the light of day. Lord, cancel it before it begins!
Inkfeather1 . More than 1 year ago
Actually, Hollywood is "perverting" a 17th century epic poem, not the Bible. It probably won't work out though, from what I've read there's not much material to work with and the more creative liberties they take the less people will like it.  It will probably only last for 1-2 seasons, if it gets off the ground at all.

Also, this isn't something Hollywood is just now doing. Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings are a couple of movies I remember that got negative reviews for getting creative with Bible stories. Both were released three years ago.
bobed More than 1 year ago
It isn't new, no. Exodus was blasphemy. It presented the works of God as simply Moses's hallucinations. The same happened with the blasphemous adaptation of Noah. You're right - twisting of God's word is nothing new for Hollywood. 

As for Paradise Lost, I suppose it was the original blasphemy. I see nothing epic about defying the Lord's direct command: "And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life."
milhistorian More than 1 year ago
Err...Milton didn't take anything out of the Bible.
bobed More than 1 year ago
Adding is also prohibited, FYI.
Evan Weisensel More than 1 year ago
Except Milton never claimed that Paradise Lost was anything more than more or less fan fiction, FYI.
bobed More than 1 year ago
Fan fiction? What on Earth is the difference? What is your point?! No matter what you call it - fan fiction or no - it is against the Bible. 
Inkfeather1 . More than 1 year ago
I guess it depends on your definition of blasphemy. If it's anything you don't like, then Paradise Lost fits. It seems more like it was a social commentary about the government of the time though, and most people don't see anything wrong with it.
bobed More than 1 year ago
Social commentary about contemporary government does not belong in twisted Biblical stories. The Bible is the Bible. It is complete and whole. It needs no additions or "commentary."
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
Inkfeather1 . More than 1 year ago
To be fair though, I doubt the TV show is going to be "accurate and thematic". The way they seem to be already advertising it's violence makes it look like it's just another cash grab more than anything deep and meaningful. We'll see.
Evan Weisensel More than 1 year ago
Yeah, probably. Does sound interesting though.
Inkfeather1 . More than 1 year ago
It does sound interesting. I'd even be willing to give it a try when it comes out. But I don't find nearly any TV shows today interesting, so I'm not holding my breath :)
Evan Weisensel More than 1 year ago
For some reason they deleted my comment. Why though?
Inkfeather1 . More than 1 year ago
They do that when we start bickering/getting off topic. It keeps the thread neat I guess.
Evan Weisensel More than 1 year ago
That's a good thing to do.