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.

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