Saturday, July 14, 2012

Alec Baldwin: King of Celebrity?

Celebrity fascinates me. I marvel at how a person -- any person -- can manipulate public perception. I can remember a conversation with someone who'd seen Arnold Schwarzenegger and then-wife Maria Shriver being interviewed by Ellen DeGeneres. Something about that interview had persuaded the person I was speaking to that Arnold was a deeply devoted family man. He may not have won any Oscars, but anyone who'd followed the Austrian Oak since Pumping Iron knew the man was a consummate actor, but also an unlikely role model for anything so temperate and onerous as marital fidelity and parental self-control.

Most celebrities only have to be "on" for a few minutes of any given day, which is what makes following the paparazzi so beguiling. These are the guys who do anything they can to peek behind the curtain and pass along the news. We who consider ourselves "savvy" are sure the reality is not what we see. But where, exactly, lie the discrepancies?

The celebrities that blur that line the most are the ones who succeed best. Some do it by keeping the definitions clean: Lady Gaga, Charlie Sheen. But others are somewhat more sophisticated -- adept -- at the art: Alec Baldwin, say.

Here are Lee Siegel's thoughts on the sharpest of the Baldwin Boys -- and some astute observations on the nature of American celebrity in general.

1 comment:

DarkoV said...

Alec Baldwin (and of course Roberto Benigni) do their best impressions of themselves in Woody Allen's "To Rome with Love", an otherwise incredibly irritating movie that becomes watchable only when either of these gentlemen are on screen.
The dialogue (specifically ALL of the women's) is schlocky and embarassing.
..But Alec Baldwin....well, he simply does not have enough scenes.

(BTW, is Jesse Eisenberg's 15 minutes up yet?)