Wednesday, April 22, 2009

She Kissed a Guy...So What?

What if I told you I kissed a guy last night? It was 1AM, and we kissed in his car. No big deal, right? You see PDAs on the street, in restaurants, at the movies…they are a fact of life.

For some reason, however, if a celebrity is caught in a lip-lock, they make headlines. Americans today are fascinated by the celebrity lifestyle. We love to know where our favorite celebrities are and what they are doing every second. We go to their favorite restaurants and buy their favorite clothes. We even vest ourselves in their love lives. Given this inexplicable obsession, it is not surprising that scandals such as Brangelina and Madonna/A-Rod have hit the tabloids in the past. Today, however, the tabloids are not alone. Now, thanks to new media, we can watch actual clips of celebrities’ lives on YouTube and enhance our pre-existing obsessions. Currently, the most viewed video on YouTube is “Ashley Tisdale Caught Kissing a Boy at 1AM,” scoring a whopping 251,980 views. So who was the guy? Nobody. Well, where were they doing it? In his car on a fairly quiet street. Scandal? Not really. So what’s the big deal?

Thanks to new networking sources like Twitter and Facebook, the line between the private and public spheres has been blurred. Not only do we have access to people’s personal lives and “statuses,” but we now also expect to know what everyone is doing. Although one may not know Ashley personally, her prominence in American culture makes her seem just as close to us as a new friend on Facebook. Now that YouTube has allowed her PDA to become public, approximately 200,000 people want to see for themselves what their pal Ashley has been up to. Although Ashley Tisdale is simply exhibiting normal American behavior, because of our interest in celebrity life coupled with today’s technology, her actions have become “newsworthy.”

With the help of YouTube, everyday civilians can now elevate themselves to celebrity status. A simple home movie giving a glimpse of your personal life can make you a star. That might sound good for a while, but one should ask himself, when will it stop? Where do we draw the line between public and private? Does such a line still exist? If YouTube mania, along with the popularity of networking sites, persists, the private sphere might not last for long.