Y’know, I don’t really do the celebrity crush thing. When I was a teenager, of course, there were moments, but these days I prefer to find my heroes based on the quality of their character rather than solely for the work that they do. I won’t hand out around the hotels at TIFF in September, hoping to catch a glimpse of someone. I don’t line up for hours for a nano-second with a celeb as they get out of a car. I would never approach a famous person in a restaurant or other public space in order to tell them I “love their work”. That’s just not me. Remember that I work with adolescents, where every day they fall in and out of love with another pop group or celebrity (Jonas Brothers begat Bieber, who begat One Direction …. you see a trend here?). After a while, you just go with the flow.
It’s the reason why I don’t “get” the Twi-hard phenomenon where grown women give up their jobs to follow the stars around from set to set, or the Dead-heads who travel to hear the Grateful Dead. Hey, if it makes you happy, then by all means do it. Just don’t go crazy obsessive or anything – the fact of the matter is, these stars are just average human beings who manage to have really great jobs that are far more visible than your standard nurse or teacher or library technician. I admire them for what they do, but I also admire the neurosurgeon who is spending so much time helping to heal my Dad right now. As well, I worked in London for a long time, and the celebrity model then was very different and very hands-off. Once you’ve stood beside Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson in Sainsbury’s as they’ve discussed the quality of strawberries, or waited as Annie Lennox has debated what paper to buy at the local newsagent, the mystique is pretty much shot, and you see them for the average people they really are.
Having said all that, there are a few famous people who, if given the chance to sit down and share a coffee, I would make time in my day for that to happen. Again, not stalker-ish, not obsessive – I just think that these are really interesting individuals who are classy human beings. Two of these individuals have posted things recently that are worth noting…
Jon Hamm recently volunteered to complete the “Ask a Grown Up” segment on Rookiemag.com. Now, this is a pretty laid back site, and Jon Hamm is a pretty laid back guy, so the results are pretty funny. Beyond that, though, he’s a good guy, and he takes the more serious questions from these 15- and 16-year-olds seriously. His line about making out being “super fun” is great, but he also cautions the writer about taking it further. I like that he doesn’t use this as an opportunity to mock the questions that the teens ask, and that he makes the point again and again that men and women are human beings with feelings. He’s reassuring, reminding the teens that what they are feeling is normal and acceptable, and to take it easy in life. You have to respect an adult who doesn’t laugh at the questions kids want to ask, and who realizes that his words may carry more weight than most.
I’ll post it in two versions – hopefully one will work, depending on your region:
Joss Whedon is another person who is a class act. As you might know (unless you have been living under a rock, and hey, I’m cool with that), the Avengers is a huge box office success. All kinds of people who dismissed Buffy and Angel and Firefly and Dollhouse and Dr. Horrible and even Cabin in the Woods (no, really, I’m not bitter, and no, I’m not mentioning Alien Resurrection) are starting to realize that Joss Whedon is kind of good at this whole “writing and directing and making great things to watch” thing. You would think that this level of acclaim would start to do something to his ego; instead, Joss used one of his biggest fan sites, whedonesque.com to post a thank you note to the people who’ve been with him for the long haul.
I won’t post the whole letter (you can click on the link above to read it in its entirety), but I will say that his letter is sincere and funny and totally represents the man that he’s always appeared to be:
What doesn’t change is anything that matters. What doesn’t change is that I’ve had the smartest, most loyal, most passionate, most articulate group of — I’m not even gonna say fans. I’m going with “peeps” — that any cult oddity such as my bad self could have dreamt of. When almost no one was watching, when people probably should have STOPPED watching, I’ve had three constants: my family and friends, my collaborators (often the same), and y’all. A lot of stories have come out about my “dark years”, and how I’m “unrecognized”… I love these stories, because they make me seem super-important, but I have never felt the darkness (and I’m ALL about my darkness) that they described. Because I have so much. I have people, in my life, on this site, in places I’ve yet to discover, that always made me feel the truth of success: an artist and an audience communicating. Communicating to the point of collaborating. I’ve thought, “maybe I’m over; maybe I’ve said my piece”. But never with fear. Never with rancor. Because of y’all. Because you knew me when.
Joss Whedon has a pretty huge stable of actors who keep coming back to work with him. That’s a telling statement. They. Come. Back. They do so, not because it’s a huge box office success for them, or because they receive critical acclaim for their roles, but because he’s great at what he does, and he respects his team. At the OLA conference this year, author Alyxandra Harvey wore a t-shirt that read, simply, “Joss Whedon is my Master Now”. I’ve been on the Whedon-wagon for a long time now, but it’s pretty great to see others hoping on for the ride.
So what was the point of this post? Nothing really, except to share that while I don’t necessarily think that celeb crushes are always a good thing, sometimes these high-profile people go out of their way to prove that they are something even better than famous: they are great human beings. Next time either of you gentlemen are in Toronto, the coffee is on me.