A Rockstar’s Hissy Fit
Meeting my idol made me realize I’d been seduced by the cult of celebrity…
It was a beautiful summer’s day last May as I sat inside Murphy’s ice-cream shop enjoying my delectable salted caramel ice-cream. Suddenly my phone lit up. It was a text from a friend that I had met the night before at the concert. “He’s in town!” it read. “No way...where?!” I rapidly texted back. Ten minutes passed without a response. I finished my ice-cream, paid & left.
As I walked outside, I looked into the vegan restaurant across the street. Sitting right in the window watching the world go by was a skinny, bearded guy with big blue eyes. “Those vegans are all the same”, I thought, “so damn skinny!” I made a right turn & started heading down towards Grafton St. Suddenly it hit me. “Holy shit…that was HIM!”
Sure enough, it was ‘the real’ Jared Leto sitting inside Cornucopia, Dublin’s premier city centre vegan eaterie. I nearly wet myself as I stood outside Brown Thomas store excitedly messaging my sister, “It’s HIM…he’s inside the restaurant!” She probably thought I was winding her up as I got no response. Minutes later, Jared & a guy friend emerged from the restaurant & started walking down the middle of the street right towards me.
Talk about serendipity! I started walking casually up the street pretending not to notice him. I wanted to be cool & calm but I was shaking. Then I crossed the street & walked right over to him, “Hi Jared,” I said. “Oh nnnnooo!” he groaned, looking displeased. I stared at him, quite taken aback at his reaction. Maybe he’d eaten some bad falafel at the restaurant & was experiencing heartburn. Not one to be discouraged, I took my phone out & held it up, ready to take the million-dollar selfie that would make all my Facebook friends jealous. “There you go”, he said as I took took the photo. It was perfect!
As a society, we’re guilty of being seduced by the cult of celebrity. Crazed fans go to great lengths to stalk their rock idols (not me of course!) for the perfect selfie. Musicians, actors, models & athletes are placed on idyllic pedestals for all to love and adore. Facebook is used as an escapist’s bubble where we constantly praise an artist & only want to believe the good stuff that’s written about them.
Hardcore fans become biased & are often in denial of the truth. They don’t want the facts getting in the way of the ‘perfect’ image of a celebrity that they have built up in their heads. When someone has been placed on a pedestal, it’s hard to knock them down.
It was really cool & quite surreal meeting Jared that day in Dublin last May. I had been a Thirty Seconds To Mars fan for four years & had been to three awesome shows. I was in love with the ‘idea’ of Jared, not the actual person. I had built up an impression of him through watching interviews on YouTube, seeing him perform onstage & interacting with other fans.
However, the Jared I met that day turned out not to be the rock god of my dreams. I realized he’s just an ordinary, flawed guy who happens to be famous. When he’s on tour, he likes to explore the streets of the city he’s in & hang out in vegan restaurants for hours. So normal.
We build up our own heroes; projecting onto them everything we wish we could be. In reality, however, they symbolise a form of abject unattainability. If we could be so easily like them, their magnetism would simply vanish altogether. But perhaps if we were to stop looking for hope in false gods, & focus more on our own talents and unique identities — we’d waste far less time trying to be like someone else.
Thank you for reading!