So I’m watching Colbert, and he has this writer on who wrote a book about people’s fascination with Celine Dion. One of the things he said was that some of her popularity stemmed from the respect her fans had for her because of her ‘rags to riches’ story.
Now, as the name implies, ‘rags to riches’ stories usually involve some person who comes from nothing — no money, skills, education, job, home — and somehow turns their life into a huge success story, usually involving fame and fortune, and a lot of times, in the entertainment industry.
Now here’s my point: who cares? I mean, to me, a rags to riches story really isn’t that impressive. And here’s why:
Say a person has nothing… well sure, it takes a certain amount of resolve and determination just to survive in that situation, let alone excel… but it also means that there’s not much risk involved in their decisions. Historically, it seems like people who strike it rich in the music industry or in movies generally are people that take the big risk. They pack up all their shit and just move out to California, or New York, and they work some bullshit job waiting tables or cleaning toilets while they try to find a way to hit it big. So my point is, it’s really easy to take that huge risk, to leave everything you know and have for some crazy dream, when that crazy dream is really the only thing you have in the first place.
If you have nothing, then you have nothing to LOSE. It’s a no-brainer. See, to me, what would be more impressive, and what you never really hear of, is somebody that went from decently successful to huge stardom. A sort of ‘kind-of-doing-0k to riches’ story.
To me, that’s way more unlikely and worthy of respect. I mean, think about it. Say you grow up in a middle class family, you get an education, a job, maybe buy a house, are doing ok, and then you decide to throw caution to the wind to go out on the road and try to be a rockstar. Think about what you’d have to give up: job, car, house, retirement plan, health care, benefits… to go taveling around the country on some little record company’s dime, or your own dime, somehow, going town to town making little to no money for possibly a long time just for the remote chance of someday hitting it big — maybe. Now THAT’s impressive.
Plus, to me, it seems like a huge part of making it big, is pure dumb luck. Being in the right place, at the right time, playing the right show in front of the right people. For every Coldplay or John Mayer there are a thousand bands and musicians that you’ve never heard of, and that in all likelihood you’ll never hear of, that are as good or better. But they’re not the ones that made it. And why?
That’s all. Sometimes that’s all that separates the famous from the anonymous. But the thing is, the acts that take those huge risks are way more likely to find that right place at that right time. It’s just a numbers game. And it’s way easier to take that one show 2000 miles away for no money at that place where that record company guy sometimes hangs out when you have no rent to pay, no mouths to feed, no job to be on time for and no money to lose.
So if Celine Dion wants my respect, then… actually I don’t think there’s anyway Celine is getting my respect. But you get my point.