12.14.2005

Celebrity or Author?

It seems as though one of the hottest new trends in Hollywood at the present moment is celebrities writing children’s books. You haven’t “arrived” until you have written a book. A few stars who have published books include Jason Alexander, Billy Crystal, Michael Jordan, LeAnn Rhimes, Jamie Lee Curtis, Katie Couric, Jerry Seinfeld, Julie Andrews, John Lithgow, Lynne Cheney, Ed Koch (former mayor of New York), Madonna, and Will Smith.

This new fashion statement offends me for a few reasons. First and foremost, for “common people” (i.e. the rest of the world), there is a certain standard of quality that a work of literature must meet before a publisher will even consider it. Sadly, celebrities are not held to the same standards. There are few precious books whose authors appeared to have taken the writing role seriously, but for the most part, celebrity books are uninteresting and poorly crafted. Curiously, the content of the book isn’t even what is publicized, but rather the name of the author.

Still, celebrity works are hot sellers, not because they are well written, but because (and this is the second characteristic of this trend that is bothersome to me) of the name on the cover. Parents who have an attachment to the celebrity purchase the book, but for their children who have no connection whatsoever to these people, the book is not worth the paper on which it is printed. This sends a message to children and adults alike that anyone who is famous can also write books. The opposite is true. Authors are gifted the same way actors or actors are gifted.

The bottom line is: Celebrities, don’t quit your day job.
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3 comments:

  1. The sad fact is that everything that you say is true. But none of these books would be on the market if they did not sell. Money rules the world today and people can write whatever they want (the truth or lies) as long as it sales. the question is, what is the truth and people's minds worth on the market?

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  2. I think a lot of the blame lies with the publishing companies. You can't hardly blame an actor or actress for taking advantage of another easy way to make money. I think the publishing companies are the ones who should have a higher standard for writing.

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  3. You are so right! However, one might argue that you couldn't blame the publishing companies who want to make money on a name. It's like one of those mutual parasite-host dependent relationships.

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