Celebrity is a measure of how many people know your name. I'm not saying celebrity is bad. Many celebrities earn their reputations through hard work and achievement. But using celebrities to sell something has always struck me as more than slightly disingenuous. I'm pretty sure the model who pitches drugstore hair dye wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. No doubt she has her own hair dye custom mixed and applied by her private hair consultant. Should I buy a refrigerator because a well-known athlete tells me to? Why would I trust his opinion? Where are his credentials? What does he know about compressors, vegetable crispers or the shelf life of cooked eggplant? It's a mistake to trust celebrities because when they let us down, they let us down hard. Like the guy in the photograph.
I have a famous cousin - sorry, I'm not going to tell you his name. He can't go anywhere, not to a restaurant, not for a walk, without an entourage of sycophants dogging his every step. His kids are targets for kidnapping and his personal life is a target for gossip. I took my mother to one of his concerts. He stepped to the edge of the stage, pointed his finger at us and said to the audience, "That's my Aunt Dottie." After the show, we were spotted by the waiting fans who began chanting "Aunt Dottie, Aunt Dottie." My mother's done a lot of things for which she should be applauded, but her one night in the spotlight came about because her nephew was a celebrity, not because of anything she did. Sometimes, in an absence of common sense, I have yearned for celebrity even knowing it's not all it's cracked up to be. When I am looking to get blurbs for my books, for example, I don't turn to unknown authors, I ask well-known writers. A blurb from my next door neighbor, who incidentally thinks I am the greatest living writer in America, wouldn't sell a single copy. But Camille Minichino's name on the back of my book opened doors to famous writers who wouldn't have given me the time of day without Camille's endorsement. Truth is, I'm a mini-celebrity myself in the small world of police psychology. I get asked to give advice, endorse books and serve on advisory boards by people who think my advice or my name will help boost their sales, enhance their cause or solve their problems. They are probably wrong about this. Still I'm happy to help.