September 17, 2008

Ashton Kutcher and the 15 Minutes of Fame

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It’s totally old news by now that Ashton Kutcher began coaching high school football. It’s such old news by now that it’s not even really funny anymore. Shock value made it amusing and, of course, Kutcher’s past as MTV’s original prankster made it semi-unbelievable. But now, a week later, nobody cares.
Actually, it’s not exactly that nobody seems to care, but more that the joke has sizzled out and died. Even the poor guy who just learned today about Ashton’s amazing career move will not laugh, and the corners of his lips will only tease upwards for a split second before he realizes he kinda-sorta missed the bus.
It’s amazing: Only one week after a celebrity shocker like this and everybody has forgotten about poor Ashton and moved on to Tina Fey as Sarah Palin … and, for that matter, probably something else by now. It just goes to show that 15 minutes really is 15 minutes, and for Ashton that applies to his acting career, his modeling career, his MTV reality-show-hosting career and, in the end … well, even the joke that is Ashton-becomes-football-coach.
But all of this is so blasé. Everybody knows about the short lifespan of celebrity these days. Just look at Justin Guarini. The poor dude peaked with From Justin to Kelly and now his Myspace only has about 12,000 friends. For me, what’s curious about Kutcher is how he became a football coach.
The answer, really, is pretty simple: The guy likes football. He played high school football. He probably plays catch with his friends. In fact, his best friend is the varsity football coach at the high school where Ashton now works. What’s incredible about Kutcher becoming a football coach is how normal it is.
Man has job. Man leaves job. Man starts a different job doing something he loves a lot and misses a lot — that something being football. It actually sounds like a pretty sweet deal. And therein lies the true sadness of the matter. It’s not sad because Kutcher can’t get an acting gig, but instead because when Kutcher decided to return to something he once loved (playing football), people laughed.
It’s a two-faced coin. People laughed at Kutcher for the same reason people stopped talking about him: It’s lame to talk about things that have passed their prime. In other words, it’s lame to laugh at an old joke.
The kid who just found out now about Kutcher’s new job will not tell anybody he just found out; likewise, when people found out about Kutcher’s new job, the joke was on him.
This week, I had a similar predicament at hand. In Kutcher’s case, it’s lame to participate in an old hobby; in my case, it’s lame to listen to an old band.
In fact, this week I have been drowning in a puddle of social stigma because I only just got the She & Him album, Volume One, last Monday. And I love it. Really, it’s amazing.
But that’s my problem: Who can I tell? I can’t admit that I have listened to “This Is Not A Test” over 20 times on iTunes alone within the first five days. That would be social suicide.
Here’s what they’ll say:
“That album was great … last March!”
“It’s all I listened to … last semester!”
“Those shoes are so last season!”
Why can’t I profess my love for She & Him? The album came out in March of this year! Is that really too old? With popular music, as well as with popular icons (celebrities) like Kutcher, clearly six months is too long. Heck, sometimes a week is too long.
And in the case of a half-year old band? Well, I listened and boy, let me tell you, She & Him is amazing. So last semester? So what!
I just have to own up and face what’s coming my way. It’s too bad that I couldn’t have gotten the She & Him record 10 years from now. Then, it would be socially fine — it’d be retro, a gem from the past.
Indeed, taste goes in cycles, and in Kutcher’s case, it’s cool he’s back into football. Please don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying we should all revert back to our favorite trends from yesteryear. That would just be crazy. Like, for instance, I’m not saying I want my, like, T-Mobile Sidekick back. I’m just sort of letting you know that I did have one at one time. And I miss it. A lot. But, like, now I really, really love my Blackberry.