Guest post: Celebrity Madness by author Summer Fox



"Hollywood, by definition, is a lie," or so says "It Girl" wanna-be Alyssya Glenellen in Summer Fox's steamy new send-up of Hollywood celebrity, tabloid media, and books about Hollywood celebrity and tabloid media. Frustrated fashion model Alyssya is on the fast track to become Sweetheart of the Paparazzi, traipsing through a Wonderland of narcissistic leading men, egocentric directors, cut-throat actresses, neurotic billionaires, and addicted sports heroes. Unfortunately, someone keeps threatening to strip, strap, strangle, gag, bag, host, slice, and dice her. What's worse, she was caught by a photographer with a hole in her panties, and it's splashed across the "Scene" page of the Los Angeles Times.

Guest Post: Celebrity Madness

In Exposure, celebrity madness is a double entendre. In the public vernacular, it refers to society's obsession with the rich and famous, especially entertainers. Inside Hollywood, it might just as well as refer to the celebrities themselves, behaving badly, even pathologically. The title itself is a double entendre: the protagonist's talent agent, concerned with getting her "exposure," encourages her to check into a rehab clinic with a fake drug addiction to rub shoulders with the rich and famous. The more exposure she gets, the more over-exposed she becomes. The novel is also an expose' of Hollywood bad girls and the men who love them. Most of all, it's a parody of celebrity madness itself -- and every book, magazine, and TV show devoted to it.

There's no denying that as a society we're obsessed with celebrities, whether movie stars, TV performers, athletes, rock stars, or merely reality show subjects. The Bible says that people "love evil more than good." Really, who better exemplifies the Biblical notion of "sin" than celebrities reveling nonstop in sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But society also worships, despises, resents, and envies the rich and famous simply because they are rich and famous. In the big picture, is a celebrity baby more important than Ebola? Of course not, but it's all about ratings and magazine sales.

Exposure laughs at, with, and despite of the celebrities themselves as much as the people who are obsessed with them. I've often been asked which character is the most "real": Alyssa, the struggling It-girl wannabe? Her effeminate, scheming, over the top agent? Her patron, the porn filmmaker turned major TV commercial producer? The lacivious former heart throb who insists on a contract clause entitling him to a full-body exam of every actress who plays opposite him in a movie? Or how about the white rock singer who underwent numerous surgeries in an attempt to make himself appear more Negroid, in the hope of breaking into the Rhythm and Blues market? The heiress who gives a "final upskirt" press conference before serving a five-day jail sentence for driving her car into the La Brea tar pits at the Los Angeles Museum of Art? The fact is, every character in the novel is a parody. An easier question to answer is: who is the least real? That would be the Marine captain in charge of the secret CIA interrogation facility where Alyssa washes up after being swept off a yacht in a storm.

One theory about celebrity madness is that people feel comforted and emotionally superior when confronted with the travails of those who are admired by millions and have made millions thereby. Yet, how does that theory account for the celebrity obsession over other celebrities, the endless Tweets and Facebook posts about each other? In reality, rich and famous entertainers are the new aristocracy, today's upper class, compared to whom even monarchs and ruthless dictators are mere bootlicks. And, really, who more deserves a hilarious parody?

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