Many people hide their real identities on Twitter, but I wish at least their ages were up there because I’m ‘Margaret Mead interested’ in discovering more about the psyche of people who spend time worrying, discussing, gossiping about and criticizing actors personal lives on-line. I’m talking about actors they’ve never met as if they’re owed more information and deserve to get it immediately. During the last month or so, I’ve been watching in dazed bewilderment, hand over my open mouth, the Twitter wars that have been going on.
Full disclosure. I worked in television and professional theatre during my ‘career years’ prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom. So I really like TV and theatre. I like watching shows, working behind the scenes, the entire process. I’ve met and known many actors, some midling famous, some on their way up and some in the stratosphere. One thing that never occurred to me was to wonder about their personal lives and relationships. Never, ever, ever did I care about, ask a co-worker about or even ask the actor about their personal life even if I was sitting in a room with them for two hours. I did sometimes wonder about their performance. If it was bad, I wondered how the heck they got the job. If it was good, I wondered if they took classes or went to University, then classes, what other plays or shows they’d been in, etc. But, it never occurred to me to ask or want to know more. Mostly because I wasn’t interested and I’m still not.
You know what an actor owes me? Nothing. What I hope to get from them is a good performance that takes me along on a journey for 30 to 120 minutes. If they do it right, their job is to tell a story in a way that makes me forget who and where I am for the amount of time they’re performing. Maybe they’ll change the way I think about something, open my mind to new ideas, or issues in the world. Maybe their performance will be so good that it’ll help me resolve issues that I’ve been battling for some time like PTSD or the loss of a loved one.
I know for sure they don’t owe me one single bit of personal information about their lives that they don’t want to share. You know why? It’s. not. my. business. Just as people are not allowed to knock on your door and ask what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and who you’re doing it with, you should not be allowed to do the same to them. I know the argument. This is what they signed up for. Well, guess what? Nobody, other than reality show participants, and maybe not even them, signs up for that kind of intense scrutiny or deserves it. Real actors become actors because they have a passion to tell a story and they want it so much they’re willing to practically starve for years to do it. And that’s the truth of the matter.
What is going on in fandoms? Are people so isolated from the real world and locked away in their own homes that they think the personal lives of actors are something that are owed to them? I don’t even ask my adult children, whom I gave actual birth to directly from my own body, the kinds of questions being asked of actors on line. If you really believe more is owed to you, than I suggest you start examining the reasons why because there’s something deeper going on and it needs to be addressed. And in the meantime, I’m going to do some research and see if an actual study has been done on the subject and I’ll report back because now I’m a little more than slightly fascinated in this odd phenomenon.