Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Leave the Spotlight, Dodge the Searchlights

Isabel Colegate:

The celebrity hermit, a modern phenomenon, seems to escape the tolerance, let alone respect, accorded to other species of solitary, being regarded instead with indignation and outrage. The reasoning behind this must be the thought that no one would be a writer or an actor or a musician — or indeed prominent in any way — unless their chief object was to be famous, and that therefore they should lay themselves down gladly as a sacrifice on the altar of human curiosity.

Despite this observation, the index of the book shows no references to Bill Watterson, which strikes me as odd. What better example could you ask for?

In the film Dear Mr. Watterson, his mother commented on the creepiness of some fans who not only go out of their way to find out where he lives, but make it known to him that they've done so, like it's a game of hide and seek. It's like, "You have created something that provides an enduring sense of fascination for me. Now you're obligated to stay within reach in case I ever want to indulge my curiosity further." Even I, who respect a desire for privacy to a greater degree than most, have to admit that I would eagerly read more about Watterson the everyday guy if that information were available. Yet, I'm fully aware that doing so would almost certainly add nothing to my appreciation for Calvin and Hobbes. What drives this insatiable fascination, this urge to use someone up until they have nothing left to show or give? Why do we find it so difficult to simply allow mysteries to exist?