Sweary’s Jaw: TomKat Falls Flat
It’s all about appearances in Celebville at the moment.
Well, I guess you could – and probably should – say that it’s all about appearance all the time if you’re a celebrity. That’s why they get annoyed over the inappropriate use of their image; their image is all they have. Especially if they don’t actually have any talent to go with it. You may snort, but scientific research1 suggests that one in every seven celebrities has no discernible skill that would merit a life lived in the public eye and a body soaked every four or five hours in champagne. Some of them are perpetually useless. Like Thandie Newton. What has she ever done? In fairness to Snooki, at least she’s boss at acting as a blast shield during the global economic apocalypse.
Even taking into account the absolute blatancy of my assertion that celebrities are all about their appearances, this last week has been particularly saturated with the public’s gaze. You know that TomKat’s fallen apart, of course. Oh, TomKat! How we will miss your relatively innocuous collaboration!
Tom Cruise, who still thinks he’s ‘90s Tom Cruise, has split with wife Katie Holmes, who still thinks she’s ‘90s Katie Holmes. This is somehow global news, because Snooki’s got morning sickness or had to take some Deflectobot holiday or something, I don’t know.
Tom Cruise, who was once an A-list actor and now functions solely as celebrity figurehead for the world’s most ridiculous religion (by a fucking country mile), is somehow in the news again because Katie Holmes, who was once a C-list actress and now… I guess has a cute kid?… has hightailed it out of his compound. Cue massive scandal as both ‘sides’ limber up for a public relations showdown that Tom Cruise has absolutely no chance of winning. Seriously, Tom. I know it’s highly unlikely you’re reading this, but no one likes you anymore. You were shit-hot in the ‘80s and stuff, but since then you’ve started espousing the benefits of Xenu-hunting, testing couch springs far too exuberantly, and, well, Ryan Gosling’s happened. Your services are no longer required.
And despite the fact that no one has an opinion on Katie Holmes either, whose personality slid down the back of that couch once Tom Cruise started bounding the balls of his feet raw on it, the headlines are already sneaking their way onto the front pages of various news outlets. Tom said this. Katie said that. Katie shouldn’t have said that, so now Tom’s saying this. There: an exercise in saving face despite the fact that both celebrities have been headless for the past seven years. It’s all about appearances and their image – who will be the first to deftly shrug the villain’s hide onto the other’s shoulders – but this battle is ludicrously tiresome because no one really cares.
The vast majority of people won’t care either way when a high-profile couple split, or get together, or announce a pregnancy, or have a sex scandal. In this case, though, even those who keep an eye on the gossip columns are going to have a hard time finding a fuck to give. The monotony – the utter predictability – of two traditional celebrities (that is, celebrities who aren’t post-modern self-parodies, like Kim Kardashian and her troupe of morons-for-money) waging a gently snippy war in the tabloids would send even Jedward into a coma. Tom Cruise is not a star anymore. Katie Holmes hasn’t been a star since Dawson became a meme. They’ve been mollycoddled by an insular, traditional media circle in the US who haven’t yet cottoned on to the new requirements for fame in the 21st Century. Vanity Fair may still revere TomKat, but the Daily Mail says Katie’s too thin and The Superficial bullies them both. We’re into file-sharing and over-sharing now and everything’s quelle ironie. Tom and Katie can pitch war all they like, but fighting for the virtue of their respective public images is not going to do anything.
And that’s the crux of the thing. It’s not that this PR-led war of waffle is going to adversely affect Katie Holmes’ career – and it might even give her cause to do a bit of actual acting – and Tom Cruise’s career has been floundering in the Mists of Meh for a very long time now. It’s going to have no effect at all. Which is, of course, the worst thing possible for a celebrity: their image is all they have, and yet we’re the ones in control of it. Neither party is genuinely trying to save face in the Pedestrian TomKat Split Of 2012; they’re trying to regain our interest.
They’re not keeping up appearances. They’re rebuilding. And it’s all so very, very tiresome.
1 Source: Me. I’m a scientist. I did Chemistry for my Leaving.