There is one thing giving me particular cause for concern right now—the obsession with celebrity moms. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Yes, it is troubling that so much emphasis is placed on the accomplishment of giving birth—particularly by women who, though debatably talented, have at least managed to achieve some kind of success in their careers, which makes this focus on their wombs seem all the more atavistic and anti-feminist.” But you just think that because you’re a bra-burning man-hater whose attitude is not going to help her land a husband. No, this celebrity motherhood thing is worrisome for reasons much more sinister.
At a time when birth rates in many developed countries are so low that the French are shelling out €750 a month to women willing to produce a third offspring, celebrities are having kids younger and more frequently than ever. Sure it’s cute when Brit-Brit squeezes one out now, at twenty-three, but at this rate the Spears-Federlines will have overrun their habitat in just a few generations. What we forget is that these celebrity larvae don’t stay tiny and cute forever—they grow up into difficult-to-take-care-of adult celebrities, with their own entourages and hairstylists and makeup stylists and regular stylists and tiny dogs. With the un-famous population in decline and the celebrity population rising sharply (and exponentially—celebrity babies having their ownbabies), we will soon reach the tipping point of an uncontrolled celebrity population explosion.
Not convinced? Little Frances Bean Cobain gave her first interview to Teen Vogue just the other day. Kurt and Courtney’s ill-advised sprout is already almost a teenager! It seems like just yesterday that her mother was a drugged-out crazy person, assaulting people with her breasts and/or liquor bottles. Surely it won’t be long before Frances concocts some vague career of her own, gets herself publicly knocked up by a shipping heir or Dave Coulier or somebody, and carries the Love-Cobain line proudly into its third generation. And she’s not the only one growing up fast—can you believe that Rumer Willis is seventeen already? Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon is turning ten this year. And what of Maddox and Apple and whatever the hell stupid name Ryan Phillipe and Reese Witherspoon gave their kid? Don’t you see? This growth rate is unsustainable! There are simply not enough personal trainers in the world to support this next generation of famous people.
There are other factors at work here too. Even as pre-existing famous people are frantically reproducing, new first-generation celebrities are being created at a rate heretofore unheard of. Before the Industrial Revolution, it took years to make even a single celebrity. But with the birth of modern devices like reality TV and the Internet, stars are being manufactured more rapidly—and are requiring less investment—than would have seemed possible even fifty years ago. The market is flooded with cheap, disposable stars cranked out at places like UPN and the Food Network and then thrown away as soon as their usefulness has passed. Unfortunately, the synthetic polymers used in today’s celebrity fabrication have half-lives of hundreds of years, meaning these superstars will be walking around long after their hit shows have biodegraded. After we have filled up the VH1 and TNT dumps, what will we do with our discarded ex-famous?
The strain this is placing on the fragile Los Angeles ecosystem is already starting to show. Doggie-spa reserves, long thought to be unlimited, may have no more than one-hundred-years-worth of PETicure supplies at the current rate of consumption. Even more troubling, California is the ancestral homeland of both the famous and the un-famous rich, and tensions between the two groups are making the region into a political powder keg. America has long been sympathetic to the pleas of the rich, but celebrities are increasingly holding the attention of other world leaders—it seems only a matter of time before demands for a sovereign nation can no longer be ignored. Already, celebrity-exclusive settlements have appeared on California’s hotly contested West Bank.
How long before the situation erupts into violence? I don’t think anybody can say. But as celebrity population levels swell and the competition for limited red-carpet space increases, experts in the region aren’t optimistic. There are no easy answers here, people. This area of the world has been in turmoil for literally tens of years, and there’s no silver-bullet solution. Perhaps all we can do is to stop giving a shit about stupid Hollywood moms and their stupid Hollywood spawn and let nature take its course. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.
Audrey Ference tries her darndest to keep up with what the kids are into these days. Her column appears every two weeks. Read other recent columns by Audrey Ference.