Sunday, August 13, 2006

I’m thinking about Sheldon’s letter to me regarding celebrity or fame and being recognized which he wrote in response to my last post. I think I have finally come to terms with fame. And that sentence is hilarious because I have so little of it at the moment and it seems to disappear like running water – no, maybe like dripping water – each year. And the truth is, I was so uncomfortable for so long with anyone recognizing me. I was constantly mortified by it. I didn’t like the basic idea that someone knew me and I didn’t know him or her. And it wasn’t like I even did want to know them, it was just – it felt like an invasion of privacy, while at the same time unavoidably unfair.

Now I look back at it all so differently. I feel compassion for myself. I didn’t have the right psychological make up and the ambition and savvy to appreciate or use the fame I had when I had it. To me, the greatest value was humility. To be “proud” was sinful. My heroes were Catholic saints who did good works in secret. (Which had it’s own backfiring repercussions, but that’s another topic.) So to be publicly acknowledged all the time was just the worst. Plus, I never felt very good about how I looked. I always thought I was going to be judged by my inadequateness as a woman. And I think I was probably partially or even more than partially right. I have listened to all kinds of people now talk about female celebrities with such crudeness, with such a harsh critical tone, it startles me still - each time I overhear it, and I overhear it constantly. I don’t think I’m being paranoid to imagine that I was often on the receiving end of that kind of criticism.

Anyway, when I became famous I wasn’t a lithe, beautiful ingénue, so I felt I was failing in public all the time. (Which I now think is pretty silly, but this was then…) The last thing I wanted was for someone to recognize me. Or pay more attention to me. Even though I created a character that made me look as hideous as possible, as Pat, it still didn’t help me from feeling shame and embarrassment anytime someone recognized me.

In any case, I always marveled at the other actors at SNL and how they (really, the men) were so excited by their own fame. Again, I don’t judge this critically. Now I get it. The fame increased their status, their status gave them power, particularly over women. Fame is the greatest thing that could happen to a guy – especially a guy who was probably not getting the attention he thought he deserved or wanted deeply as a teenager. After the shows at SNL, beautiful models would swarm around the male comedians, while us gals just took the limo to the party and drank mostly with each other. (And we had a great time, by the way…) In any case, fame was so cruel then, it seemed. Even my little bit of it.

Later I met a few people who were really comfortable with fame. At this point, I just thought I wasn’t cut out for it. Some people were, some weren’t. I wasn’t. But then I got to hang out regularly with some people who were seriously famous. I mean, they couldn’t walk down the street without everyone noticing them or being constantly approached. To me, this would be the ultimate nightmare. But these two people who I am thinking of in particular handled it (at least when I was with them) with amazing grace and class. They took it in stride. They shook hands, took time to talk for a minute. They didn’t seem desperate, they just seemed to be dealing with an inevitable part of their life. And I really admired how they had grown into their situation with all its ups and downs. Because, what I finally realized is, it is nice to be recognized – especially if it’s for work that you’re proud of. And fame often brings power too, and that’s undeniably nice. And I learned the difference between people who admired you because you were famous and those who admired you because of something in particular, some specific piece of work. And then it wasn't so bad. In fact, it was pretty great! And then, just about the time that I didn’t shudder at the mere thought of being a famous person, it all began to dwindle away. Oh! Well, I guess that's how it goes.

But Sheldon, you were talking about people who were over-awed by fame. But it seems that we are hard-wired to recognize status. It’s such a deep part of our social and personal psychology. So to me, it’s perfectly understandable why people would – at first flinch – listen more closely to what a celebrity is saying even if it’s in a field in which they are not experts. Also, when it comes to politics, I don’t know if I trust a celebrity less than a politician who has some authority perhaps but also has a clear agenda. There are plenty of celebrities who risk their status by speaking out. I mean, someone like Janeane Garafalo could have continued a lucrative show-business career acting and writing, but she decided to do radio for 1/10 the money. I’m actually surprised at how few celebrities there are out there speaking out against this war.

Well, I just got home from doing the Uncabaret, this stand up like show at the M Bar here in Hollywood. Michael Patrick King, who is a dear old friend was there and he was absolutely hysterical. Also Taylor Negron was on and he was so damn funny. Beth is always great to see and I miss her and Greg so much. It was a really, really fun night. It makes me want to do more performing. I have a vague idea of trying to come up with a true stand-up show. I have never done that before but now I kind of get how I might be able to do that. If I gave myself a year and slowly built the material together. I think it would be fun to try to write solely for the laughs and forget about building the big story, like I’ve concentrated on in my last monologues. In a way, it’s sort of like going backwards. Most of the people I worked with at SNL were stand ups before they got on the show. I don’t know… something in me is telling me to try it.

I felt very proud of myself that after Beth did all this New Age material on stage, I didn’t comment on it. I don’t want to get into some thing where all I do is rag on people’s supernatural crazy-ass beliefs. Even though, it’s all so absurd.

Speaking of material. Here is my cute kid story. Mulan said, “When you do your quilting, you use material right?” And I said, “Yeah – fabric. Yeah, that’s material.” And she said, “Well, do you know there’s a song about that? I heard it on the radio with Frances (our nanny). It’s called Material Girl!”


Anonymous said...

Hi Julia -- Really glad you are back! And I'm glad to hear the CDs are almost ready. I was one of those "sitting in the driveway listening to the radio" people when you first appeared on This American Life, and I've been waiting every since to hear the whole peice.

This subject of celebrity is interesting to me. I'm one of those people who -- almost despite myself -- is tuned in to this stuff. I've discovered people are either tuned in or not (my sister would say "Brangelina who?"), but every once in a while I will come out with some obscure fact about the personal life of some celebrity and then wonder -- where the XX!!??** did that come from. How could I possibly know that? It's in the stew of popular culture we exist in, I guess. I'm not sure if that's good or bad or just the way it is.

I have to say, I sort of admire how some celebrities have used their status. For example, back when we were still pretty ignorant about AIDS, Princess Diana went into a hospital ward where patients were dying of AIDS, removed her gloves, and started touching people -- that was pretty great. It also seems the Dixie Chicks have sacrificed a lot for expressing their opinion. (How ironic that all these red-white-and-blue flag waiving so called patriots running radio stations would freeze out an artist because she exercised a basic constitutional right -- don't even get me started on that one!) Well, that's when I STARTED buying Dixie Chicks albums!!!

It is interesting to hear your reflections on being a celebrity, because I can't think of anything more scary -- especially if people are focussing on the status rather than the art. And as a, oh how shall I say this, large American woman, I guess celebrity just seems like it would be a horrifying nightmare. I mean, they think Kelly Clarkson is fat.

Anyway, I'm procrastinating now. Must get back to writing, writing, writing.

Have a great day! And THANKS.

Susan W.

Atheism Quotes said...

Don't kids come up with some of the best connections that we just don't see as adults? Sometimes I wish I could see the world through their eyes again! I love that I sometimes can, thanks to my son :-)

For fame... I think there would be nothing wrong if it's rightfully earned and properly used. I don't think a famous person has an obligation to do important things. After all, take away what made them famous, and they're just part of the normal spread of the spectrum for humanity. There's nothing magical about a famous person's words.

However, if someone wanted to use their fame for more than drowning in women, drugs, and money, and try to make a real difference somehow, as long as they do it in an intelligent way, I think it's great. Not more important than someone who's not famous, but more visible, which can be just as important.

The vast majority of people are sheeple. There's no arguing it. Advertisers no it, politicians know it, religious leaders know it. What's so wrong with having some like you, Julia, step up and try to have people think just a little differently than the others would have people think?

Excuse the reference, but the cross you bear in this area is that the words you want to use, the points you want to make, put you into the most hated and feared group of people in this country.

It's one thing to step up and say the war is wrong, evil, stupid, and should end.

It's another to try to tell people that religion, the foundation of so many people's lives, may not be true.

You've done more than I think you might know. Just because you may not have paparazzi following you, or a supermarket filled with people may not recognize on you site doesn't mean you're not famous. It just means you're not Tom Cruise. And right now, I'd say that's a very good thing! Look at how crazy he's turning out to be!

And as far as not being an ingenue earlier in your life, I don't know if you've ever been a "Friends" fan, but my wife has you on her laminated list. I'm guessing you may not know how sexy you really are, whether or not you meet what Hollywood and advertisers would have us accept as sexy!

Veronica said...

Hola Julia, your show last night was fantastic. You walked right by us when you left the stage and I was tempted to say something but now after reading your blog, it was probably better that I didn't.

I had 10 years to experience "celebrity", although not in this country and although I took it well, my two sons did not enjoy the attention. They always felt uncomfortable and overexposed. I wonder if it will be different with a daughter. Who knows?

Anyway, we are really looking forward to "Largo".
Thanks for a great evening!

Veronica (the uruguayan)

P.S. Your story about how you met your new boyfriend was hilarious.

Valerie said...

Hi Julia,

I went to the show at M Bar and everyone was fantastic! I wanted to have a brief word with you, but before the show you looked like you were working, so I thought it best to leave you alone. So here's what I wanted to say to you, "Oh, I wish you had been the atheist chosen to live with the Christian family on 30 days" The lady who did it was a nice person, but I don't think she did the kind of real soul searching that you did before coming to the atheist solution. Did you see the show? You would have been fabulous, because you are assertive, knowledgable and polite. BTW, I love the image of you taking a note to the warden!!

bookboy said...

Funny how we want to know or be in possion of truth. And if we can't then we will settle for someone who says they have the truth and or try to posses them. Campbell worried that people would wear " a picture of him around their necks" at which point they could not hear the message. Your path through the woods does not exist, if you follow one that does, it is not yours but someone eles. So what are you to do? You begin Your path. Look for clues and signs but be carefull not to stumble upon someone eles wanderings and take it as your own. So glad you are back.

Libby said...

I listened to the broadcast of your older Un-Cabaret pieces on "This American Life" two weekends in a row recently, and feel so lucky to have caught Saturday's Un-Cabaret at M-Bar. I laughed myself to tears during your performance! What a fantastic evening of absurdity and hilarious perspective-shifting; it was like a joyful, subversive little temporary community in the midst of current unreality and chaos.

I was mildly red-faced, though, recalling 25 years ago when I used to yammer away non-stop as my mom drove me home from Culver City...

I look forward to hearing your new CD - kudos!

Dannii M said...

Oh my goodness Julia Sweeney - you do make me laugh.

I saw your show "Letting Go of God" twice in LA, once on New Years, and again earlier this year with a good friend of mine who is now a huge fan too.

The 2nd time, I happened to spot Mulan leaving the theatre before you were due to go on - I didn't want to say anything to her about how great her Mum is, but I pointed her out to my friend, and then had to try and explain the whole "Mulan" thing... anyway, Mulan has such a spritely mischevious look about her. I'm SO glad to know she has a wicked sense of humor like her mother - the last paragraph of your last post just had me chortling.

Again, it is SO good to have you back blogging, and I can't wait to see you TWICE this month at Largo (hehehe), and, if I'm especially lucky I'll be seeing you for my birthday at the bowl.

And, cd's to boot - I've been DYING to hear In the Family Way too...

You are truly a marvel - thank you!

Anonymous said...

Very successful and wildly funny Mbar night! Take a year to put together a stand up piece? Would you need that? Gosh- just do that bit- tighter. But who am I to critque. I think some people spend a lot of their life working for attention and then - when they get it- aren't really prepared because then it requires them to change to a mode that they have never done. They simply were that modest, shy, but intelligent and charasmatic, middle kid type and that's what they grew up to be. But didn't you practice being famous? Doesn't everybody imagine that at some time? Is the reality so different from the pretend? And is your ability to deal with it lately related to having a kid who talks and all? Kids tend to keep us from getting our heads too far up our..

Nancy said...

Hi, Julia. I'm so glad to find your blog - I've looked for you several times over the years on the internet, but it seems like I've only found places where you've been. I enjoyed your comments on fame. You're the only famous person about whom I've ever thought, I would really like her in person. But I bet lots of people feel that way - the persona you project is so warm and kind and smart and funny. And you probably don't need thousands of best friends. How weird that must be. I'm going to look on Amazon right now to see if I can buy your post-God Said Ha! stuff.

Sheldon said...


Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts on the issue of celebrity and power I brought up.

Someone wrote to me recently, rather upset that I had "attacked" you, and I was taken aback by her comment. I'm glad to see that you didn't interpret the post that way as I certainly didn't write it with you in mind.

I take your point on the comparison between politicians and celebrities, and I admire Garafalo's decision to follow her principles and take a job at Air America Radio.

Still, it concerns me that we so readily listen to people based on their status (whether political status or celebrity status). I'm certainly not an Ivory Tower Intellect, though. If I were of the mind that only people with a string of alphabets after their names had anything to offer, I'd have missed out on James Randi's wisdom all these years.

I'm going to mull over what you posted, and I'll likely post about this again if you don't mind. A few people responded in the comments section as well, and I invite them and anyone else reading this to contact me via my blog (just click on my name) if you have any input or know of any research on the topic. I may consider it for entry in TAM-5's "Call for Papers" in January.

Danny said...

What an interesting discussion of celebrity. The week you wrote it, I was sitting across from you one day at a bakery on Beverly. The truly weird part is, I happened to be reading this blog when you walked in and sat down at a table directly facing me and started working on your computer. I was going to shout over, "Oh my God, I'm reading your blog right now and I so enjoy your writing and your one-woman shows, etc." but it seemed like that would be an invasion and that you'd think I was a stalker or something. And then I started acting like a stalker since I couldn't help overhearing what you were saying to someone on your cell phone about some upcoming shows you were doing and I immediately started looking them up on my computer as you were mentioning them.

I honestly don't think I could handle knowing that people were "noticing" me like that when I was in public but it's interesting to hear how your thoughts about fame have changed over time. I did say something to you once before when I saw you in that bakery/cafe and you couldn't have been more friendly, but I still felt a little guilty and that you would have preferred to have been left alone with your latte. I think if it were me I'd be touched and pleased that people were acknowledging my work but still feel awkward and paranoid that they were "looking at me." It's a good thing I'm not famous!

I recently stood on a stage watching over 50,000 people watching my rock star brother-in-law perform and all I could think of is that such adulation would completely go to my head and/or I'd worry about the people in the crowd who think I suck and wanted to hurl something at me.

To me you have the best kind of fame because I imagine that the people who do recognize and come up to you really are familiar with and have been deeply moved by your work.

Sheldon said...

I don't recall writing you a letter and this is the first time I have commented on your blog.

Can't wait to hear this CD I have been hearing about.

delguidance said...

Thank you for this. I'm a little burned out teaching at my school since the students see me around the neighborhood and your perspective made me more comfortable with being recognized in the street. Of course its hardly comparable, but thank you.

Bill Chessman

grayforester said...

I followed links to this New York Times piece about the psychological underpinnings of the urge to seek fame. There was, in it, the basis for a new kind of twelve step group.

shannon said...

You guys are so deep and witty! I'm amazed.

Danny said...

...oh, and fantastic show tonight at the Hollywood Bowl! Great to hear that portion of your "In the Family Way" piece with music, I wish you had done the whole thing. The crowd LOVED it!!

Anonymous said...

Lovely Julia:
What I want to know is how come other readers seems to have heard the reportedly hilarious story of how you met your new (how new? I hope not THIS WEEK, new) boyfriend.
GOD knows I would love to hear it, just as HE knows ALL.
Where can it be found?
And please don't tell me it's none of my business, because my only interest is to make sure that he is good enough for you.
And not some irresponsible fly-by-night predator of beautiful women.
Wilbur Owen

Bruce said...

Hi Julia,

Glad you're back posting here.

My wife had an idea, and I wanted to post it here, because you really should do it. Hopefully some other posters here will chime in to demand it as well:

Julia, you need to have a book list on your site.

Heck, your entire set for Letting Go of God is books. And we know you're always reading and adding to your list of books.

What do we have to do, go to your show with a notepad in hand?

So please, PLEASE consider a list of recommended books. Like Oprah. Maybe even think of a sticker that can go on them. Maybe a big J. Or a J.S. or something. Anyway, I'll leave that to you.

Seriously though, it would be great.

Bruce said...

And I'm a little freaked out by wilbur owen's post.

Sheldon said...

Following on this trend, ya'll might want to check out this article:

It's about the celebrity obsession going on in Hong Kong, and the star-studded protests over violations of privacy on the part of the paparazzi.

Dannii M said...

You were brilliant at the Hollywood Bowl - and I'm really loving the "In The Family Way" cd. You & Mulan look SO cute in the pictures - it's really nicely done.

Leah said...

i like your blog! you make me laugh :)

Anonymous said...

>>>Bruce said...
>>>And I'm a little freaked out by wilbur owen's post.

Hmmm. Bruce thinks HE's freaked out. And he's not even related to Wilbur Owen (so far as I know).

Imagine how I feel.

-- Wilbur Owen's second born.

SweetThursday said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SweetThursday said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
SweetThursday said...

I am so glad I found this blog. Whenever I heard your pieces on
This American Life
I felt, "Yippee! There is another one that speaks the lingo!"

And I kept hoping you would be coming round to NYC, but alas I have read your very good reasons for not.

But now I can read this blog.

I have had a brush with pseudo fame. A couple were quite convinced I was Janeane Garafalo and didn't believe me when I insisted that I was not -- my major argument being that I was 3/4 of an inch taller.

Looking forward to your next post.
Hey, get busy it has been almost 3 weeks!

Anonymous said...

Sweet Thursday -- I'm pretty sure Julia is appearing in NYC in October -- I bought tickets for it. Take a look at the appearances section of her website.

Susan W.

SweetThursday said...

Thank You Anonymous Susan. I am so glad!

ginny said...


I love your blog. I've been reading it for months and have never bothered to comment, but I think this is one of the most insightful posts I've read in a long time. I absolutely can't wait for the CD to come out!


Colleen said...

Well, tonight you were a Jeopardy! answer (actually it was a before/after type clue, so the full response was "Julia Sweeney Todd"). I can't believe David Bowie never mentioned anything cool like that in his "Fame" song. :-P

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

徵信, 徵信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 感情挽回, 婚姻挽回, 挽回婚姻, 挽回感情, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信, 捉姦, 徵信公司, 通姦, 通姦罪, 抓姦, 抓猴, 捉猴, 捉姦, 監聽, 調查跟蹤, 反跟蹤, 外遇問題, 徵信, 捉姦, 女人徵信, 女子徵信, 外遇問題, 女子徵信, 徵信社, 外遇, 徵信公司, 徵信網, 外遇蒐證, 抓姦, 抓猴, 捉猴, 調查跟蹤, 反跟蹤, 感情挽回, 挽回感情, 婚姻挽回, 挽回婚姻, 外遇沖開, 抓姦, 女子徵信, 外遇蒐證, 外遇, 通姦, 通姦罪, 贍養費, 徵信, 徵信社, 抓姦, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信公司, 徵信, 徵信公司, 女人徵信, 外遇

徵信, 徵信網, 徵信社, 徵信網, 外遇, 徵信, 徵信社, 抓姦, 徵信, 女人徵信, 徵信社, 女人徵信社, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信公司, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信公司, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 女人徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 征信, 征信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 征信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

徵信, 徵信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 感情挽回, 婚姻挽回, 挽回婚姻, 挽回感情, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信, 捉姦, 徵信公司, 通姦, 通姦罪, 抓姦, 抓猴, 捉猴, 捉姦, 監聽, 調查跟蹤, 反跟蹤, 外遇問題, 徵信, 捉姦, 女人徵信, 女子徵信, 外遇問題, 女子徵信, 徵信社, 外遇, 徵信公司, 徵信網, 外遇蒐證, 抓姦, 抓猴, 捉猴, 調查跟蹤, 反跟蹤, 感情挽回, 挽回感情, 婚姻挽回, 挽回婚姻, 外遇沖開, 抓姦, 女子徵信, 外遇蒐證, 外遇, 通姦, 通姦罪, 贍養費, 徵信, 徵信社, 抓姦, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信公司, 徵信, 徵信公司, 女人徵信, 外遇

徵信, 徵信網, 徵信社, 徵信網, 外遇, 徵信, 徵信社, 抓姦, 徵信, 女人徵信, 徵信社, 女人徵信社, 外遇, 抓姦, 徵信公司, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信公司, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信公司, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 女人徵信社, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 女子徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 征信, 征信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社, 征信, 徵信, 徵信社, 徵信, 徵信社

sad said...

Die Spirale Unruhspirale wird zunächst in Uhren verwendet. Die Genauigkeit war nun in Bruchteilen von thomas sabo günstig Minuten gemessen als auf Bruchteile von Stunden gegenüber. Dies verursacht höhere Genauigkeit, um eine DFÜ Uhrmacher, dass eine Minute der Hand hatte und von minutes.Charles II eingeführt Weste mit Taschen thomas sabo verteilt zu erstellen.Männer trugen jetzt ihre Uhren in der Tasche, anstatt auf einem pendant.Dullier Debeaigre und entwickelte eine Methode zur Verwendung von Edelsteinen als bearings.Sully darauf hin, dass die Schaffung einer kleinen Senke um jedes Loch angebote thomas sabo uhren würde, weil das Öl von der Oberfläche gefunden wurde tension.It behalten gemeinsamen zu einem großen Diamantdeckstein in den Hahn zu finden.Die Namen der Uhrmacher erschien nie auf den Zifferblättern der sabo uhren Uhren bis now.John Harrison hat eine Uhr, so genau es verwendet wurde, um während der Längengrad Meer voyages.Champleve Maßnahme ist selten geworden war. Purrelet begann thomas sabo uhren billig die Produktion des Automatik-Uhren.

Microsoft Office 2007 said...

Office 2010
Microsoft Office 2010
Microsoft word
Office 2007
Microsoft Office
Microsoft Office 2007
Office 2007 key
Office 2007 download
Office 2007 Professional
Outlook 2010
Microsoft outlook
Microsoft outlook 2010
Windows 7

Lake Vostok said...

I am so glad I found this blog. Whenever I heard your pieces on
This American Life
I felt, "Yippee! There is another one that speaks the lingo!"

pandora jewellery said...

Bridesmaid pandora jewelry is no doubt now becoming very cheap pandora popular and is continuously enjoying the reputation it gets for being able to transform a simple girl pandora uk into a stunningly beautiful pandora jewellery bridesmaid. Because of its popularity and good reputation, this kind of jewelry is now an essential part every bridesmaid's preparation for pandora jewellery uk modern day weddings.

Peter said...

Thanks for great share :)

EWA review
Affiliate review
pc games download
download gta 4 for pc free
Blam ads review
cpatank review
wolf storm media review
Ndemand review
Download Shift 2 Unleashed Free

Jane said...

It's all wrong what you're writing.

Blogger said...

Did you know you can create short urls with Shortest and get dollars from every visit to your short urls.