There is a mad variety of entertainment choices available to the average American today, and celebrities would do well to remember that. Their popularity is always due in large part to a magical combination of talent (not always necessary in any great amount), guile, ambition (absolutely essential), and pure luck that creates a desire on the part of total strangers to welcome these people into our humdrum lives. The one thing that all celebrities have in common—the only thing they all have in common, in fact—is that a very large number of people like them, often for no readlly identifiable reasons.
Television network programmers know that this mysterious likeability is the number one factor in success in that medium, and it is true throughout the Omniculture. There are just so many choices out there that people can never be forced to accept something from someone they don't like. They can always go elsewhere.
That is why celebrities strive so hard to create and maintain a particular public image. And it is also why likeable celebrities do incredibly stupid things that make people cast them aside like yesterday's poop. They don't understand how fragile likeability really is. Apparently they entirely forget the lessons about human fickleness they should have learned indelibly in high school.
To wit . . .
Reuters reports that the pop country band the Dixie Chicks have changed their tour schedule to avoid "red states." As you'll recall, Natalie Maynes, the group's lead singer, said she was ashamed of being from the same state as President Bush, while onstage at a concert before thousands of people. Then the band appeared naked on the cover of Entertainment Weekly magazine with angry words scrawled on their bodies, then Maynes apoligized for criticizing the president, and then she took back her apology.
For some obscure reason, the band's fans decided they didn't want to support them any more and could do without their music. Reuters writes:
Country-pop trio the Dixie Chicks, still feeling a backlash for criticizing President George W. Bush, have been forced to mostly abandon the American heartland and Deep South on their latest tour
Facing lackluster ticket sales in many U.S. cities where radio stations had banned their music to protest the band's anti-Bush remarks, the Chicks' promoters have revised their tour with new stops in Australia and Canada.
Only four Southern U.S. cities remain on the newly overhauled 49-date concert itinerary posted days ago for the Chicks' "Accidents & Accusations" trek, their first major tour in three years.
Those four -- Nashville, Atlanta, Dallas and Austin, Texas -- were pushed back about two months to the end of the tour, now set for late November and early December.
Dropped from the original tour schedule released in May were 14 stops in the Southern and Midwestern regions that traditionally form the core of fan support for country music acts.
Cities stripped from the original itinerary include Indianapolis, St. Louis, Houston, Memphis, Greensboro, North Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida.
The band and its promoter, Concerts West/AEG Live, say the overall number of North American dates remains the same.
But there is no question the Chicks are spending a lot less time in Dixie than they did during their 2003 tour, when Southern stops accounted for nearly a third of the 57 cities they visited.
According to the band's representatives as quoted in the Reuters story, radio stations have cut back on free promotions of the Dixie Chicks tour, which has resulted in the slow ticket sales in several Southern and Midwestern cities. They say the drop in sales is therefore the stations' fault, and not any decline in the band's overall popularity.
Of course, when those stations were giving the band free promotion, market capitalism was a very good thing indeed.
And the fact that instant wealth and worldwide celebrity tempted a young woman and her satellites to think that she was more than just a stupid singer had nothing to do with it.
From Karnick on Culture.