Puppet Therapy: A Uncharacteristic Remedy for the Starsuckers Phenomena

19 Jun

3rd Article in our series on the Starsucker documentary.

What many should appreciate about the Chris Atkins’, Starsuckers documentary is the way the film details our culture’s obsession with celebrity status. These obsessions motivate the Paris Hiltons, Kim Kardashians, Brody Jenners and others who have sought fame from the world of reality TV. Consequently it also describes why many legitimate Hollywood actors have also sought a kind of reality celebrity. Dedicated to the film industry, LIH has discussed how the medium of television supports a reality craze that many of our writers collectively view as negative. You can witness this documentary by selecting this link.

In her article for the Daily Beast, “The 10 Highest-Earning Reality Stars” Lauren Streib documents the accomplishments of some notable reality stars [1]. Let me let you in on the joke, this article is really an ad for reality stardom. Placed at the end of this article, see the web-based video story that compliments this article. Expressing the worst wide-eyed faux horror, seductive promotions for reality stardom are just that insidious!

Streib’s article mentions many of the reality stars that are mentioned in this article. I added Elizabeth Hasselbeck because it’s easy for most people to forget about her now that she has a day job. Promoted by cynicism queen and former news hound Barbara Walters, Elizabeth Hasselbeck is one of the blue chip illustrations of this phenomenon. Here are some illustrations of toxic opportunism at its worst:

ELIZABETH HASSELBECK:

Who needs a degree or a career in journalism or political science? Elizabeth Hasselbeck moved from one season of “Survivor” to being one of TV’s biggest conservative pundits and one of the Republican Party’s constant cheerleaders. Elizabeth Hasselbeck during one of her rants on “The View”:

DJ PAULY D:

Who needs a degree or a career in nutrition? DJ Pauly D spends a few seasons on TV’s Jersey Shore and now he’s qualified to earn millions for his dietary advice. Here’s the DJ in one of his recent promotional performances:

MIKE “THE SITUATION” SORRENTINO:

Who needs a degree or a career in kinesiology or exercise science? Mike Sorrentino spends a few seasons on TV’s Jersey Shore and now he’s qualified to earn millions in the physical fitness industry. Here’s Sorrentino in one of his recent promotional performances:

KIM KARDASHIAN:

Who needs training, a degree or a career in acting? After a sex tape, a few high profile relationships with professional athletes, and a baby by a rap celebrity and boom she’s a legitimate actress. The order of events wasn’t correct because she got the job before the baby. This is Kim executing one of her acting performances for cynicism baron Tyler Perry.

————————————————————–

If you are like me you are probably sick or bored with this industrial fake trend and all of the people who participate in it. Amid so many great evaluations, the Starsuckers documentary makes one faulty attribution. It assumes puppetry is an illustration of the most superficial servitude. In fact it uses puppetry at least three times as a metaphor for this destructively implicit media slight-of-hand. This is the only Starsuckers argument I did not agree with. One of the reasons children and adults love it, Puppetry can be an extremely sophisticated art form that can use psychological transference [2], in cases with animal characters, anthropomorphism [3]. Here are some incredible examples of contemporary puppetry I think we should all be familiar with.

“RUFFLESS” BOMB DIFUSING SLOTH: An example of the ways contemporary puppetry is frequently used in live action situations with living actors includes ALF of the 1980’s TV show, R2-D2 of Star Wars fame, and this popular commercial.

ELMO’S KEVIN NASH: Prior to some controversy, many were captivated by the self-actualization story. Or people might know him better as ELMO’s puppeteer; a sesame street and toy store favorite.

JIM HENSON’S MUPPETS: After moving off on to their own TV show and later movies the characters have sustained a special place in the hearts of world audiences. Originally associated with their creator’s innovative shop, this merry band of puppets have thrilled world audiences. This is a clip from a recent movie outlining a contradiction many of us consciously or unconsciously laugh at.

THE “SPITTING” IMAGE TROUPE OF PUPPETEERS: If you thought Puppets veer toward the cute and are incapable of communicating true political satire; think again. From 1984 to 1996[4] this English TV program roasted the politics that supported English speaking countries and culture of that time.

JEFF DUNHAM: Speaking of political satire, this ventriloquist happened to emerge at just the time western audiences needed some relief from the horrors the daily news brought them. More than his imaginative characters and puppets, you may recognize this affable puppeteer.

JULIE TAYMOR: This innovative theatrical super star has won awards for costuming, directing, puppetry and producing. The only thing she seems to have not visibly accomplished is the same status in feature film. I hope I am not wrong.

Though easily misunderstood, it’s no wonder that there is a form of psychology dedicated to celebrating puppetries many attributes. In her article, focused of the therapy, Farryl Hadari points out why this art form is a phenomena all its own [5].

The language of puppetry is rich in visual symbols and verbal metaphors. In order for the person engaging in therapeutic work to use this language, he must know how to create it, speak it, understand it, respect its boundaries and use it to create a dialogue.…”

If we intend to define tasteless opportunism as puppetry as one could assume from the video, which I absolutely don’t encourage, then this television show is the worst.

================================================

Essential references:

[1] http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/12/06/the-10-highest-earning-reality-television-stars.html

[2] http://www.thefreedictionary.com/transference

[3] http://www.thefreedictionary.com/anthropomorphism

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spitting_Image

[5] http://www.speakingpuppetry.com/therapy.php (add)

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90 Responses to “Puppet Therapy: A Uncharacteristic Remedy for the Starsuckers Phenomena”

  1. Open Book June 20, 2013 at 4:29 PM #

    Great! Great! Topic and research CR!

  2. ComicRelief June 20, 2013 at 5:48 PM #

    Thank you, with two articles this was a very busy week. I hope this article’s frustration with the inappropriate over use of one popular metaphor isn’t obvious. 🙂

    • Open Book June 20, 2013 at 6:56 PM #

      Yeah! You’ve been pretty busy this week. I have a few questions for u so I hope u are prepared. Hahaha!

      • ComicRelief June 20, 2013 at 7:05 PM #

        OB,

        Hi!!!!!

        Fortunately I’m prepared, shoot when ready!

        • Open Book June 20, 2013 at 7:09 PM #

          Okie doke!

  3. parisienne June 20, 2013 at 7:05 PM #

    Hi Everyone!

    • Open Book June 20, 2013 at 7:06 PM #

      Hi Paris!

      Ahh! What a treat! How are u?

      • parisienne June 20, 2013 at 7:11 PM #

        I’m great! how are you?

        Hi CR!

        • Open Book June 20, 2013 at 7:14 PM #

          I’m good! We must catch up soon. Yes?

          • parisienne June 20, 2013 at 7:35 PM #

            of course!

    • Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 7:06 PM #

      Hi Paris.

      • Open Book June 20, 2013 at 7:06 PM #

        Hi CR!
        Nice to see u too!

        • Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 7:17 PM #

          We spoke at the top of the “board” but it’s nice to see you too.

  4. Open Book June 20, 2013 at 7:05 PM #

    CR- I love Puppets. What other example (besides Puppets) could the authors of the documentary could have used?

    Also, are u most offended by them using Puppets to promote Reality TV stars which put the artform in bad company?

    • Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 7:07 PM #

      Am I that transparent?

      • Open Book June 20, 2013 at 7:13 PM #

        Hmm! Yeah!

        Well sorta kinda and I totally want to support your argument because I know how much work is involved in making Puppets.

        • Open Book June 20, 2013 at 7:18 PM #

          I meant to say because I know how much work and artistry is involved in crafting Puppets having it be used to promote Reality TV stars was unfortunate given how opportunistic they are. Is this apart of your complaint CR?

  5. Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 7:16 PM #

    A lot of things happened in the Starsuckers documentary. Sometimes the perpetrators look like victims. Oftentimes the opportunism is almost obscene.

    Much of the video evidence for these activity is missing from the current version of the article. Non-assault wise this might be more pleasing for our audience.

    • ozzie20 June 20, 2013 at 8:45 PM #

      CR: Sometimes the perpetrators look like victims. Oftentimes the opportunism is almost obscene.

      I agree with this. I can’t remember if this was stated in Starsuckers so I maybe repeating myself! My memory of the event is a little hazy too, lol.

      At the end of the documentary it talked about Live Aid or Live 8, or whatever it was called, being on the same day as the G8 meeting. I remember this happening. The press in the run up to the date was all about how these protestors would interupt this important meeting and how that is bad etc, while also pushing the charity concert hard as well. So that is an example of that actually happening.

      I remember that day well. All the news was praising the concert and how well the G8 meeting went. There was very little news about the protest happening and what was shown was that there wasn’t a massive turn out and the protest had failed. It always struck me as odd, that something wasn’t quite right. The press had gone on and on about this protest and when it happened it was so small, like all the supporters had decided to go to the concert instead! That day has always stayed with me, so when I saw the documentary, I was so shocked! Everything just fell into place as to why this day was so odd. I’m glad I picked up on it and even more glad I remembered it, lol! The documentary would still of left me shaken but not to the extent it did when remembering it all.

      • Open Book June 20, 2013 at 9:02 PM #

        I know this was for CR but if I may say? I do remember that event and thought it was very suspect at the time. Great memory and observation Oz!

        Moonlight Cyber Chocolate is on its way.

        • ozzie20 June 20, 2013 at 9:27 PM #

          Yay! *nom nom nom* 🙂

  6. parisienne June 20, 2013 at 7:17 PM #

    Since we’re discussing puppets and psychology:

    Kevin Clash (the voice of Elmo) has had many claims about inapproriate sexual behavior with young men made against him. From a child’s psychological standpoint, how do you think/feel a parent should explain to their child that the voice of Elmo is different and why?

    Given that homosexuality and laws/for against equal rights are an issue in the country what do you feel is the approriate age to allow a child (even though i’m sure they already do at some point) to have a better understanding of these issues? Children are more tolerant than adults because they aren’t colored by predjudice. They are taught that by society and their families.

    • parisienne June 20, 2013 at 7:21 PM #

      I haven’t watched Sesame Street in years but do you think that the show should teach equality for the LGBT community by having two characters that are gay? I know Bert and Ernie have long been rumored to be “bed buddies” but I’m talking about making two new characters in order to teach about tolerance from a child’s perspective.

      • Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 7:27 PM #

        If I’m not mistaken, there’s are a set of placards waiting behind the digital curtain. Please, please don’t leave for the sit-in before the discussion is over.

      • Open Book June 20, 2013 at 7:43 PM #

        I think for kids more focus should be placed on internal development and acceptance, loving and respecting people for their differences, rather than on if a person is gay or straight. I think kids are already overexposed to sex in the media and looking outside of themselves for comfort. So I guess that would be a NO for me.

        • ozzie20 June 20, 2013 at 8:52 PM #

          Have they replaced Elmo’s voice already? I know the original man has “gone on leave” but I assumed they would wait until he had cleared his name before replacing him and that Elmo wouldn’t be featured untill that decision was made.

    • Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 7:24 PM #

      I read those stories about Kevin Nash but couldn’t discern whether he was being persecuted for being gay or not. I don’t know why Americans get so upset when ever it comes out that their puppeteers have sexual identities. It seemed that this sort of witch hunt almost eliminated Paul Rubens (Pee Wee Herman) career as well. He’s another actor entertainer who works with puppets.

    • Open Book June 20, 2013 at 7:28 PM #

      Excellent Q’s!

      “how do you think/feel a parent should explain to their child that the voice of Elmo is different and why?”

      How old were these young men?

      • parisienne June 20, 2013 at 7:32 PM #

        IIRC, the first one was in his 20’s when he finally said something about it but the whole deal was the relationship started when he was in his teens.

      • Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 7:35 PM #

        These teen males we’re older than Jerry Lee Lewis’ teen bride. I don’t think their is anything about Elmo that sealed the deal for any of these relationships. I don’t think I have anything else to say about it, because the controversy about him being gay detracts from his artistry.

        • parisienne June 20, 2013 at 7:40 PM #

          i understand what you’re saying but I was just asking not about kevin clash but how does a parent explain to their child why elmo’s voice is different? Kevin quit the show. So my question is how does one explain homosexuality to a child?

          In all honesty, the parents will have to explain what homosexuality is anyway and how it is viewed and they will teach their child their own views. That’s what creates a belief system.

          • parisienne June 20, 2013 at 7:44 PM #

            I think that his actions may have thrown the parents into that conversation a little earlier than they wanted it.

            Its just like when children see two animals humping and they ask their parents “Why are they doing that?” The parent than has to have some version of the “Talk” with their kid.

            • Open Book June 20, 2013 at 8:14 PM #

              True! IDK! That’s a tough question. I think children should not be rushed into the Talk because the world thinks its time. I think kids already are rushed into being adults without having fully developed their identities. Does that make sense?

              • ozzie20 June 20, 2013 at 9:00 PM #

                I don’t know how to teach them either but to lighten the mood here’s some comedy about it. I’ll try to post the BBC video but I doubt it’ll work anywhere outside of the UK.

                By the way these are NSFW!

                • Open Book June 20, 2013 at 9:06 PM #

                  Hahahahaha! That is HILARIOUS!

              • ozzie20 June 20, 2013 at 9:02 PM #

                If you can’t see that one, hopefully you can play this. The video quality is bad but all you really need to do is to listen to it anyway.

              • ozzie20 June 20, 2013 at 9:03 PM #

                Last one!

                • Open Book June 20, 2013 at 9:09 PM #

                  Hahahaha! He’s funny. Dogging??? That’s a nice way of putting it. Hahaha!

          • Open Book June 20, 2013 at 7:58 PM #

            I gotcha! So let me take a stab it. IMO parents need to insert values of self respect and how to be more accepting of differences by exposing them to diverse people. Far too often people develop prejudices out of ignorance and fear. So internal development and exposure to diversity and accepting differences is key.

            • parisienne June 20, 2013 at 8:45 PM #

              you have the brain. LOL

              • Open Book June 20, 2013 at 9:14 PM #

                U are too kind.

  7. Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 7:37 PM #

    Paris and OB,

    If you don’t mind I’m going to retrieve most of videos that were in the former version of this article. Please talk amongst yourselves, I’ll be right back.

  8. Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 7:41 PM #

    ELIZABETH HASSELBECK:

    • ozzie20 June 20, 2013 at 9:07 PM #

      I know little about this Elisabeth woman yet the very little I do know still annoys me, lol!

  9. Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 7:42 PM #

    DJ PAULY D:

    • ozzie20 June 20, 2013 at 9:09 PM #

      Why is he rocking back and forth? Does this man need to pee really badly?

  10. Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 7:43 PM #

    MIKE “THE SITUATION” SORRENTINO:

    • ozzie20 June 20, 2013 at 9:12 PM #

      Please tell me he doesn’t say “baby” in nearly every sentense in his real life? It’s annoying!

  11. Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 7:44 PM #

    KIM KARDASHIAN:

    • ozzie20 June 20, 2013 at 9:15 PM #

      Urgh… Just urgh.

  12. Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 7:45 PM #

    “RUFFLESS” BOMB DIFUSING SLOTH:

  13. Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 7:46 PM #

    ELMO’S KEVIN NASH:

  14. parisienne June 20, 2013 at 7:46 PM #

    I would never buy anything from any of these persons. Their ridiculous and make whatever their selling look just as ridiculous.

    • Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 7:53 PM #

      I assume you meant to post earlier, but I agree. Yet reality has a lot more Madison avenue fans than I used to think.

      Please tell me is the last video a news show or an ad?

      • Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 7:54 PM #

        Please tell me is the last video IS a news show or an ad?

      • parisienne June 20, 2013 at 8:04 PM #

        Its a news show and half those people they mentioned I haven’t heard of in forever.

        • parisienne June 20, 2013 at 8:05 PM #

          Take for example, Kate Gosselin, she got fired from being a blogger for a company. Jon can’t afford his child support payments.

          • Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 8:22 PM #

            I agree yet shows about;

            – Flavor Flav

            – Kim Kardashian’s sisters

            -Honey Boo Boo

            They can’t all be idiots, I assume advertisers have to buy airtime to pay for these shows.

  15. Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 7:46 PM #

    JIM HENSON’S MUPPETS:

  16. Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 7:47 PM #

    THE “SPITTING” IMAGE TROUPE OF PUPPETEERS:

  17. Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 7:48 PM #

    JEFF DUNHAM:

  18. Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 7:49 PM #

    JULIE TAYMOR:

  19. Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 7:53 PM #

    “The 10 Highest-Earning Reality Stars”

    • Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 8:05 PM #

      I’m sure this is an ad. A highly ironic one, but these personalities are clearly being sold, promoted and endorsed.

      I understand it really difficult for people to become media stars, and I understand that other media types would likely be impressed with them….

      But COME ON there’s are messages being sold in these that are frequently obscene.

      • parisienne June 20, 2013 at 8:08 PM #

        I agree. Its also a waste of intellectual talent.

        • Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 8:09 PM #

          I would have a harder time saying this without the Starsuckers documentary.

        • Open Book June 20, 2013 at 8:35 PM #

          APPLAUSE!!! I could not agree more. This is what’s bringing down our cultural standards, too much emphasis on external instead of internal values.

          • ozzie20 June 20, 2013 at 9:21 PM #

            Agreed!

  20. ozzie20 June 20, 2013 at 7:59 PM #

    Hi everyone!

    Another great article CR! I’m thrilled you used Spitting Image! I loved that show when it aired. I may have to have repeat viewings of the video you posted! 🙂

    • parisienne June 20, 2013 at 8:07 PM #

      OZZIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve missed you!

      • ozzie20 June 20, 2013 at 8:13 PM #

        AHHHH, IT’S PARIS!!!! I’ve missed you too! Big Squishy hugs to you as well!

    • Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 8:08 PM #

      Hi Ozzie,

      I did not intend but I may have sent Paris and OB On a video watching bender.

      I love that show to death!!!! I’m hoping to find a DVD compilation of the show in the future.

      • ozzie20 June 20, 2013 at 8:15 PM #

        LOL! It was a great show. I wish it come back periodically, like around important events.

      • Open Book June 20, 2013 at 8:20 PM #

        Yes! I’ve been watching videos for the last 5 min. Sorry! I will have to watch them later.

    • Open Book June 20, 2013 at 8:18 PM #

      Hi Ozzie!

      See its almost a full house tonight. AWESOME! We are just missing LB?

  21. ozzie20 June 20, 2013 at 8:09 PM #

    I really, really hope you can see this video. I’m not sure if it fits in with the article because it’s not actually puppets but people making the puppet shadows (with very little props used). I’m proud to say this act won this year’s Britain’s Got Talent! Anyway, get your tissues ready, I was in tears at the end.

    • Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 8:11 PM #

      Of course it applies, thanks Ozzie!

    • parisienne June 20, 2013 at 8:20 PM #

      I love that vid! i’ve seen it before.

    • Open Book June 20, 2013 at 8:28 PM #

      How sad!!! I was really impressed by the creativity though.

      • ComicRelief June 20, 2013 at 8:40 PM #

        But that what’s so terrible. This show and it’s American counterpart do so much work to celebrate people for their;

        discipline
        focus
        talent
        vision
        creativity
        versatility
        passion

        IMO just the opposite of what the reality shows celebrate.

        • Open Book June 20, 2013 at 8:48 PM #

          TRUE! All these things you’ve just mentioned are skills one develop internally which pushes our society/culture forward. Everything about reality television stars/shows exploit and promotes dysfunction, which is not advancing us culturally.

          • ozzie20 June 20, 2013 at 9:26 PM #

            I don’t know if it happens on the American show but here even the bad rejects can become like reality stars. That’s on of the reasons why I don’t watch the show. I just watch the finalist’s videos. It cuts alot of crap out, lol!

  22. Com1c Relief June 20, 2013 at 8:45 PM #

    Thanks everyone for coming. Unfortunately I need to go.

    • Open Book June 20, 2013 at 8:51 PM #

      Goodnight CR! Great topic.

      • parisienne June 20, 2013 at 8:57 PM #

        Good.

        • parisienne June 21, 2013 at 10:26 AM #

          I meant good night

  23. Open Book June 20, 2013 at 9:21 PM #

    Everyone!

    I’m going to leave for tonight. Great article and discussion. Paris nice to have u back. I will come back tomorrow and comment.

    Goodnight!

  24. ozzie20 June 20, 2013 at 9:31 PM #

    Night everyone from me too. 🙂

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