As a celebrity by marriage (to Aaron Spelling, the most-prolific producer in television history), then by motherhood, then by house (yes, my house is the largest in Los Angeles, and it is for sale for $150,000,000), and, finally, because I had my own best-selling book, I've long been a student of "celebrity."
The coverage of Janice Min's resignation from Us Weekly was particularly intriguing, because she did so much to change the definition of "celebrity."
Janice, after all, realized that Jon and Kate (even without the "8") were far bigger than TV, multiplying the ratings beyond TLC's wildest dreams.
And, we know so much about lots of other reality show runners-up, thanks to Janice. Otherwise, Charles Van Doren and Ken Jennings aside, they might have just been like game-show runners-up (or even winners), part of our consciousness for an hour or two, and then gone forever.
Rachel Abramowitz in the Los Angeles Times positioned it well:
"When she took the helm six years ago, a celebrity was a movie star or someone with a sitcom."
Min explains that, during her tenure:
"The whole relationship dynamic between the general population and celebrity has morphed into a belief that there's very little separating you from being like them."
Who tells them that this thinking doesn't work in real life? Celebrity behavior and acceptable behavior often differ greatly. And, the relaxed standards for celebrities don't translate well to real life.
I'd like to think that artists, humanitarians, athletes and others could be counted as celebrities, too; but, at this point, I'd settle for the pre-Janice Min definition and less morphed beliefs.