The Ignorance of Celebrity by Shawn Ray
Ignorance of Celebrity
"The Pain & The Price"
In a world where at the click of your Mouse on your home computer, becoming a Celebrity is a word I'll use lightly with regard to overall "Accomplishments or Skill." It's come to my attention over the last few years that actual "Stars" are becoming more rare yet Celebrities are born at an alarming rate for basically barely making a dent in Sports & Entertainment through virtual Internet Posting and Rants dishing dirt about actual Stars! Since Sports is my specialty namely Bodybuilding, I'll try and keep it focused here as the World Wide Web has created more Celebrities than Stars, as well as given a voice to every Critic across the globe to have their 5 minutes of fame whether we want to hear from them or not.
Over the weekend it came to my attention that a disgruntled Fan of Bodybuilding was alarmed to actually witness established Pro Bodybuilders actually "Selling" images of themselves at booths of their sponsoring companies right next to their DVDs, T-Shirts, Posters and company Products? Here's where I guess an unassuming Fan that paid the price of Admission must have missed the "Memo" that Professional Athletes from all different sports and all over the world typically show up at these various industry Expos to specifically "Sell and Sign" their merchandise in exchange for Currency. On any given weekend be it an Amateur Contest, Expo, Exhibition or Pro Show dating back decades,Star Bodybuilders come from far and wide to promote and sell images of their work and take pictures with fans and sign autographs on their pictures & posters after having printed them up by the hundreds and thousands to take on the road with us around the world to the Fans who appreciate our work, time and efforts to inspire, encourage and motivate them in their pursuit of Training, Nutrition and Competition!
It's here the rubber meets the road, the Pro Bodybuilder sets up shop and stands behind said sponsor booth for hours at a stretch and days on end in cities, states and countries across the world to do the "Business of bodybuilding." The photos, shirts, posters and DVD's are prominently on display for the general public to Buy if they so choose. There is no requirement or demand that the Fan has to purchase anything? On the average, most fans navigate these Expos scouting out Free Sample Products from companies, asking questions of the Pro's who in this setting are the "Stars" while taking endless amounts of pictures with them for hours on end. Booth after booth, the Pro's are scattered throughout the Expo doing their jobs. For some of the pro Athletes their sponsoring companies provide "Free Samples, Free Pictures or Free Posters" of their contracted Athletes to give away to the fans and the Pro Athletes have this adjusted into their Sponsor Contracts to do so balancing out the financial difference in what they might have Sold.
Amazingly after being in the sport since 1983, one year shy of 30 years in the industry, the one thing I've witnessed in our sport is that EVERYTHING is more Expensive yet the same 8'10 Photographs that Bodybuilding Legends like; Arnold, Zane, Dickerson and Bannout were selling to the Fans in the 70's & 80's are still selling at the same price of $10.00 in the 90's and the same $10.00 now 12 years into the new millennium which is unheard of considering what the cost of a gallon of Gas or Milk was back then! Technology has worked in such a way that surely its cheaper now to convert a gallon of usable Gasoline or to pasteurize a gallon of Milk yet the consumers all pay more for both 30 years later, a lot more!
For the "Celebrity Keyboard Critics" who sit at home not willing to support the sport or its athletes only to simply criticize the Pro Athletes who are promoting the sport and who sacrifice simple pleasures in life to be the best they can be is just another stone thrown from a distance by unhappy people with obviously no life of their own. Disgruntled maybe by their lack of success in the sport or upset that someone is not giving them a "Hand Out."
These Professional Bodybuilders who shape our sport by allowing us to see what is humanly possible with regard to sculpting our bodies should be applauded, as should the pioneers of our sport who laid the foundation and provided today's Stars with career and job opportunities using their Passion for the sport as the vehicle to bettering themselves as athletes and human beings. Our sport has grown in such a way that the Pro Bodybuilders have a chance at earning a living from what they invest in their training, nutrition and sacrifices. We have come a long way and have a long way to go but bashing these guys for their opportunity to cash in on their hard work is ludacris.
Bodybuilders to me are no different than Artists and Musicians. We as Fans have different tastes in both and will buy or support whichever type of Music or Art moves us in. I don't fault an Artist who Paints a picture in the comfort of their own home with Crayons, Paint or Pencil when I see their finished product in a window of an Art Gallery with an asking price well into the thousands of dollars? Nor do I bash a Rock Band for selling CD that is 20 years old for $15.00!
The Fan has "choices" when it comes to what or whom they like or support, who are we to pass judgement on that?
It's not rock science to know that in this day and age most "Goods" can be cheaply produced in mass quantities driving production costs down for the producers, however what doesn't lose value is the Price Tag every Pro Athlete places in their "Personal Time."
"Time" is a commodity that this industry places a Premium on and the Value of it varies from one Athlete to the next. So please note in the future while your taking your Free Photographs with a willing and smiling Pro Bodybuilder who commits to a weekend away from his family, friends, home and the million other things he could be doing, is that for whatever reason, he chose to be doing the "Business of Bodybuilding" instead without making a single demand or asking for you to contribute a dime toward his efforts to motivate and inspire people who appreciate his "Time" in simply attending such an event and supporting his sport.
Many of these Professionals have to talk all day to total strangers, miss important meals, workouts, family functions, birthdays and a number of things that they could otherwise profit from be it socially, emotionally and financially.
I appreciate all forms and expressions of Art, Music, Sports & Entertainment and spend my hard earned money on the ones that satisfy what I like, be it a Signed Photo that costs $10.00 or a hand Drawn Painting to hang on my wall that costs $1,000.00!
It's the freedom to "Choose" that makes this world great not the freedom to "Criticize."
I never got into bodybuilding to Sign & Sell Photos, it's part of the job and I'd be lying if I said I'm the only one doing it.
What one person thinks is too much, another may think is "Priceless!"
My two cents.