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    Posted January 17, 2013 by
    RobRoyA
    Location
    Seattle, Washington
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    Sound off

    A Different Kind of Celebrity Sighting

     
    I was in Las Vegas during the week of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and had my own version of a celebrity sighting. I was staying in the Palazzo (thanks to the company of my lovely wife) and one morning when leaving the hotel elevators I walked past none other than Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, NJ. In my excitement I quickly took to Facebook to declare my sighting. The reaction? Virtual crickets. Only two of my friends seemed to care (and no one else in the hotel seemed to notice). Now is this about me feeling sad that people did not flock to their smart phones and computers to “LIKE” my post or leave their own witty comments? Of course not! (I say with memories of past instances where that may be a truthful statement). This is about who we, as a society, get excited about seeing out in the wild.
    Should people care that I saw Cory Booker in a hotel in Las Vegas? Should that excite anyone? That’s the real question I had to ask myself. Who in the public eye should we value more? A socialite out on the town for a wild party that displays him or herself as a train wreck tossed in a blender? Or possibly an actor or actress that is out walking the dog or simply buying veggies at the local market? What if I had reported a sighting of Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen, Paris Hilton or even Carrot Top in Las Vegas? Do you imagine that the reactions would have been universally different? I certainly do.
    I am a political junkie, but I am also a huge movie buff, so I am capable of excitement on both fronts. Maybe it is funny that the only true “Hollywood Celebrity” sighting I have ever experienced was seeing Stephen Root sitting on the patio of a small Hollywood café eating lunch. Why is it funny? I got about an equal number of “who is that??” from people when I say “OH man, I saw Stephen Root/Cory Booker!” Maybe I’m easily excited, maybe I appreciated the under appreciated? Let’s not make this all about me.
    When and where do we learn to become interested in today’s notable individuals? What drives us to recognize a person and identity them as someone about which I should care? Do we learn this in grade school, middle school or high school? Sure, every kid knows their President and surely even the Vice President. Maybe at a high school level they can identify the Speaker of the House or Senate Majority Leader – maybe. I but I bet if you ask a random Sophomore who won last season of The Voice or American Idol or who is this year’s Teen Mom you’ll have an answer in record time. I do not recommend our politicians go out and sign up for reality shows – a notable former Alaska governor proved that is not always for the best. What I do suggest is that we create more space in our spectrum for celebrities of a different sort. Introduce society to celebrities that don’t walk down the red carpet or don’t demand the lifting of the velvet rope at the posh Hollywood night club. Sure, many politicians are not worthy of our attention and plenty of actors or actresses are class-act philanthropists. But that anonymous person you just walked by in the hotel lobby just might be a mayor fighting to bring his city back from a natural disaster and that burn scar on his hand might have a story that could have been cut straight from your favorite episode of Third Watch that’s been stored on your DVR for years. Let’s give some others a chance at the spotlight. I believe we can have the best of both worlds.
    And to Mr. Booker, congratulations on Panasonic moving their North American Headquarters to Newark. I hope you enjoyed your stay in Sin City!

    (photo courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/corybooker)

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