Saturday, March 7, 2015

How to answer fan questions like a pro

Hopeful kid #1: Mr. Celebrity, is it true there's a meritocracy, and that if I do something I like really well, I'll succeed?

Mr. Celebrity: Sure there is, sweetheart. The world is a just, fair place. If you do well at something, you'll be rewarded. In fact, that's why I'm answering you now--not so much because you're going anywhere except to a leaky flat in Brislington, but because my manager let your question get through to me so I could reassure everyone who showed up today with a "yes." And that yes confirms that my own success is due to merit. My own passion and hard work thrust me to the top of billions. Now go over there, get your sticker, and get the hell to the back of the crowd. Next!

Eager fans: Swoon!

Hopeful kid #2: Mr. Celebrity, should I follow my dreams?

Mr. Celebrity: Damn straight, son! Your dreams are the most important thing in the world. Fuck everybody else's dreams. Focus on yourself. Oh, but be sure to be kind to a couple of people along the way. What you need to do is strike the right kind of balance between serving yourself totally while tossing a few scraps to someone worthless, like you, when the cameras are rolling. Next!

Eager fans: Double swoon!

Hopeful kid #3: Mr. Celebrity, sir--if I have a setback, should I give up?

Mr. Celebrity: Never! Believe in yourself, and push through. After all, those who fail are merely those who have given up. Those who keep trying are going to succeed. Like, me, for example--I was just going to lay around the bungalow for another couple years after college, but after my da made a few calls and told me there was something I had to do, I decided to get up and go do it. And that's what got me where I am today. Go on, back of the group, who's next?

Eager fans: Omigod, he is so dreamy!

Hopeful kid #4: Should we support established public institutions that do good things?

Mr. Celebrity: Absolutely. The world is genuinely okay, and there's nothing really that we can do to improve it except following our own dreams, and occasionally giving more money to the caring kleptocrats who run the shit you people use like, uhh, schools, libraries, museums, and whatever else you do when you're not at work. Next!

Eager fans: SWOON!!!

* * *

(Blight, but Neil Gaiman is one smug sack of shoddy.)


  1. Boy, did you nail it here. "And that yes confirms that my own success is due to merit."

    Just once I'd like to hear a fan say:

    You can't act, you have no business sense, and you're a miserable human being. Without all the wealth and yes-men around to insulate you from the consequences of your own stupidity, you'd be down here in the gutter with the rest of us.

    And this is why I have trouble making friends ;)

    1. A pleasurable fantasy, but what makes these kinds of "spokesperson artists" so useful is that they're perfectly equipped to handle stuff like that. Just like politicians, they exist not because they accomplish anything, but because they can turn even the most direct insults into a great-sounding off-topic answer.

      Here's my PR response to your fan scenario:

      "Yes, throughout my career, I've grappled with my own shortcomings and failures, as we all have. I've been blessed with a great deal of luck and support from my family, my friends, and my editor, and of course, the fans, who just keep on giving back to me. I really think I've learned for more from them than I can ever repay them for. What unites us, I think, is that we work to better ourselves. Me to be a better entertainer, and to do what I can to make people able to understand each other better, and my editor Karen--that's Karen over there; hi, Karen!--my editor Karen, and people like her, who understand the business side of things far more than I ever can, and who can work to make sure everyone has a chance at success. Just last year, for example, Karen and DC donated over three million euros to the Foundation for Troubled Youth, and I've had the privilege of working with a lot of these kids, kids who just don't have a chance, and with some of the hands-on people, these true angels, who make sure that that you out there, Toby? Hey, thanks for coming out! Anyway, as I was saying, people like Toby, a far better man than's all of our responsibilities to give something back, in places like these, so that every child can have the opportunity to..."

      See? Zero substance, but to fans, it appears like the original question-asker has been completely shut down, and all problems averted. Spiteful, bitter accusations from the audience can swiftly become a positive, so long as people are enough to fall for the original propaganda. In fact, just the right kind of rhetorical spite improves the position of the spokesman, because it lends the appearance of tried and true.

  2. There is a real demand for this type of reassurance. I have no other explanation why people, after having heard this shit thousands of times, continue to nod approvingly, rather than burst into laughter - so easy a weapon against authority, yet forever somehow out of reach