For those who aren’t aware, ‘Chewbacca Mom’ is the moniker given to the 37 year old stay at home mother turned internet sensation Candace. She gained her ‘fame.’ by posting a video of herself after purchasing a chewbacca mask that would make the sound of the titular character when you opened your mouth. Payne’s infectious laughter and bubbly attitude made for perfect viral viewing and it broke the record for any facebook live video with over 24 million views to date. The unexpected success let her experience the celebrity life for a very deserved 15 minutes.She went on various news programs and even me J.J. Abrams himself. What a lovely little thing. Back to real life.
I was shocked to learn that not only does Ms. Payne have an online series on the internet service of American network TLC (A channel known for forcing fame upon clearly mundane and humdrum people with otherwise normal traits.) But has also written a book aimed at teaching people about happiness and the freedom of joy. I’m sorry… What?
Must we live in the world where the faintest whiff of fame and notoriety sends people into a lustful craze where they must perpetuate this fame at all costs? Are we so desperate as people to be seen and documented that we will rest on the laurels of a video that showcases zero talent or merit? It is not for me to say that Candace Payne hasn’t got a story worth telling. As someone who is obsessed with stories, I would comfortably say that she does. But why must she take a perfectly pleasant experience and bastardize it into something that resembles a career in entertainment?
To her credit. Payne embodies pure joy in this video. In a world where anger and factionalism are rampant and blatant on the internet, this lovely woman enjoyed the simple pleasure that came with what looks like a really cool toy. It is just sad to see that the fame she felt in the wake of this experience has clearly convinced her that she is more than a regular mom and wife. She is somehow an elevated person whose story is so important now, that it needs to be packaged and sold among all the other names. What I loved about Chewbacca mom is that it was a normal person enjoying a beautifully normal moment of happiness. And it’s been capitalized and manufactured into a transparent attempt at immortality. I guess as a Writer, I should be careful of being a hypocrite.
Do you think my words have weight? Or am I a bitter nobody typing away in his bedroom because somebody got a little bit further ahead out of sheer luck? Fame is a subject that, as a society, we’re all a little more in tune with. Anyone and their dog can be famous now and we’re all realizing it. I only hope that our bookshops and television services don’t become saturated with over produced attempts and sensationalizing normal people for the sake of the perpetuation of a fleeting moment.
Here’s to you, Chewbacca Mom. Good on you. I guess.