Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Trouble With Icons...

One thing I cannot fathom is why people say they are a fan of someone, when they don't know anything about them. Our world is full of icons like James Dean, Audrey Hepburn, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, and we are constantly surrounded by calendars, stationary, handbags, pencil cases and other decorative items bearing their image. But when you see someone wearing a James Dean t-shirt, does that person even know who James Dean is? When you see someone looking at a poster of Audrey Hepburn saying "I love her" have they even watched any of her films? Do they know or even like Elvis Presley's songs? When I see a poster of Kurt Cobain, regardless of whether the poster is a cool photo, or if I know he is iconic and most people admire him, I will not buy it simply because I only know two Nirvana songs and that he died young.

How can you be a fan of someone, or purchase something that has an image of a certain famous person, if you do not know who they are, their work or their life? The fact is you can buy it, but if fan's of that person ask you what their favourite song/ film is, you're going to look pretty stupid.

I am a big Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and James Dean fan, so when I go to a friend's house and they have a Marilyn poster on their wall, I would immediately be slightly happy that I found a fellow fan and ask them, 'What's your favourite Marilyn film?'.

I know there are some great photos of the icons, and they do look cool on your wall. But I'm just saying, if you're that interested to buy a photo/ t-shirt of this person, why not look them up? Check out their work? That way your purchase will mean something, and look even more better in your home. And trust me, these people aren't icons for nothing- when you look at their work you can see why they became so famous and admired.

For anyone interested: check Elvis's greatest hits just to get a taster, and watch some of his live performances. He was a great comedian, performer, and his voice was beautiful but powerful too. As for Marilyn, she was a comedic genius, not just a gorgeous woman- watch The Seven Year Itch and Some Like It Hot for her at her comedic best, and then for her more dramatic performances watch Bus Stop. Regardless of her harshest ( and usually, jealous) critics, Monroe could act in serious roles, and gave some heartbreaking performances when given the chance.

Audrey Hepburn is an angel, you can't not like her. Everything she does brings a smile to your face, and her films are always full of humour, romance and entertainment. Check out Roman Holiday, Sabrina, Breakfast at Tiffany's and My Fair Lady. You'll fall in love with Audrey like everyone else.

And finally, James Dean- don't go by his most iconic performance in Rebel Without A Cause, although it is brilliant, his greatest performance is in East of Eden. He's as cool as he was back in the 1950's, and you can see why he inspired so many great actors like Al Pacino.

You'll be pleasantly surprised with all of these icons once you've checked them out, and if you haven't, then maybe you'll regret buying that picture you thought looked so cool?


  1. I totally agree with you, but sadly, this situation all comes down to merchandizing, selling famous faces who've tantalized audiences for decades, but "updating" them to a younger audience thanks to publicity. In today's society, what counts is the image, the immaculate veil of eternal youth and not the icon's achievements or qualities. You can observe the same phenomenon with pictures of Che Guevara on T-shirts and calendars as if he were a rockstar. A commercial I've found most appalling recently was the ensemble put out by Citroen, which features either Hitch, Marilyn or Lennon, with their voices dubbed in order to sell a car!!! Ridiculous!

    1. I haven't seen that commercial, and I don't want to either. I couldn't stand the Audrey Hepburn Galaxy advert... she has nothing to do with Galaxy. Just a cheap, unoriginal way to sell.