Chewbacca Mom and Internet Celebrity

Today I had a discussion with a friend who was playing devil's advocate for Chewbacca Mom and can't understand my attitude about the situation. It started here:

It's Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton all over again, in concept if not practice at least. Candace Payne has done nothing of value to earn celebrity status, and yet continues to cash in on it.

Devil's advocate argument is that it doesn't matter, she's not hurting any one and no one will remember her in year. My point of view is that it does matter, because it's a reflection of today's society. We live in the Internet Age and everything that happens now gets documented now. There is no revisionist history anymore. Additionally, she's not helping anyone either. What should have been a simple moment of joy shared with friends has turned a woman into an Internet sensation who has garnered so much attention it's unbeleivable, so unbeleivable that within three weeks of being unknown there are people willing to pay for her autograph. For laughing. In a mask. Are we already living in a teen dystopian novel? Are we that selfish and voyeuristic? Then again, with Trump as the Republican presidential candidate, maybe we are.

I do not begrudge her the gifts, trips, and scholarships. Hell, I've done stuff for free or in exchange for trips and experiences for brands as well. But what gets my goat, and most of the internet it seems, is that now she is charging for her autograph and only donating a portion to a church in Texas, which some outlets have said is a charity, letting the reader make their own assumptions. Really? I used to tithe. Unless she's donating anonymously, she's getting that money back the next time she files taxes. Not to mention, what portion is she keeping to herself? To quote one article (which I can't remember at the moment) "capitalists are gonna capitalize".

And maybe I'm jaded, but her laugh is not infectious to me (truth be told, today is the first time I have seen the video. Blessedly, no one on FB sent it my way, and I probably would have had the same response then). I can tell that she's happy, but that, to me, sounds like an "OMG, I need stress-release like you wouldn't believe" laugh, you know, when you're at the point where your choices are "I'm going to break down and cry hysterically or I need to laugh" laugh.

And in the end, you have to wonder who bankrolled her Dallas FanExpo appearance. I mean, booths aren't cheap, are usually set up months in advance, not days or weeks, and her placement next to Joffrey? That must have cost a pretty penny. So really, how authentic is this phenomenom now?