It’s Friday, so let’s focus on something silly. Like celebrity worship. Maybe it’s not really silly. Maybe it’s actually even destructive. But it seems to be rampant. With all the news and information that’s out there floating around the web – news and information that can actually be beneficial – a disproportionate number of stories are devoted to celebrities.
Celebrity Worship – Talk About Fake News…
There’s been a lot of talk in recent months about “fake news”. Duh, do you think? Most of the news that we get is fake. Just sifting through it is a full-time job, which is why we shouldn’t spend too much time looking at it.
On top of the stories that are patently false – starting with any story that includes the word “sponsored” – most of the news isn’t remotely newsworthy, let alone true. But as the old saying goes, it’s not the truth, but what the people believe that counts.
If people see celebrity “news” enough, they start to believe that it’s true. But what’s even worse, maybe even embarrassing, is thinking that it’s somehow “important”.
Whether they’re actors, singers, musicians, comedians, or TV personalities, they’re all performing. Since they do this professionally, it’s hard to know where the line between performance and reality is actually drawn. I suspect most of them don’t know either.
But there’s nothing more pathetic than people with real lives to live following the lives of those who don’t live in the real world. How does it benefit anyone?
Enough With the Kardashians Already – and Caitlin, Brad & Angelina, Jennifer, etc., etc.,…
My favorite example is the Kardashians. It’s impossible to read a newspaper, a magazine, or a popular web search page, such as Yahoo or MSN.com, without seeing multiple stories about this family. I even wrote an article about the Kardashian phenomenon, in which I speculated that they were part of a government plot to keep us distracted. Since I don’t have even a remote notion why this family is so popular, I’m sticking by that assertion.
Consider this one: Kim Kardashian Honors the Virgin Mary in Skintight Sheer Dress. Really? A story about the latest wardrobe sensation by a person whose famous for being famous? And about an outfit that’s offensive to millions of people at that? What better incentive for her to keep the trash coming?
This woman is accutely aware that everything she does will be chronicaled by a hungry media.
The Kardashians hardly alone on the celebrity circuit. Whether we want it or not, we’re going to get endless stories about Caitlin Jenner’s latest struggles with being transgender, or the most recent iteration of the former(?) relationship between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, or how Jennifer Aniston continues to defy the odds and lead a perfect life.
Despite the fact that I don’t know anyone who pays any attention to this “news”, we continue to get an endless stream of this drivel, sharing equal headline space with more relevant stories.
Either the news media is attempting to force-feed us this trash – or there are millions of people tuning into it from some parallel universe that I and the people I keep company with never visit.
Ressurecting the Dead
It’s bad enough when people are hyper-focused on living celebrities. But it’s even more pathetic when they’re obsessed with the dead ones.
Throughout much of my life, there’s been an unnatural obsession with the deaths of both John F. Kennedy and Elvis. Now I can understand some of the commotion about JFK, or more precisely, who killed JFK. He was, after all, the president of the US, and a historical figure. But Elvis was a pure play on celebrity. We continue to get at least occasional stories on both.
The more recent and prominent example is Princess/Lady Diana. She’s been gone for 20 years, but if you read the headlines in popular print and online publications, an alien from another planet might get the impression that she’s still very much alive.
The Telegraph has this recent gem: On what would have been her 56th birthday, look back at Princess Diana’s best fashion moments. Hmmm.
Here’s another, from Yahoo: a slideshow titled The Best Books About Princess Diana and Her Boys.
I don’t mean to offend you if you’re from the UK, but Princess Diana was not our princess here in the US (though I often wonder if many of her female American fans are aware of that factoid). And if I remember correctly, she wasn’t even a princess at all at the time of her death. The ongoing princess designation seems to be primarily because most of us don’t really know exactly what she was.
What’s more significant, I think, is that she wasn’t a great leader, or someone who hatched an invention or a business that changed the lives of millions of people. Her well-documented charity efforts notwithstanding, she was mostly famous for being a celebrity.
In the end, she was an outcast member of the British Royal family. And given that that is a figurehead monarchy for practical purposes, it means that Diana, like so many of the celebrities on this side of the pond, is really just famous for being famous.
I get that people are enchanted by royalty, particularly the British Royal family. They are the royal family of what was the last last great nation ruled by a monarchy. We were all raised on fairy tales and fables about noble kings, queens, princes and princesses, and the British Royal family nurtures that corner or our childhood memories. But what I don’t get is the amount of coverage the family receives, even in death.
It’s also interesting to consider that at the time of Diana’s death, we also experienced the passing of Mother Theresa. There was a saint of a woman who worked with the desperately poor in India, and gathered no compensation or glory in the process. Yet between the two women, the one who was mostly a famous face gathered all of the headlines, while the true heroine was all but ignored by the media.
What does that say about us as a culture and as a people? That’s something that we should all spend a lot more time ruminating on.
It’s All “Clickbait” Anyway
From an operational standpoint, the mainstream media gives us celebrity worship as a way of drawing eyeballs to articles, videos, news programs and TV shows. It’s called clickbait,, which Dictionary.com defines as:
”…a sensationalized headline or piece of text on the Internet designed to entice people to follow a link to an article on another web page.”
Put another way, clickbait is very definite form of media manipulation. If you click through to the stories, you’re voluntarily subjecting yourself to that manipulation.
The media are very well aware of the importance of name recognition in drawing eyeballs to the content. As well, liberal use of celebrities in the creation of content is a conservative marketing strategy. If you put out a story in which an average Joe or Jane do something important, you have to produce a creative headline based on exactly what they did. But with celebrity news, all you have to do is include the celebrity name, and a certain percentage of the readers will be drawn to the content, regardless of the value of its substance.
Why Celebrity Worship Isn’t Harmless
At best, celebrity news is focused on people whose lives are irrelevant to us in our own existence. Consider that celebrities have both fame and money, which means that they live lives that are radically different from the ones we do.
They can pay people to do things for them. While they’re out doing noteworthy things with their lives, there are little people around them who handle the day-to-day minutia.
By contrast, when were busy earning a living, we still have to clean our homes, go to the grocery store, raise our kids, pay the bills, and comply with government regulation. Celebrities have other people to do these things for them.
If you hear that a celebrity has launched some new business, don’t be so amazed as if they’re on to something revolutionary. Their name recognition gives them an inside track. You and I can’t do the same thing. That’s the reason why there’s no insight to be gained from the way celebrities live, or what they do. You’re wasting a lot of time if you’re using celebrities as role models. Some of them may in fact be decent people, but they simply exist at entirely different level, one that isn’t relevant to the way most of us live.
At worst, celebrity worship can lead us down the wrong path in life. Have you noticed that most of them live life’s that could best be described by the word decadence. There’s no moral fiber, and in fact they seem to push the envelope on errant behavior. When they do, they can stay out of trouble with their names and their money. If you or I try to do the same things they do, we’ll likely land in jail.
One of the things that I find most annoying about celebrities is when they voice their opinions. The media also loves jumping on that bandwagon. The presumption is that the opinions of celebrities on important national matters are deeper and more insightful than the average person. Nonsense.
An actor is an actor. He’s not a doctor, a politician, a businessperson, or someone who holds a workaday job. His opinions on any of these topics can be downright destructive, not the least of which because of its irrelevancy.
For example, I’ve already discussed the incestuous relationship between Hollywood and the Democratic Party. The last thing we need is another celebrity political position, given that we can be 95% certain where it will fall before they even open their mouths.
They also routinely weigh in with positions on moral issues. That’s ironic, since they’re predictably opposed to anything that smacks of sound moral behavior.
It’s fine to enjoy the primary work product produced by celebrities, be it acting, music or other art forms. But that doesn’t qualify them to tell us how we should live our lives, or run the country. Their out-sized popularity alone should make a suspicious.
Stop Allowing Yourself to be Distracted
Celebrity worship is all about distraction. The intent is either to keep us from focusing on what’s truly important, or to point us in a different direction. Yes, their lives are glamorous, but creating a sort of hero worship isn’t warranted. Celebrities are not heroes. They’re mostly pretty faces who have found favor with the dominant media culture.
Do your best to block the celebrities out, and all of the worthless celebrity news. Instead, concentrate on…
- Creating a life worth living for yourself – you’re the only one who can do that.
- Focus on taking better care of your family, and spending more time with them.
- Work on keeping your career skills relevant, or developing entirely new new ones.
- Start that business that you’ve been putting off.
- Discover and develop your own unique talents – you have them.
- Start that blog you’ve been putting off.
- Commit to healthier living.
- Reject the common celebrity embrace of atheism, and cultivate a relationship with the Creator.
- Plan exciting and authentic experiences for your life.
Those are all examples of living a real life. Celebrity worship is just a distraction, an attempt to live life through the lives of the privileged. There’s nothing that celebrities do that’s relevant to our lives, and that means there’s nothing about them that’s deserving of our attention.