Celebrity Worship? Get a Life!

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.

Celebrity Worship? Get a Life!
Celebrity Worship? Get a Life!
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…

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.

( Photo by dno1967b )

13 Responses to Celebrity Worship? Get a Life!

  1. Once again, Kevin, you and I are on the same page regarding celebrities, and especially when people try to emulate them whether following the same diet or copying their hairstyle, But the most harmful part, in my opinion, is when the private person is influenced by the politics of the celebrity. Just a couple of examples…

    1. Jennifer Aniston claims to take 2 minute showers in the interest of environmentalism. How is that even possible? Well, she can go to the studio and have her hair washed and styled they. She probably waxes her legs instead of shaving. So she’s set an impossible standard for the average person to follow.

    2. Some celebrity happens to be gluten intolerant and they announce they are on a gluten free diet. So all these people who are not gluten intolerant think they too need to adopt that way of eating. Harmful? Probably not. Silly? Most definitely.

    3. Oprah Winfrey at one time had a book club for her viewers. All the (primarily) female members of her audience religiously followed her suggestions without a thought as to if it was a book they would really enjoy.

    4. Ashley Judd seems to be saying that unless a woman acts and dresses like a total skank, they are not true feminists or even just a liberated woman. Why else would a sane person wear Judd’s beloved “p…y” hat? Why would anyone listen to political or lifestyle advice from someone who makes their living reading words written by other people?

    5.Now, on a personal note, I have to admit the first time I saw Tom Selleck do a reverse mortgage commercial, I was actually disappointed in him. As one of the few conservative actors in Hollywood, I admired that in a town known for it’s leftwing citizens, he held on to his conservative beliefs and made no apology for it. Why was I disappointed? It seemed to me that he lowered his standards to do a commercial for a product he probably will never use. Being pragmatic, however, I finally decided I didn’t care, and if he got a huge paycheck for doing it, at least the money wasn’t going to some lefty.

    My husband and I seldom go to movies and certainly pay zero attention to anything a celebrity as to say. And we try to never provide an income to one who will just use our hard earned dollars to give it to a political candidate I would never support. Sorry for the lengthy rant, but I shake my head sadly at the realization that much of the voting public, place great stock in what celebrities think they should do in their lives.

  2. Hi Kathy – Don’t worry about ranting, because this whole article and the comments following are a rant. Sometimes you just have to put it out there. I think it really comes down to are we independent individuals pursuing our own courses in life, or are we sheep allowing ourselves to be manipulated? The media counts on the latter, which is why they give us celebrities. Their opinions are solicited (or paid for) in order to sell products, advance ideas and political platforms, and change public thinking. But being a contrarian, I usually take the opposite opinion of celebrity opinions, since I don’t consider them to be real people, or having any interest in or understanding of what the average person faces in life.

    I hope I’m in the majority, but I have to say the headlines make me think otherwise. If you have a life worth living, you don’t need to be following these peoples lives and pronouncements. I’m perfectly content ignoring them and doing my own thing. And, perhaps ironically, I prefer watching movies and TV shows with new or largely unknown actors. When they’re “stars”, they often aren’t credible since they’ve been in too many movies. And worse, movie plots are often build around the star. Look at Tom Cruise. He’s the same guy in every movie he’s ever been in. That’s just not believable.

    I’ll stay in my cocoon and keep blocking it all out.

  3. Great Article! I have felt this way for a while…Keep telling the truth…I appreciate reading your work!
    Peace & Blessings,
    Karim

  4. Thanks Karim! When I write some of these opinion articles I never know if I’ll be congratulated or condemned (it’s happened). It’s good to know that there are people out there who think like I do about a lot of topics. We should probably be more aggressive in making our voices heard though. I’m trying to do that on this blog. Thanks for reading.

  5. Ironic, because I consider Donald Trump to be just a reality TV star, he truly was NOT a great businessman, he used his celebrity status to get where he is today. For the most part though, I agree with your piece. I do despise the celebrity worship culture and would probably not know a Kardashian if I bumped into one of their big butts on the street (even I couldn’t escape all the comments about Kim’s butt, much like I had to hear “You’re Fired!” back in the day no matter how much I tried to avoid shows like Celebrity Apprentice).

  6. Hi Irene – My support of Trump is really centered on my disdain for the Democratic whiners who are still trying to invalidate the outcome of the election. I’m not OK with that. I also take positions contrary to the mainstream media on instinct, and they’re all trying to roast him. But at the same time, don’t you think its poetic that a nation that worships celebrities has a reality TV star as its president? Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor? (The Bible even says he sometimes gives us over to our own depravities.)

    Worse, we wouldn’t know a good candidate if we saw one. He or she would never make it through the primary/nominating process, for which we can also thank the celebrity stooges. Think about it – both Trump and Hillary lead the tickets on little more than name recognition. As a history professor I had in college so appropriately said, “nations get the leadership they deserve, which isn’t necessarily what they want”. It takes imagination to get truly good leadership, and I fear we’ve been too dumbed down – by an unholy alliance between the mainstream media and the education establishment – to make an intelligent choice.

    Also, I’ve tried to watch the Kardashians a couple of times to see what all the fuss is about, but I just don’t get it. After five minutes I’m lost, and I’m done. Maybe I’m dense. It looks like a zombie apocalypse to me.

  7. This article is awesome. I have felt like this for a long time. I would like to point out something that bothers me just as much. Politicians live the same type of fake life.
    Most have lost touch with the real world. They do not have to travel with the masses. They sit in private boxes at sporting events. Drivers, limo’s etc etc. That doesn’t bother me. What bothers me it that it’s all done on our dime.
    The laws they pass for the greater good often become very cumbersome to the average person. They don’t have to live under the laws they pass. You can bet their not taking their shoes off at airports or waiting in hour long lines to get zapped with a dose of radiation. All in the name of protecting us.

    I went to the capital building in Austin, Texas recently. It was a awesome building. I just couldn’t help but wonder if people realized as they walked around and gawked at everything that they paid for it all.

    At least actors and actresses earned their money applying their craft. We are a warped country. Celebrity worship, politician worship like you said have shown how far we have plummeted as a country.

  8. Hi Tim – I think what you’re pointing out is incredibly insightful. The lines between celebrities, politicians and mainstream media types have blurred, and they all essentially live life on the same side of the railroad tracks. That’s a very different place than where the rest of us live. Why we let these people lead us at all is a complete mystery to me. They’re utterly unqualified. If you don’t inhabit the world I live in, that what qualifies you to lead me or to tell me how I should live and think?

    The problem is, a lot of people DO worship them, and that gives them a perverted justification. This may sound cruel, but I think that anyone whose smitten by celebrities (or politicians or media types) is really in a sad place, one where they’re not happy with their own place in life, or lack the confidence to think for themselves. I mean really, who cares what Jennifer Anniston is wearing these days, or what’s happening between Ben Affleck and what’s her name? I sure don’t.

  9. Most these people who are successful at one thing seem to think they are smarter or qualified to tell us what’s important and what is not.

    I would like to point out. I have rode in limo’s. Stayed in penthouses. I have watched sporting events from private boxes. Flown in aircraft that are nicer than my home. I can tell you it’s real easy to loose touch with reality very fast. Once you reach that point you can no longer identify with real life.

    Why we think they would care about real issues or how most people feel or how most live is amazing to me. We are just a delusional as they are.

  10. I think it was Socrates who identified the tendency of people who are “wise” in one area, thinking themselves wise in many others. But that’s what adoring fans and cheering crowds can do. It’s an illusion.

    In the Roman Empire, a victorious general, returning to the city in a victory parade, would have a little guy standing beside him, holding a foliage crown just above his head (so as to remind the general that he wasn’t a king), and repeating “you’re a man, not a god”. The Romans understood what worship could do to a person. It’s extreme, but they also had a practice of executing their emperors if they got too big for the job. This proves that people were smarter 2000 years ago than they are today. We need to have similar rituals to keep the famous and powerful humble (not the execution part, but certainly a not infrequently used impeachment process).

    The now deceased NFL star Reggie White used to tell rookies, “You weren’t as bad on Sunday as the media will say you were on Monday. And you weren’t as good on Sunday as the media will say you were on Monday.” Yes, we need more of that kind of humility. (White’s passing at age 43 reinforces the saying the good die young).

    I’ve not experienced opulence in life, at least not beyond tours of a few mansions, or an invite to an over-priced wedding or two, but I think you’re on point about how that lifestyle becomes addictive, and takes a person far away from reality. But that reinforces the point that we shouldn’t ever be taking our cues in life from the people who live in that orbit. I’ve been around people like that, and I notice that they seem to speak an entirely different language. It’s the language of privilege, and it has little meaning in everyday life.

  11. And now we will have OJ Simpson!! Living under the fake news microscope. We’ll about every golf outing, sneeze, fashion faux pas, etc.

  12. Hi Pat – Wow, I completely forgot that one. See, the celebrity stuff is coming at us so fast we don’t have time to process it. Talk about resurrecting the dead! That saga had a life of its own back in the 90s. Now we get the redux. Great!

  13. Thank you Kevin for replying. I had great respect for Reggie White.
    We are on the same page. This is such a great article. I always wanted to write for a blog. I have so many Dailey insights. I was I could write them. I have a 10 grade education and have poor English writing skills. I’ve never had the confidence. I have a PhD. In life but not in education. That’s for replying. Makes me feel like someone actually reads what I said. Keep up the good work.!! I started and run my own business. Did it right from scratch. I do relate to your advice.

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