I am not afraid to say that I’m a former celebrity obsessive. Growing up, I loved celebrity culture. All of it. The gossip, the fashion, the glamour. I gobbled it down as fast as I could and repeated the cycle the moment I found something new. I lived it, I breathed it.
However, within the last couple of years, my interest in celebrity culture and the entire idea of the celebrity persona has changed completely. I simply stopped caring. Not because I have changed drastically, it’s because the culture has changed.
It’s become overwhelming. We are now being overfed the lives and opinions of celebrities to the point that it is almost impossible to avoid. There’s no question that television, magazines and the like have always featured celebrities, but as technology grows, how and what information is distributed grows along with it.
That being said, it doesn’t help that the constant availability of social networking platforms is fueling the cycle of infotainment. For example, log into Facebook and on the right-hand sidebar is a list of trending news topics. More often than not, the top news titles will sound something similar to “So-and-so celebrity cheated on blah-blah celebrity” or “This-and-that celebrity storms off stage.”
Really, we’re getting too familiar with the lives of people whose faces we know, but at the end of the day are of no genuine importance to us.
As a result of this familiarity, celebrities are thought to be role models. Celebrities are meant to provide a service – the service of entertainment. I’m no celebrity, but I’m sure that attempting to make a difference or inspire is not within in the job description.
Still, their stance as role models remains. According to a study conducted by the University of Calgary, 60 percent of college students admitted that a celebrity had influenced their beliefs, attitudes and core values.
Sure, young people might feel more compelled to listen to the advice of their favorite celebrity. But why let that be an option when it is more than likely that there is already a positive influence in their life with whom they actually hold a personal connection, such as a grandparent or teacher? There’s no reason for the appreciation of a celebrity to get that intimate.
Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy entertainment, but I think it’s important to separate our interest in the performance from our interest in the performer.
We are conditioned to marvel at the wonders of the celebrity as the media presents it to us, and we react accordingly. But in doing so, we’re neglecting more important matters. Remember the importance of real news and the importance of the people in your life. Instead of idolizing on the celebrity on your TV screen, focus on being your own celebrity.
Photo courtesy of GabboT via Creative Commons