What is the deal with celebrities?
There is a whole freaking industry that has to do with promoting celebrities. It is kind of sort of killing us… Culturally, intellectually, and spiritually.
I don’t want to make this the usual rants about celebrities and their crazy narcissistic ways.
They are just doing what they do, and if there weren’t a market for it they wouldn’t be doing it, or at least we wouldn’t know about it.
But simply by typing in the following words, I am going to grow the numbers of readers to this post by at least 50% from the usual post…
Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce.
(Sidenote: I just asked my wife to name a celebrity for this article. Her answer: Diana Ross. Boy, is that a generation gap!)
Start with the actual word. If you break it down by its root, celebrity is one who is celebrated. What are we celebrating, what does that even mean to celebrate?
When I celebrate something, it is something good. Otherwise I would observe it, mourn it or do something else besides celebrate.
I don’t pay much attention to celebrities as we understand them now, but most of the things they seem to do aren’t things worth celebrating, at least not the way I understand them.
Well, that’s not totally true. Four of the five celebrities listed above seem to have some unusual talent. The other…well, she’s got something.
There are also a bunch of celebrities who arrived at their place, well…somehow.
The one celebrity I know in “real life” is Jodi Picoult. She’s the author of My Sister’s Keeper, Nineteen Seconds, and lots of other best sellers. We went to high school together, and I grew up next door to her cousins. Her parents and mine are close friends. Jodi is a truly good and kind person in real life. She and I had a phone conversation a few years ago about what it takes to become a New York Times bestselling author. It was enough to convince me going down that road wasn’t worth the effort…and risk.
So maybe we can give them a different name. Or at least divide them up… Calling some celebrities, and calling others famous people who do crazy shit that we know about but don’t necessarily celebrate.
The celebrities have a talent or a passion that seem superhuman. We admire it, but don’t see it for ourselves. So we “celebrate” their achievement and in a sense live vicariously through them.
And maybe we can come up with a new name for those who climb to the top of the pile without a particular attribute worth celebrating.
And as lots of folks have said, there’s a talent involved in getting people to notice you, especially if you don’t hit a baseball 400 feet, hold a C sharp for sixty seconds or move an audience to tears.
Just a thought.
What would you call celebrities whose achievements aren’t worth celebrating?
Do you know any celebrities in your own life? How are the same as the rest of us? How are they different?