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The Sickness of Celebrity Obsession

The Sickness of Celebrity Obsession

We are a celebrity-obsessed culture. We hail movie stars, rock stars, authors, auteurs, athletes, as well as those who should really just stay anonymous. It is a societal pastime that is shared by much of the planet. One might think that celebrity obsession is something new, created and bolstered by the technological age. In fact, celebrity obsession has a long history.

People around the globe have doted on and marvelled at celebrities for thousands of years. Of course, we see celebrity history as something fairly recent, dating back to the advent of movies, when in fact ancient Greece had actors and singers who were the Meryl Streeps or Elvis Presleys of their times. Human beings love to be entertained and inspired and love to have something which to aspire. In most cases, these are not unhealthy manifestations of a celebrity culture. But there is a downside.

They are human silly putty, just there to fill time and space until the primer gets slapped on.

silly_putty_04Celebrity has been bestowed upon the witless and unwitting—and certainly the undeserving. We have the banal and ridiculous like the Kardashians, Hiltons, Honey Boo Boos, Duck Dynastys and a host of others who have gained incredible fame and fortune for nothing. There is no talent, no insight, no tangible reason why these people are in the public consciousness other than they are human silly putty, just there to fill time and space until the primer gets slapped on. Bad enough as that is, it gets worse.

Many a raging imbecile has been elevated to the upper reaches of fame for their ignorance, offensiveness and bad behaviour. Without naming their names (as they have been grossly over-recognized in the recent past), we all know who the latest batch of notorious numb-nuts are. And yet, with each egregious act, they bask in a brighter spotlight. The only thing they could do to improve their ratings and recognition would be to die. That’s not a suggestion or a joke, that is a fact.

A big-name actor died of a drug overdose and made international headlines recently. His death sparked a continuous stream of articles and chatter on social media which seems not to want to cease. While the death of a celebrity—especially a young one—has always garnered public fascination and a certain type of grief that only those totally unknown to us personally can garner—it is nothing new. What was disturbing about this story was the story it knocked off the headlines: 90 Killed in Barrel Bomb Attacks in Aleppo, Syria. The mostly women and children who died in that attack are now no longer worthy of reportage. Sadly, they made no great movies or won Academy Awards.

Who made George Zimmerman a celebrity? Why, we all did.

ZimmermanThen, we get to the bottom of the ‘celebrity’ barrel: the notorious and infamous. These are the people who become renowned and achieve iconic status for their heinous acts. Bonnie and Clyde became folk heroes and the subject of books and movies and the fascination of a nation while on their thieving and killing rampage in the early 1900s. Of course, Charles Manson is a cult icon. People actually wear T-shirts with his insane visage manically glaring out form their torsos. These people do realize he brutally murdered a number of people—including a very pregnant woman? Gee, he deserves to be hailed.

Now, we have the current batch of bastards who are being rewarded for their sins in a culture that has made them ‘celebrities’. Today’s example: Teen-killer and gun-brandishing paranoiac George Zimmerman, who will be taking part on a ‘celebrity’ boxing match. Let that sink in. George Zimmerman is considered a celebrity and will profit as a celebrity because he murdered an unarmed teenage kid whom he mistook as a potential threat and a justice system so totally out of whack that he got off Scot-free.

Is this all George Zimmerman’s fault? In part, yes. He committed the crime. In a much larger part, no. He has been vaunted by the media and a hungry-for-any-kind-of-celebrity-no-matter-how-horrid culture that has allowed a bottom-feeding slug like this to be rewarded for taking someone’s life. Every click-and-share of a CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, CBC or TMZ story only serves as chum in the feeding frenzy for ratings and ad revenue. Who made George Zimmerman a celebrity? Why, we all did.

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AndyAndrew Vails writing career began in Halifax when he was but a child. In Grade 4, he wrote and produced his own series of comic books entitled “Freaky The Frog”, the on-going tale of a little misfit frog and his pals of the pond. Marvel Comics never came knocking but Andrew knew he loved to create and tell stories. Since then, Andrew has worked in advertising, PR and publicity; has interviewed politicians, rock stars and very interesting yet not-so-famous movers and shakers. He has published articles in a variety of local and national magazines and websites. Andrew is currently working on the project queer50.com.


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