Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Celebrity


Some wag once said: “A celebrity is someone who is famous for being famous.”  The most famous such “celebrity” in today’s America has to be Kim Kardashian.  Let there be no doubt, Ms. Kardashian is quite beautiful and quite sexy.  But 100,000 to 1,000,000 American women are as desirable as she is, so why is she famous and they not?  What did she do to become famous?  Another perfect example of this kind of celebrity is Paris Hilton, great-granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, founder of an international hotel chain that bears his name.  Ms. Hilton can barely be called pretty, much less beautiful.  So what she did do to gain fame?  She put herself in the way of paparazzi until they noticed her barely bizarre behavior.  Kim Kardashian was smart enough to know who to latch onto.  There is the reason for Kardashian’s celebrity, she was a hanger-on of another “celebrity.”

So, what do really famous people do?  How do really famous people become famous?  Easy, they do something!  They achieve something (beyond looking good).  Bill Gates, Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak, Michael Jordan, Stephen Curry, Tom Brady, Muhammad Ali, Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford, Angelina Jolie, Barack Obama, even Donald Trump, they all did something and you all know what they did.  And you all know that they put in thousands of hours preparing for their achievement before they began to attract even a small measure of fame.  What did Kardashian do to get where she is?  Nothing, really.  She grabbed onto another celebrity’s coattails.

But my issue is not with these freaks of nature who become famous, nearly overnight and without apparent effort.  My issue is with their public, their fans, their worshippers.  For without worshipful fans these celebrities would be as anonymous, as unknown, as you are.  I would like to suggest that these fans ought to consider re-aligning their worship toward others who are really worthy of their admiration if not their worship (see the short list above).  I would go even further and suggest that many everyday Americans are more worthy of respect and imitation than these celebrities: anyone in the military, teachers, police, fire-fighters, public servants of all stripes who make our lives better.  Whereas these "celebrities" let us all escape our own inadequacies without despair, and without doing anything to better our own lot in life.

TV is a strange medium.  It had such potential to change the world for the better, and sometimes it has.  But because it responds to the viewing preferences of millions of Americans – and most of them not hugely successful or well-educated – it has exchanged that potential for its ability to narcotize lives; like a drug it lets us escape our own lives.  Sometimes we all need to escape reality; but a constant day after day escape is no better than being an alcoholic, no good will come of it.  If you or anyone you know spends three hours / day in front of your tube, if you or your family owns more than three TV sets in your home, if your wall-size Entertainment Center is the focus of your home-life, you need an intervention, you are an addict and your addiction is destroying your life.

So, I really love looking at Kardashian, and in my fantasy life I might want more, but honestly, if you thought about it, wouldn’t you better read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals, her master work about Lincoln and his Cabinet (they had been his rivals until he won the Presidency and asked them to help him succeed)?  There is a real sense of accomplishment, of achievement, from reading a serious book.

You didn’t know I was a direct descendant of John Calvin, did you?  Those of you who don’t know who Calvin was, he was the patron saint of our Puritans, he was a self-righteous grouch, just like I have been for some 600 words.  😄

Right now, I am going to do an image search of Kim Kardashian.  I will come up for air sometime tomorrow.  Don't wait up.