Jan 30, 2007

Obsession with celebrities unhealthy

by Claire Melsi
There is just not enough time in the day—life is stressful, and balancing one’s time often becomes a challenge. So why is it that the American public wastes so many precious    minutes on the high altar it has built to celebrity gods and goddesses?

    Partying frenzies, feuds and blowouts, relationship status and other juicy celebrity gossip have become an unhealthy obsession displayed across the nation today.  Of course America needs its down time, but the interest in celebrity life is quickly becoming much more than the “fandom” of previous decades.

    Slowly but surely over-the-top fans have become influenced by more than just the movies of their favorite stars. In putting celebrities on such a high pedestal, some people in the public have created a soapbox from which the high and mighty stars may preach their own political agendas and opinions.  This may be unavoidable but it is detrimental to the  ignorant portion of the population.
    In being so wrapped up in Hollywood, people begin to not so much lose the ability to think through issues for themselves but rather the desire to do so. Political preferences become more an issue of celebrity than they do of personal morality and correctness.

    The influence of some key figures is more recognizable than that of others.  Oprah Winfrey, for instance, has become a spiritual guide to many of her viewers nationwide. Through smooth-flowing words and a soothing approach, her TV broadcast, books and magazine have allowed her personal insight to wield powerful influence across the country.

    Granted, most of what Oprah endorses is uplifting and positive. The amount of good she does for many is             commendable. She obviously is genuinely concerned with improving the world, but from a Christian perspective, is her guidance for many relevant if it is not absolute truth? Surely people can benefit from her example of charity and goodwill, but they must recognize that even with much life experience, she is no different from anyone else. Her opinions are just that, opinions.
    It seems that all too often fans begin to feel personally wrapped up in the everyday happenings of Hollywood.  When did viewing celebrities as untouchables change to feelings of close friendship?  Some are so passionate about the feuds and disputes occurring in publicized relationships that they allow them to overshadow their own.
    Finding a healthy marriage that does not end in divorce is a rarity in Hollywood. Take, for instance, America’s sweethearts Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey. After their         marriage in 2002, the couple became an icon and their MTV show,  “Newlyweds”, became an instant hit. The  couple even attempted to write a book on the secrets to their successful marriage.

    All of the happiness came to an abrupt halt when the two called it quits only three years later. The nation was left to mourn the loss of one of its favorite celebrity couples. With a quick online search, dozens of Web sites can be found   containing devout fans’ opinions on who was wrong, why the divorce really occurred, how the two  really feel about everything, and support for Simpson and Lachey through their difficult time.  My question is, with complaints about how little time we have in today’s society, when are people able to not only sit down and write out their thoughts, but research the issue thoroughly enough to have that amount of insight into what’s going on? Don’t they have better things to do with their time?
     According to Divorcerate.org, the divorce rate in America is near an astonishing 50 percent. The numbers reflect the acceptance of the practice. In idolizing celebrities whose relationships often end in divorce, the nation begins to view divorce as a normal occurance and biblical commands are swiftly pushed aside.

    Holding these figures in such high esteem with little       biblical perspective will potentially have dire effects upon the nation. Beyond media putting a light-hearted spin on immorality and thereby making it more acceptable, celebrities condoning the issues are given a huge platform to speak their minds.

    The change over from harmless gossip to absolute      obsession cannot be pinpointed, but it is very clear that for many, the definition of “fan” has taken on a drastically new meaning in the past few years.  Fascination with celebrity brawls, ideas, and breakfast menus is quickly diminishing the nation’s ability to think for itself in an untainted way.  With few credentials, these actors and actresses are not necessarily any more qualified to be giving their two cents than is anyone else.

    When it comes down to it, celebrities are not to blame for the dangerous fixation. Who wouldn’t be tempted to shout out personal opinions if they were placed on a mountain top?  Yes, ideally the stars should be more cautious and aware of the span of influence they have, but in fixing the problematic obsession, they are not the ones that need to change.

    It is up to individuals to recognize that not only is celebrity mania somewhat mind-numbing, it is simply a waste of time. Grab a coffee, read a book, have a conversation, go for a walk, write a story, work on your own marriage! Perhaps if everyone examined his or her life as closely as he or she would those of celebrities, problems amongst the people of this country would be more readily resolved.  Worries are too many and minutes are too few. Why make life and its drama any more complicated than it already is?

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