On the heels of the Golden Globe Awards, my social media pages are blowing up with lists of the best and worst dressed, shocking moments, and award recaps. I’m both excited and repelled by this.
I am excited because I’m American and I love celebrities. I read People Magazine, follow my favorite’s updates on Twitter; the whole nine yards. Everytime I watch an episode of New Girl, I walk the line between wishing I was Zooey Deschanel and wishing I could marry her (oh, come on…she’s gorgeous, smart and talented!).
I once milled over the idea that today’s celebrities are held in the same regard that the Greeks and Romans held their gods and goddesses. In fact, it’s possible that the archeologists of the future might just discover a collection of People Magazine, restore them and mistake our celebrities for gods and goddesses. I chuckled at the thought of our future selves constructing an image of our society from our “holy books”. It was a fun idea to ponder, for a while but then I spit it out as quickly as I conceived it. It seemed like such an unpopular opinion…it seemed so wrong.
Still, I can’t help thinking it. It lurks like a shadow in the back of my brain and whenever I’m undulated with Celebrity news, it jumps back into the forefront. The idea waves it’s hands in my face and begs for acknowledgement. So, today, I gave it just that.
Let’s face it…Celebrities are our gods and goddesses.
We read their fables and parables in the tabloids; using it as an example for our children. I can hear parents all over the world exclaiming: Look at the Miley Cyrus…doing The Twerk all over the place…that Miley, she’s in trouble…Becky, you don’t want to be like that…No guy will ever take that Miley Cyrus seriously…
We applaud their successes; awarding them with awards made of gold (all that’s missing is the frankincense and myrrh)
We fashion our lives after them; gobbling up any piece of clothing or breakfast cereal that emulates them or is endorsed by them.
We ignore their mortality…to us, they are not normal, average people. They are demigods and we are redeemed somehow when given the chance to meet them…we scream for the opportunity to just touch the hem of their garments.
When we are faced with their mortality, we sob collectively and hold candlelight services in their honor, just like they were old friends.
What’s wrong with this? We aren’t the first society to create our own deities. We may not even be the first to create them out of real people. Of course, there is a lacking moral component but in 21st Century America, who questions that, anymore?
I guess my real problem with it is the pay-grade. Maybe it’s because I’m hopelessly poor myself; maybe it’s because I loathe materialism; or maybe it’s because I hold things like food, safety and freedom in such high regard but I have a real problem with the Hollywood actor’s salary, as compared to that of a farmer, policeman, or a soldier. We are taught, through the process of capitalism, that the higher a good or service’s value, the higher the price for it is…so why are celebrities some of the highest paid in our society?
For the purposes of the argument, I’m going to compare celebrities against soldiers (because it’s the one that hits closer to home for me). The fact is that you can interchange any occupation that supports our society in the place of “soldier” and my logic will make sense.
So I ask myself this question: What is it about the services provided by celebrities that makes it more valuable than the services provided by a soldier? Do we value entertainment more than safety and security; more than freedom?
No, certainly not. That would be indulgent and ungrateful…there must be some other reason for the pay discrepancies. I ponder this for a while, as I browse pages and pages of breaking news and Hollywood gossip. Then, it dawns on me.
It is not the entertainment that we hold in such high regard, is it? It’s the ability to set in a darkened movie theatre or our living rooms for 30 minutes to 3 hours and just shut everything off. It’s watching the young teen actress spiraling into a dark hole that allows us to dissociate from our own problems. It’s about breaking down with grief when we have lost a celebrity because we just need an excuse to cry…or because we feel like we’ve lost a part of ourselves.
Maybe we have lost a part of ourselves.
What does it say about us that we would pay more for a little distraction that we’re willing to pay for our own freedom?
How broken is our society that we need constant distraction and discourse just to navigate everyday life?
And how do we dig ourselves out of the hole we’re in when our heads are buried in the sand?
I’m just a single mother and aspiring author with a blog; I do not claim to be a visionary or seer (although I would like to be). I do not claim to have all the answers to these questions. I mean, I have my own answers to these questions but it’s not the answer that’s important; it’s the ability to stand up and ask them that really matters. At the end of the day, each and every one of us will have to answer these questions for ourselves before we can even begin to heal as a whole.