Wednesday, February 28, 2007

THE LURE OF THE FAMOUS

i've been thinking about all the attention the news media has been giving to stories formerly only of interest to tabloid rags. after some deliberation, i think i've conjured a theory as to why this is happening. maybe i'm right. maybe i'm wrong. as i said, its just a theory.

since birth, we're raised in a society of competition. competing for parental attention. competing in organized sports. competing in the classroom. competing for jobs. competing for lovers. even if there isn't a designated winner and loser, in a capitalist democracy, almost everything is still a competition of one shade or another. essentially, we're taught that in order to get what we want, we must be better than the others who also want the same thing. nowadays, Americans are pushed to achieve highly in three areas: beauty, wealth and success.

we can't always be the best. in fact, in most cases, we're not. whether acknowledged or not, it stings to lose. the damage is to the self esteem.

enter the celebrities of America. the famous people that everyone knows. they're beautiful and ridiculously wealthy and famous (usually) for their success. because of these things, they've reached the pinnacles in all three branches of achievement that we're all supposedly striving for. thus, they are revered. at the same time, they are resented with envy and ridiculed without mercy. its the competitor in us lashing out.

when one of these celebrities flounders, we feel better about ourselves. say a child star turns to porn or a pop singing princess shaves her head in the midst of a drug binge. they may still have wealth and beauty and success, but somehow, we feel at least equal to or superior to them. instead of the feelings of bitterness and jealousy, we're brimming with pride. you and i would never stoop so low as to marry our talentless back up dancer. we'd surely never spout out an anti-Semitic rant in the middle of our D.U.I arrest. none of us would sleep with a 90 year old solely for their hundreds of millions of dollars. well, maybe not.

its like finding out that your biggest role model wets the bed. suddenly, the person who was always better than you isn't as flawless as you believed. if you aren't looking up to someone, you don't feel so small.

...but its just a theory.

1 comment:

Tim Engelhardt said...

Nice blog. I was looking forward to your theory since your comment on "Bald and Crazy". What is really amazing is that the ancient Spartans were exactly the same. They valued competition and beauty above all else. Spartan society was built on it. Of course, because of that their society collapsed. But, that could never happen to us...?