The other day I drove up the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu with a friend. As we went down the road, he began to point out to me all of the celebrity houses with their fancy gates and tinted SUVs. It was my first time driving on that part of the PCH and I couldn’t help but marvel at the fancy houses and how nice everything looked in general. It’s the same way in Hollywood. There’s an air of mystery to the places where the rich and famous live. Most people desire to be like celebrities and they hold them in high esteem, although many don’t deserve all of the credit they are given.
Many celebrities take their fame with grace. Angelina Jolie constantly does charity work, including being Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Refugee Agency. Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy does work for Invisible Children. Hockey player Scott Mellanby founded The Mellanby Autism Foundation.
Although there are some celebrities who use their popularity to assist in helping the world, there are also some who only use their fame to their advantage. An article from the Associated Press, titled “Celeb DUI Cases Spotlight Justice System,” examines the advantages that celebrities have. Lately, for instance, celebrities such as Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie have been getting into trouble with the law. Both girls were arrested for drunk driving and neither had to serve a prison sentence of more than a few days.
While some people may feel that individuals with celebrity status are targeted for their popularity, resulting in harsher treatment, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Celebrities in trouble with the law have access to infinite resources. But judges may have to appear harsher on celebrities in order to have them serve punishments that everyone else would have to serve, no questions asked. Having access to resources gives those people the ability to go around the law, but in actuality, that doesn’t help the individuals at all.
People with celebrity status are ultimately just like everyone else. Although they are seemingly idolized for their talent, being a celebrity is mostly a popularity contest. In this contest, everyone tries to outdo one another and they don’t stop to take the time to become positive role models for those who look up to them. While celebrities have the potential to be good influences on those who admire them, many don’t choose to utilize their fame in a positive manner.
Regardless of how decent or indecent they act, celebrities will always be admired. Their lives are portrayed through the media and seem perfect even if they’re not. They hold a stature in our country that at times is greater than the president. Because their success is defined by their popularity, it’s important to their business that they achieve the role model status. What celebrities often forget is how influential their actions can be on the rest of the population.
As people who admire celebrities, we need to make sure that their negative actions don’t influence us greatly. Although Michael Vick has pleaded guilty for dogfights, it doesn’t make the inhumane treatment of animals OK. Just because Lindsay Lohan is coming in and out of rehab doesn’t mean that drugs are a good idea. While they may be people with more resources and popularity, celebrities are people too and can be negative influences just like everyone else.
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