Let’s play a game of current events, shall we?
What is currently happening in Nepal? What will be protested in Los Angeles on May 1? What recent shakeups did the George W. Bush administration go through?
Chances are only a handful of readers knew those without resorting to a quick trip to cnn.com.
Here are a few more that could prove to be easier.
What is the meaning behind Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ daughter’s name (you know, besides “Scientology antichrist”)? What are Denise Richards’ latest allegations against Charlie Sheen? What does it mean if someone is “Team Aniston” or “Team Jolie?”
We all must face it – we are a celebrity-obsessed nation, always and forever.
This is an affliction that is even a problem in Los Angeles, though one would think that we would be used to – and even tired by – the hype by now. However removed from the hysteria Southern Californians claim to be, they can still lose any calm, collected demeanor they possess when they see A-list celebrities.
This wouldn’t necessarily be a problem if people could enjoy yet think past the celebrity culture – have some sort of vague interest in the stupid antics of these people we have placed on the highest pedestals, yet retain brain power for actually important ideas and activities beyond reading the latest crop of borderline-libelous celebrity weeklies. Celebrity obsession would merely be an amusing distraction from daily stress if people could look past the stupidity and think about deeper things than Paris Hilton’s latest Greek heir/boyfriend/plaything, but some people really can’t see past this to conversations and intellectual pursuits that are actually worth spending time on.
The media, of course, tends to feed on this obsession, keeping it going. Paparazzi pictures of everyone from Reese Witherspoon to the latest “American Idol” reject go for thousands, and it’s not only the media’s fault – it’s my fault and your fault. The blame can be placed on anyone who bothers to stop their daily business to gawk at the latest Britney Spears pregnancy rumors, make a catty comment about either her weight or her degenerate husband, and move on. It’s easy to blame such an embarrassing waste of time on everyone’s favorite culprit – the media – but who gives the media the impression that celebrity obsession is something that trounces everything else in terms of interest and importance? We do. We purchase media, hit celebrity websites daily with an intensity and frequency that convinces journalists from the New York Times to the most casual blogs that this type of information – C-list celebrities’ latest sex tapes, the Olsen twins’ eating disorders – is what’s most important. Until we display a lack of overwhelming interest in celebrities, the cycle will continue, and the alarming sole focus on celebrity obsession will never end, in either our news-starved minds or the newsstands.
The film “American Dreamz” was just released in an obvious parody of both the Bush administration and “American Idol.” We have gotten to the point where more people vote for the latest lackluster pop star than the person who will be running a nation for four years (though, when faced with the choice of yet another George Bush term, I might be compelled to give up and not vote either, and instead resort to price-checking airline tickets to London). Dennis Quaid, who plays the Bush character in the film, said in an interview, “This movie’s the joke on all of us – not the administration and not ‘American Idol’ – because more people vote for ‘American Idol’ than vote in the presidential election. That’s what we’re all really into. So I think that’s where the joke is.”
The joke’s on us and our celebrity obsession, and it’s not the least bit funny.
Lauren Robeson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.