The American Celebrity culture is a strange animal; just ask Charlie Sheen. It seems that we love celebrities but also love to watch them fall. We like our celebrities as long as they are entertaining us with their TV, movies, and music, but when they stumble we quickly turn on them. Is it possible, however, that we should be pointing the finger at ourselves?
Who should we blame for the bad actions of celebrities? Who’s responsible? The short answer is they are; they are the ones who make the bad decisions that put them in the headlines, but in a bigger sense any society bares some responsibility for its members. Celebrities are famous because we make them famous. If we are responsible for creating the celebrity, then we must take responsibility for the negatives and not just credit fore the positives.
Did you hear about Lindsay?
Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, and many other young female celebrities have been the focus of tabloid attention for their behavior. Here we have people who were essentially pimped out by greedy media corporations as children and became maladjusted adults. Our culture allows for young people to be used and abused by music industries and certain mouse-eared networks, and then we point and laugh when they stumble.
Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll
When it comes to using people and throwing them away, the music industry may be the best in the game. The music of “Nirvana” touched people with its honesty and sad beauty. Kurt Cobain was a clearly troubled man whose music spoke to those who suffer, but his suffering was largely ignored as long as he was making music and making money for others. Michael Jackson was a performer like no other. When he passed away his life was discussed at length throughout the media and in homes and offices around the world. His career was filled with great achievement and great controversy, but it was only in his death that we looked at him as a man instead of a myth or monster. Cobain and Jackson are two examples of troubled musicians whose problems were ignored as long as they were entertaining.
So, what’s the point?
As a society we are responsible for individual members, so for us to stand by and watch people who struggle is a failure on the part of each one of us. We are a culture that likes to slow down and drive by the car wreck without giving thought to stopping to help. Many will not like the idea of compassion and second chances for the controversial celebrities because they have already been given more opportunity than the rest of us.
The fact is that these celebs have been given a lot, including the tools for self destruction. Societal responsibility calls for us to help instead of standing by and judging, but should celebrities get special attention not afforded to others? The truth is that the Sheens and Lohans, the Cobains and the Jacksons are reflections of society, and while we are talking about the latest exploits of the stars we are ignoring the people down the street who struggle. In the end it’s not about being a celebrity it’s about being human, and sadly, human compassion is something we lack.