Why are we obsessed with popularity and celebrities?
Humans, on an individual level, are (usually) caring and altruistic. Look at children. They don’t understand racism or hate or inequality. They don’t care about money. All they care about is having fun and enjoying themselves. So how have we reached this point where we are jumping over ourselves in the quest to essentially chase our own tails to be the most popular? Why are we more concerned with the adoration and respect of complete strangers than maintaining our own dignity? Why do we spend more time snooping around and chasing celebrities than our own families? Why do we sacrifice our own health and settle for heavily processed food rather than healthy and natural alternatives and then go out and buy essentially useless consumer goods?
Humans are creatures of habit. We like to fit in and belong. We don’t like to be left behind. Our desires feed right into wanting to be popular, as if becoming a celebrity is somehow tied in with being happy. We want to be adored. We want to be loved. And we’ll do anything for it. The scary thing is, success is now almost singularly defined as by having more than others. Do we have a bigger house than our neighbours? A bigger salary? How about a better car? Do we have a boat? But that’s not success; that’s greed. And greed is not a part of biology of humans. It’s a social construct created to ensure power. It’s that simple. But we’re gullible. We’ll listen to anything and go with it. The problem is we’ve been conditioned to rely far too heavily on what we are told. Look at our education system for a second: We spend far too much time learning (and I use that term very loosely. Regurgitating is far more apt…) pointless information that we will never have a need for in our lives again. And what is the reason specifically, apart from gaining that magical piece of paper that gives us a little more freedom?
Please. The reason we go to school is to create a system of reliance of order and discipline. We learn from a very young age not to fuck with authority through systematic fears of consequences. And then once we finish high school and go to university or work, we obey the principles that have been forcibly instilled into us from a very young age. But instead of our minds being ready to progress society and abolish inequalities, we just listen and do. We don’t challenge. Our minds are our biggest asset in life, but they are conditioned and constrained to not challenge. Why? Because if we all did this, the system we know would be demolished within a week because it is total bullshit. And because we don’t use our minds in ways that we should, we are insecure. We look for happiness and satisfaction in the wrong places. Take a look at this scene from the movie Blood Diamond where Solomon is asking Danny what finding the diamond will do for his life:
When you watch it, replace diamond with shoes or phones or Xbox or anything that you really don’t need in your life, and ask yourself if you have your priorities set in place. If you don’t, also ask yourself if you are truly happy. I’m convinced that it is in businesses best interests to keep people as unhappy, or insecure, as possible, so that we continue to try and fill the holes in our lives with cosmetic and temporary solutions. I’m sure you’ve heard of retail therapy, but it’s a load of crap, and it creates a dangerous cycle of dependency on consumer goods rather than fixing what we need to fix in our lives. And we feel insecure in the first place because we are bombarded by advertising, both traditional (think commercial breaks) and subliminal (think of a celebrity wearing a particular brand or using an item) and we think that because a “successful” celebrity is endorsing or using this product, and they’re happy, then it is my key to happiness too! But let’s just take a look at who our celebrities are for a second:
- Beyoncé (Who recently was celebrated for singing “Of course sometimes shit goes down when there’s a billion dollars on an elevator” when attempting to justify her immature and anti-social behaviour in an elevator)
- Kim Kardashian (Who recently made headlines for having putting a topless picture of herself in her friend’s wedding photo album)
- Justin Bieber (Who made news for bragging about sleeping with Miranda Kerr when she was married)
- LeBron James (Who made news for sending cupcakes to his neighbours after signing with the Cavs)
I have to stop myself here, because I could go on forever here. Instead of serious issues that are facing the world such as the outbreak of Ebola, bloodshed in Iraq and Gaza, planes falling from the sky at an alarming rate, we are getting caught up in the idiocy and immaturity that is the celebrity world. What is the one common theme (apart from all being douchebags) with those celebrities? They are all heavily marketed. Super-heavily marketed. Everything they do, they sell and market themselves. And people emulate them (did you know there is actually a service where people pay thousands of dollars to have a fake paparazzi follow them so they appear to be famous? Don’t believe me? Celeb4aday.com). It doesn’t matter what they do, it will be celebrated and documented. Sure, there is a certain amount of backlash with this level of publicity, but that is quickly whitewashed by a combination P.R. and nothing short of brainwashing. The backlash we see is almost all from individuals who see through this charade. The adulation is created by the media empires.
Do you see where I’m going with this? Media wants you to feel inferior to them so you try to emulate these celebrities, so you buy their shoes or cd’s or porn tapes or whatever they endorse so you can somehow be like them. The backlash also usually comes only online, and it’s interesting how we see this anti-online bullying campaign when in reality its companies that are trying to re-establish their old, one way forms of media where they shovel their agenda driven slogans down your throats. Bullying has been around for thousands of years, and now people want to act like it’s the greatest issue facing the world because it’s online? Quick! Let’s shut down the internet!
But I digress. I hate to say this because it is so obvious, but celebrities are just people. Some of them are good, and some couldn’t give a crap about you, or me, or anyone else. But yet we’re meant to believe that they’re special. That they’re successful. They can do whatever they like. They can be drug addicts. They can abuse women. They can drink and drive. It doesn’t matter. If anything, that kind of appalling behaviour enhances their image and they write a song about it or it becomes a marketing campaign of “redemption”. And people emulate this garbage in their life and try to follow them. It’s disgusting. We have homeless people starving in the streets, and we are happy to ignore that as thousands of people will line up for hours and pay good money just to get a photo or an autograph of a celebrity. Am I the only one who thinks that this fucking mad? But don’t take my word for it. The next time you’re around a celebrity, don’t watch them. I want you to observe the people around them and how they act. I also want you to try to logically explain the behaviour to other people.
Look, we as a society will never be truly happy or secure about ourselves until we break away from these shackles that have been placed around us to make other people rich. It’s that simple. We need to start believing in ourselves and each other. We need to stop reading and believing what we see without critically analysing it. We all have brains, so we don’t have any excuse to not use them. We can’t allow ourselves to be locked into this vicious cycle of chasing a dream that has been created for us to make corporations more money. We will never be free if we don’t start changing the way we think. We will also never be happy if we keep trying to outdo each other. We need to do what makes us happy. If you like to work out, go work out. If you like to write, go write. If you like to dream, then for the love of God, dream. But don’t be fooled into thinking that buying products that appear to be necessary to make us happy because we see a celebrity “living the life” is using one. Who gives a fuck what shoes LeBron James wears? How does that impact you exactly? It doesn’t, and you know that it doesn’t. Because deep down, you know celebrities are just like us. They breathe, eat, and sleep, all like us. So why do we follow them?
Because we are told to. Over and over again.
Let’s stop following other people’s dreams and start living our own. I guarantee you that you’ll find life to be much more fulfilling that way.