Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Escapism and Celebrity Obsession

There is actually a scale that had been devised by researchers and now being obsessed with celebrities could mean you have a disease. "Celebrity Worship Syndrome" has three different levels according to Ketorah Gray of ABC News;

"Entertainment social: This is casual stargazing. The level of celebrity worship here is really quite mild: "My friends and I like to discuss how Ben could have moved from Gwyneth to J.Lo."

Intense personal: The person seems to feel a connection with the star: "I consider Halle Berry to be my soul mate."

Borderline pathological: Here, admiration has gone stalker-esque: "When he reads my love letters, Brad Pitt will leave Jennifer Aniston and live happily ever after with me."'


The question that always surfaces is: why?

Escapism is the most common theory, seeing these movie stars and musical artists everywhere and reading about how amazing their lives are sort of let's us sit back and wonder what it would be like to have a private jet or a mansion. We can constantly consume stories about celebrities and put our own spin on it. What would it be like to marry Jennifer Anniston or Brad Pitt? Most of us will never know but we can put outselves into these situations and imagine we live that mansion instead of the crappy apartment and drive Maseratis and hang out with all our friends like Vinnie Chase.

Seems harmless enough but kids today now see being a celebrity as a soultion to all their problems. Most kids today when asked what they want to be when they grow up don't give the answers they used to. They used to want to be astronauts and police offices, now they want to be famous and rich. Kids even develop a sort of "bond" with celebrities, tell any little girl that you don't know who Hannah Montana is and she'll probably explode.

Marcy Franklin of the University of Colorado cites "Jake Halpern, the author of Fame Junkies: The Hidden Truths Behind America’s Addiction, noted a survey given to 635 middle school students in Rochester, New York. One question asked with whom they would most like to have dinner. The clear winner, with 17.4 percent, was awarded to Jennifer Lopez. Jesus Christ came in at second with 16.8 percent, and Paris Hilton and 50 Cent tied for third with 15.8 percent (Halpern xvi). Additionally, when students were asked to rank which job they would most like to have in the future, the clear winner was the job of a celebrity personal assistant, sweeping the contest with 43.4 percent (Halpern xvi)." (http://colorado.edu/pwr/occasions/articles/americas_obsession.htm)

We put so much emphasis on celebrities and trying to become famous that we ignore our actual lives and always look to escape and live vicariously through stars.

I know this is horribly cliche by now but the words of Tyler Durden certainly give you something to think about.

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