Why Do We Worship Famous People and Celebrities?
What is it a about celebrities that so obsesses us? Think about it, we even call them idols. It is not just that we enjoy their work, be it singing or acting or playing golf. We want to know all the nitty gritty details about their personal life, and the more personal the better. There is a huge thriving industry selling us the dirt on celebrities. Here is an interesting fact; People Magazine has a weekly audience of 4.6 million readers and has the largest audience of any American magazine. That is a lot of gossip, but more frightening, that is a lot of people spending their time and money reading about people they don’t even know. There are also plenty of TV shows running in prime time that are exclusively about celebrities such as Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood and Extra. And there are people becoming rich and are now celebrities themselves by blogging about the stars. Perez Hilton (real name Mario Lavandeira) is one such blogger.
Celebrity Worship Syndrome
Celebrity worship is becoming such a problem psychologists even have a name for it, Celebrity Worship Syndrome or CWS. There are different levels of intensity but a study done at The University of Liecester found that a whopping 36 percent of British citizens suffer from this disorder. Physiologist and Author John F. Shumaker says “CWS is an obsessive addictive disorder in which a person becomes involved with the details of a celebrities personal life”. In researching this article I came across one story of a woman who cut her own wrists and throat when her favourite celebrity got engaged. Luckily, she lived to obsess another day. And another extreme of this disorder is people stalking their favourite star. It was a sad day for the world when John Lennon was killed by a “fan”. While most of us go nowhere near these extremes, there is still a wide spread fascination with the famous.
The O Effect
Companies know this about us and are cashing in on it. Think of all the celebrity endorsed products. Taylor Swift, Shania Twain, J Lo, Halle Berry, Justin Bieber and Madonna all have their own perfume. Do we even want to smell like them? You can get a credit card with The Kardashians on it, Jessica Simpson has her own shoe line and Oprah has made people very rich by just mentioning their product. There is even a name for this; it is called The O Effect.
Candle In The Wind
The Rise And Fall
Why do we give them this God like stature? We put them so high on a pedestal that if they fall, they fall very hard and in the spotlight. And this, of course, is more fodder for the gossip junkies. We almost seem to take pleasure in their misfortune or mistake. We have an almost moral superiority even though we still can’t help but gawk at every detail of their fall. We act as if they have let us down personally, as if they somehow owed it to us to remain perfect.
They owe us nothing. They are business people, that is all. If they have a movie or song to sell us, it is up to us to buy it, or not. This does not give us the right to peer into their personal lives, who they are sleeping with, how much weight they have gained or how their marriages are going. The transaction is completed when you buy their goods.
Some Popular Weekly Gossip Magazines
- The National Enquirer
- Star Weekly
- Life and Style
- In Touch
- OK! Magazine
- Globe Weekly
- National Examiner
- Us Weekly
We are living in a time of mass communication and instant information gratification. We can use all these wonderful new tools to connect with real people, advance understanding between people and cultures and share information that others can build on. The time we are living in is unprecedented and we have many amazing opportunities. Or, we can gossip.
And let’s remember the celebrities are just people. People packaged up very nicely, but people all the same. They have the same ups and downs, fears and joys, successes and challenges as the rest of us. When they stumble and fall let’s have the good grace to look away. We can appreciate them when they entertain us, for that is their job, and then get on with our own lives.
Great minds talk about ideas, average minds talk about events, small minds talk about people. Eleanor Roosevelt