One of my biggest pet peeves is celebrity worship. There is a huge problem in society today with celebrity worship, especially among young people.
Those who know me know that for the most part I couldn’t care less about most major pop culture celebrities, but even I have a few pop culture stars, whose work I like and follow closely. There are even a few celebrities I respect and admire not only for what they do, but I respect them for their character and lifestyle as well, and that is rare to find in a pop culture celebrity. With a lot of celebrities, while we might like their music, or acting or whatever they do, we don’t support their lifestyle. Kudos to every celebrity that you support both their work and lifestyle!
However, there is big difference between respecting and admiring a celebrity, and even seeking to emulate them, and worshiping them. We have a tendency to elevate these celebrities to the status of God, and we think “if so and so says it, or does, it must be okay”. Sometimes we admire them so much that we begin to think they can do no wrong.
Many celebrities use their status and platform to speak out on issues that they are passionate about, often times these issues are political topics. I don’t know if celebrities don’t understand the sway they hold over their fan base or if they do understand it and take advantage of it. I’m sure it’s both depending on the individual. Now there’s nothing wrong with someone using their platform to endorse a cause or politician. These celebrities have just as much right as we do to speak their mind on issues and endorse candidates.
Here’s the problem: just because your favorite celebrity supports gay marriage, or traditional marriage, or endorses Hilary Clinton or Ted Cruz, doesn’t mean you should. Don’t support any issue or an individual just because your favorite celebrity does. First, we tend to forget that these celebrities are flawed individuals just like you and me. Second, just because you like someone’s singing or acting doesn’t mean you’ll align with them politically. If you don’t know where a celebrity stands politically, don’t assume it aligns with your views just because you like their acting.
The other problem is that while these people have every right to support what they hold dear and speak their mind on issues a lot of the time they just don’t know what they’re talking about– some do it out of ignorance, some do it out of arrogance. Just remember when they talk about political issues and candidates, that these people are actors, singers, and models. They are not professional journalists, analysts or commentators.
As an aspiring journalist, I look up to a lot of people like Megyn Kelly, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Katie Pavlich, S.E. Cupp, etc. The same thing applies to them– they are not right all they time, I believe most of these people would tell you that themselves. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard Glenn Beck say things like “don’t take it from me” or “do your own research.”
The same goes for aspiring young athletes– they look up to professional athletes in the NFL, NBA etc., and often begin to worship them in the same way that celebrities are often worshiped. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that no matter how good they are at what they do, they aren’t perfect or always right.
Don’t take anyone’s word at face value. Do the research and draw your own conclusions. Who they are or what they do doesn’t make them right all the time.
When you respect and admire someone, it’s easy to get star struck and forget that they are just people like you and me, they are flawed and sinful humans who make mistakes just like the rest of us. Think of who your favorite celebrity is, even they are not right all the time. So respect them, admire them, and seek to emulate their good points, but remember that they are flawed individuals just like the rest of us.
Follow Katherine Zehnder on Twitter @KathZeh.