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I take a great deal of pride in not knowing who most of these people are.

  • Aug 1, 2010
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So you're a big-time celebrity.  You are a star of stage, screen or television.  Perhaps you have had several hit records.  Your puss is displayed prominently on the cover of several magazines at the supermarket check-out stand.  You are highly sought after at celebrity golf tournaments and your appearance on a celebrity-oriented cooking show is a highly anticipated event.  Tens of millions of Americans are interested in what you wearwhere you vacation and which political candidates you are supporting.  And yet, in spite of all of this publicity if you were sitting next to me on an airplane chances are I wouldn't recognize you or have the slightest idea who you are.  I may be in the distinct minority in this country but I am someone who has absolutely no interest in the lives of celebrities.  Never have and never will.  For me celebrity-watching is a colossal waste of time. 

When Anna Nicole-Smith passed away back in 2007 I was busy at work in the office with my radio on in the background.  When the bulletin announcing her passing was made my reaction was "Who the hell is Anna Nicole Smith?"  I had no ideaPeople at work looked at me like I had two heads.  It was a proud moment indeed.  I could never understand why people cared about celebrities.  And yet, shows like "Entertainment Tonight" have been around for decades.  I have often wondered if people actually make decisions regarding their wardrobe or hairstyles based on what one of these people are doing.  Even more frightening to me is the idea that people allow themselves to be influenced by the politics of any of these people.  Celebrities are certainly entitled to support the policies and candidates of their choice but why anyone would value their opinions more than anyone else's is beyond my comprehension.  While I love Barbra Streisand as a singer I totally disagree with her politics.  One of the reasons that I would never pay to attend one of her concerts is that she has often been known to espouse her political views in the middle of her show.  This is really bad form but many of these people simply can't resist.  To my way of thinking politicking has no place when you are paying big bucks to see a performance.  But sadly, this sort of thing seems be happening more and more frequently these days.

At this point the enormous popularity of celebrities shows absolutely no sign of receding.  These people are laughing all the way to the bank.  I would not cross the street to see any of them and I will continue to go out of my way to avoid them.  I always thought that this was the sort of thing that most people grew out of but evidently this is not the case.  My wife and I are very proud of the fact that we have absolutely no idea who most of these people are.  It seems to me that there is always something better to do that watch E! or read People magazine.  Not recommended! 
I take a great deal of pride in not knowing who most of these people are. I take a great deal of pride in not knowing who most of these people are. I take a great deal of pride in not knowing who most of these people are. I take a great deal of pride in not knowing who most of these people are.

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August 01, 2010
I take a difference stance on celebrities.  You see, most people actually DON'T care about their politics, for example.  I don't know a single person that ever said, "I believe this because this is what Barbara Streisand believes," for example...  I've never met anyone like that.  But in terms of being influenced by politics... you're forgetting that most politicians are also celebrities.  Just in different ways.  No one is asking Sarah Palin the questions they're asking her because they think she's smart... they're doing it because in terms of politics she's what's IN.  She's the "it" girl in politics.  If you can get her to speak at your event you'll get people.  My point is this: Sarah Palin is also a celebrity, but we think that because she's talking politics and giving speeches about shaping our country that it's okay because she's also a politician--it's her job to do this.  But she's still a celebrity who actually IS influencing what people think.  At least more so than Barbara Streisand (A LOT more than Barbara Streisand).  You'd be surprised how few people actually give a damn what Sean Penn or Tim Robbins thinks (this is true even of people agree with their politics... and it's a gold mine for comedians).  Also, in terms of being influenced there's really no difference between a celebrity and the typical person on the street.  We've discovered that celebrities actually AREN'T as influential as we think.  Where are most people influenced from?  Generally the people they know personally.  A kid, for example, is much more apt to be influenced politically, for example, by their parents a LOT more than an actual celebrity.  Because in our society we understand the concept of passing the torch.  Your beliefs you generally handed down to your children, who will hand those beliefs down to their children, etc.  Celebrities generally don't change that.

I'm not trying to defend celebrities, only saying that blaming them for these sorts of thing just seems hypocritical to some degree.  Because we think that they shouldn't have the right to do things like say... talk politics or something... and that WE should because we're "ordinary" citizens.  But they're also citizens who have the right to speak their politics if they so choose.  No one cares about Barbara Streisand's politics anymore than they're apt to care about mine. Or yours.  But you and I still do it here on Lunch.com all the time... because we like to express ourselves.  So does Streisand... the difference between her and us is that she has a more public forum to do it.  The three of us aren't in a position to actually change anything.  So I'm confused as to why people keep complaining about celebrities and their politics.  I don't particularly like it either (at least when it gets in the way of entertaining me)... but it seems odd that we're getting upset at Tim Robbins for speaking his mind politically and not punching our best friend in the face for doing the same thing (who is apt to say something worse because he knows no one is watching).  You can't exactly choose to change to channel on your best friend

I guess what I'm really getting at is that I can agree with your rating, but your reasoning just makes you come off as someone who has actually been paying some amount of attention to celebrity culture, or at least news that talks about it (and let's be honest, that can't be helped).  That provided you with the information that celebrities are big influences... and I only agree that they have some... but hardly the kind of life-changing influence you seem to be getting at in your write up.  Barbara Streisand, Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and every other "Hollywood" celebrity are people that, by and large, we gossip about, but they're not actually DOING anything to change things... except maybe donating money to charity, but they're not in a position to change the country or raise your child. 
August 01, 2010
It's much more than not knowing. It's also a case of not caring! Good job on the essay, Paul.
August 01, 2010
I'm in the minority with you Paul. :) I think it is a shame that many people put the opinion of a celebrity before that of their spouse, children, or close friends! Moreover, I think it is a disgrace that the children of this country see more authority in the next kid pop star than their own parents. It's all in the power of media, and it influences our lives and families much more in negative ways than positive I believe. I think Gloria DeGaetano, author of Parenting Well in a Media Age would agree!
August 01, 2010
Very well said!
About the reviewer
Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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A celebrity (often referred to as a celeb in popular culture) is a person who is famously recognized in a society or culture.

Generally speaking, a celebrity is someone who gets media attention and most frequently has an extroverted personality. There are a wide range of ways by which people can become celebrities, from their profession, appearances in the mass media, beauty or even by complete accident or infamy. Instant celebrity is the term that is used when someone becomes a celebrity in a very short period of time. In some places, someone that somehow achieves a small amount of transient fame through hype or mass media, is stereotyped as a B-grade celebrity. Often the stereotype extends to someone that falls short of mainstream or persistent fame but seeks to extend or exploit it. In the 21st Century, the insatiable public fascination for celebrities and appetite for celebrity gossip has seen the rise of the gossip columnist, tabloid, paparazzi and celebrity blogging.

The rise of international celebrities in acting and popular music is due in large part to the massive scope and scale of the media industries, enabling celebrities to be viewed more often and in more places.

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