The dangers of the celebrity culture- By Johnny Roman

In this era of celebrity culture and social media, never before in history has the obsession with trying to become famous become so widespread. Words and phrases such as "Iconic", "reality tv", or "media personality" have become a permanent part of our daily news cycle. Everyday people are now fixated on becoming the next youtube star and reality television star like the Kardashians.

The question though must be asked: Is this healthy? Of course, many will say. After all, personalities and entertainers such as Justin Bieber, and the Kardashians, have become wealthy and influential  to the masses. What is wrong with acquiring prestige and wealth beyond your wildest dreams, as some may argue. The short answer is that while there are success stories, there are many failures and cautionary tales of pursuing such a course.

In this era of the get rich and famous at all costs, so many people have compromised their ethics and well being, bringing injurious results. In their pursuit of recognition, too many people forget about their families, friends, and develop a dangerous form of egotism. Over time, they begin to feel that they are special and more noteworthy than their peers. At work, school, or at home, they constantly try to outshine their peers while distancing themselves from team success or humility.

Even more concerning, is the impact this celebrity driven and pursuit of riches is having on our children. More kids than ever before, seem to struggle with low self-esteem and their place in society. Is it really a good thing to have so many children and teens spending copious amounts of hours taking selfies and doing videos for self-promotion? Is it really healthy to have a society where people glorify the rich and famous while judging the common people as unimportant?

I was inspired to write about this topic after hearing in the news of the passing of actress and singer Doris Day. From all the evidence, Doris Day was an immensely talented and kind hearted woman. Movie star, singer, animal rights activist; she certainly earned all her accolades. While there is no doubt many artists and entertainers leave an indelible impact on their fans, its interesting how many people are quick to post tributes and express sadness for someone they never knew personally, while neglecting or mistreating people close to them. In our every day living, we come across those who place a value on status, prestige, and wealth. Whats distressing is how they deliberately judge those not possessing those things as not worth their time. Again this fosters the mindset in others that to be deserving of love and respect you have to be "somebody".

How does one counteract these things? One way is by recognizing that behind every famous person are the nameless and unknown people who were instrumental in their progress and success. For example, I am a fan of the films of Hollywood's Golden age. I am well acquainted with the works of the lovely miss Day, and her contemporaries such as Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Debbie Reynolds. However, no one understands how the studio system of that time produced and engineered the success of these household names. Those make up artists, costume designers, photographers, publicists, and talent scouts all played an integral part in harnessing and building the fame of these talented stars. In other words, no celebrity ever makes it alone. There was always someone who played a big role in providing the big break for that successful person. Why not make it a goal to show a sincere appreciation for those around us who are instrumental to the function and success of our society such as the teachers, artists, writers, police, inventors, scholars, and others whose innovation have engineered progress? Learning to say thank you and demonstrate respect to them and others such as workers in the hospital, transportation, restaurant, and construction industries would go a long way in elevating the self-worth of others while reducing the impact of the obsessive celebrity culture.

Therefore, its good to ask yourself: Are my goals, motivations, and behaviors dictated by the pursuit of fame and fortune? If it is, never risk abnegating your morals, health, and self-respect in trying to achieve that goal. History is replete with tragic tales wno suffered emotional breakdowns, financial ruin, ignominy, and poor health, all sacrificed in the altar of the celebrity driven culture. Your happiness will not be defined by how famous you are. I'll never forget the words of Judy Garland, who once commented: "In the silence of night, I have often wished for the few words of love from one man, rather than the applause of thousands of people". How sad that such a talented person who gave her all for the enjoyment of her fans; ended up feeling so empty and devoid of love! Yes, fame and fortune provide some benefits, but it will not address the personal inadequacies or flawed character traits that we may have. Only a balanced view of oneself in relation to society and character development can give us a positive and healthy well-being.

While its terrific to have goals and develop certain latent talents we all have, never do it for the purpose of seeking the adoration and prestige of your peers. Your gratification should be in building yourself to be a unique and stable contributor to the society we live in. Your self-worth increases when you realize that love and respect is not determined by your finances or accomplishments; but rather by the fact of being a principled and integrity driven person. If you live honorably, and are altruistic with your time and resources, then that type of person will always be remembered and appreciated. That my friends is more desirable than any celebrity or wealthy person who forgets that integrity and humility is what makes someone truly great.

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