We went to Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World a few years ago and there were a couple of NBA basketball players in the park the same day as us. It was an abnormally hot day that day and standing in the lines was an exhausting affair. It was made a little frustrating when we watched these two basketball players being escorted into the exit gate at each ride/attraction to go directly in and avoid standing with the rest of the public in the line (kind of like a Super Fast Pass). It really started this thought going in my head: isn’t it odd that there are people on the planet who are deemed important enough that they are given special attention by the rest of humanity?
As I go through life and see more and more “news” programs running segments on things that happen to celebrities it makes me pause and wonder: why in the world do we have such things as celebrities? The bigger question that comes to mind is why do we care? These people are humans just like us. They were born like us, they breathe air like us, and they are going to die just like us. Why do we elevate a small subset of humanity to the level that drives news programs to spend valuable time broadcasting what they are doing, what they are wearing, and who they are seen with?
The most baffling part of this whole “celebrity” thing is that there exist people who are celebrities solely for being celebrities (i.e. they haven’t done anything to achieve that role). How in the world did this madness get started? Why do we give attention to these people? Shouldn’t we expect them to be productive members of society just as the rest of us are?
What’s even more frustrating is that there are people whose job it is to stalk celebrities to supply the glimpses into these humans’ lives. Could you imagine if we all just enjoyed the movies, TV shows, music, and other art outlets that these fellow humans produced and let them live their lives as normal people between moments of producing new art? Do we need to know what an actor is doing when they are not on the movie screen? Do we need to know who a singer is dating this week? The so-called job of being in the paparazzi is such a weird “job” when you sit and think about it. These people make a living lurking around trying to capture other people doing stuff (eating, driving, talking on the cell phone, walking down the sidewalk) with the intent of selling the pictures/videos to TV programs, magazines, or websites so that other humans can look at them and know what these people are doing on their day off. Would you like to have someone outside your house on your day off walking just in front of you or beside you taking pictures nonstop?
Could you imagine if aliens touched down on Earth tonight and we had to explain this madness? Try explaining why you care about who another human being went out with on a date the other night when you don’t personally know or have any connection to that other person. Try to explain out loud why you care what your favorite actor is doing when you aren’t watching one of their movies or shows? Try to enumerate the reasons why you need to know what your favorite singer is wearing.
Goes back to my question: why do we care? Shouldn’t we be focusing our attention on those around us with whom we actually have relationships? I believe it’s OK to appreciate the art that people create without putting them on a pedestal. I think paying them for the chance to experience that art is probably a good indicator that we appreciate them and their craft. If you want to support them by following them on social media, go to town. That is them controlling their own message.
Back to the basketball players at Disney. Could you imagine how different it would be if they were just treated like the rest of the people at the park? I imagine it would be refreshing for them (although they would have to stand in line with the rest of us) if no one stopped them for pictures or to get an autograph. I like to think that it would be a pretty cool day for them just being a couple of guys (albeit very tall ones) enjoying Disney World on their day off.