The group of people that we call ‘celebrities’ are having an increasingly profound influence on our lives. We love to hate them and we hate to love them. Sometimes we want to be just like them, and at other times we feel relieved that we aren’t one of them. When I say ‘we,’ I mean people like you and I; those of us who certainly are not celebrities. You know, we
common, errr, regular folk. In some ways, we have it easy in comparison to them (if you don’t consider that we earn considerably less money). And if you do consider that fact, then shame on you! Money isn’t everything.
Imagine you’ve just released an album and you’re at the top of the charts. Everyone is playing your songs; you’re the biggest star since Robbie Williams (tall order, that) and your fan base swells from a few followers on your YouTube account to a gargantuan worldwide following. It sounds terrific, right? Well, it is at first. All of a sudden your schedule begins to clog up as you appear on chat shows to further bolster your image. Numerous tours are taking their toll on your health and the paparazzi are keen to inform the public each and every time you blow your nose. On top of that, some pompous journalist may even have the audacity to hack your phone and spill the secrets of your private life all over the front page of the newspapers. Now everyone knows you fell out with your best friend and that the relationship with your other half is strained and lacking any spark. This lifestyle is sounding a bit less desirable isn’t it?
To be sure, there are some celebrities who enjoy all this recognition; they pout for the cameras and earn a lot of money from selling stories to dedicated celebrity magazines, which also provide us with important information like which female star has cellulite, or that the nation’s heart throb sweats through his suits.
Some of our favourite people may ‘accidentally’ cause controversy over a semi-nude image they posted on their Instagram; this doesn’t always give them what they desire, however. Sometimes the backlash from such behaviour can be a little over the top. The celebrity culture we have these days can be toxic in that we praise these people for their talents, but the minute they put a toe out of line -or just show us that they’re only human- we call them irresponsible and accuse them of setting a ‘bad example’ for our children. If we insist on giving some of today’s stars a lot of attention then we shouldn’t be surprised when they do things in order to keep receiving it. We all want to be noticed, after all,
On the contrary, if a well known actress takes a 4 year break from her profession she had best be ready for the internet to go crazy when we see she has aged well since her last appearance in the lime-light. People will accuse her of lying when she denies using botox to alter her features, as though she owes it to them to tell the ‘truth.’ Or maybe parents everywhere are outraged when the world’s most popular boy band are filmed smoking marijuana. Of course it is absolutely outrageous that they could do such a thing. It’s almost as though regular people don’t do it themselves!
Yes, celebrities are in the public image so their actions won’t be going unnoticed. And yes, this means that if they do anything considered ‘taboo’ they are in for a rough time. If they don’t want to be crushed by criticism then they shouldn’t do anything inappropriate. But is is really that simple? Can’t it be recognised that they are only human? It just doesn’t make much sense to raise someone up on a pedestal by worshipping them for their talents or looks, only to cast them down at the moment they display behaviour you dislike.
Celebrities will never be able to please everyone; they won’t all remain the very image of perfection, setting good examples for your children (something that you should do yourself) and providing us with films, books and albums with which we fill our downtime. Every now and then they will show their imperfection; a trait they share with all of us. Money might provide them with lavish cars and huge homes, but it can’t always buy them the luxury of a private life.