By MELISSA MALLIN
I often wonder why so many people obsess over celebrities and why famous people generate such high value in today’s news cycles.
I understand why entertainment magazines value celebrities and their gossip as news worthy. It is entertainment and that’s what the magazine is all about — the entertainment industry.
But it seems absurd, (at least to me) that CNN, Fox News, and so many other worldwide news organizations take the time to inform viewers about the lives of celebrities or, at least, contribute to the gossip about them.
So how did entertainment news and gossip become world-wide valued hard-news stories? And why are people more interested in the lives of celebrities than what’s actually going on in the world?
Celebrities represent people who are much prettier, better dressed and much wealthier than the average person. From a young age, we are predisposed to celebrities by watching TV shows and listening to music. We develop an appreciation for these artists and we become obsessed with our favorite people. Because we love our favorite actors or musicians we become eager to learn more about them and what goes on in their lives and less about our own. We focus more on when the next Britney Spears album comes out and less on doing homework and which college we’d eventually like to attend.
When we develop an interest for the characters we watch, and the actors that play them, we become obsessed and want to know everything there is to know about them. Entertainment news and gossip provide insight into the lives of everyone’s favorite celebrities. Many people consider celebrities to be their friends and, thus, want to know more about them. They show that celebrities, too, are normal people just like us who also experience heartache, destruction, and disaster.
The rise of the Internet, the invention of television and radio, as well as a slight decrease in education have all contributed to the role celebrities play in our mainstream news.
Regular news is often boring, negative, depressing and often hard to follow. Most people don’t take the time to follow or keep up with the news because it makes them feel bad. Celebrity news is entertaining, comical, relaxing and makes people feel good knowing that celebrities go through tough times just like we do. Celebrity news gives people a chance to break away from their own lives and into the lives of someone else.
But while entertainment news is interesting and provides a relief from our own everyday lives, when put into perspective, all celebrity gossip and entertainment news has done is dumb our society down by making Miley Cyrus more important and newsworthy than Congress or the president.
It seems outrageous that our news feeds would be filled with news of Kim Kardashian’s due date and Kate Middleton’s baby name than on our continued involvement in the Middle East or the ever-increasing interest rates of college loans and growing student debt.
In the long run, both beauty and fame fade (and it happens fast). By focusing and including celebrity gossip in our mainstream news, we are sending a message to younger generations that nothing matters as long as they’re famous and pretty.
But, as many of us know (at least I hope many of us know). life is not defined by how beautiful or famous we are, it is defined by the impact we make on society and the love we spread.
Being smart and intelligent is much more valuable than being famous and/or beautiful. Beauty and fame are easily disposable. Cultural significance and positive change last longer and are much more respected.
With this, I propose a change in celebrity gossip and the value they hold in our news. If the news reported on how political policy affected those in the social elite rather than just their physical appearance and wardrobe, then their coverage would be legitimately solidified. We live in a society that holds physical appearance as the only important value; if we are not beautiful or skinny, then we are not important. We need to re-evaluate and re-focus news on the things that matter — such as education.
Sure, the news holds negative and depressing stories, but that’s because our world is filled with such things. We are only hurting ourselves and our value of intelligence by dumbing ourselves down and distracting ourselves with the lives of celebrities instead of trying to improve our own.
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