The billboard blew by 75 MPH. Highway 80 under my tires. Sensational non-world-contributing CelebrityX staring down at us whilst advertising the most recent beauty product by instilling insecurity in every freeway motorist possible.
This article stems from some recent thinking I’ve been doing about the value of mentors. About the value of social leadership in our society. About the degree of attention we pay to certain people, and why.
Icons and idols, in the non-religious sense, are very similar, with a single distinction. Icons are famous regardless of their morality. Idols are famous for their morality in the eyes of the idolizer.
With that said, our obsession with icons is the troubling issue, in my eyes. As a society, we obsess with icons that do not contribute to the world in a productive way. As a result, we pay attention to traits that we recognize as negative. We follow people who represent what we do not want to be.
Why we follow these people? Education? Motivation? Entertainment?
With regard to the topic of the article, I would assert that entertainment is the most accurate and encompassing descriptive.
Why are we entertained by this? Is it human nature’s obsession with bad news, gossip, our ability to relate with celebrities better than athletes, and our waiting and misguided desire to see high-profile people fail in order to feel better about our own lack of abilities? Yes, I think so., but that is not all.
However, beyond these factors, we see the perpetuation of celebrity and icon-obsession due to the “FEED”. What is the “FEED” (and why is it capitalized)? It is the constant bombardment of information we receive from the media empires that thrive on controlling popular interest. For example, Glam Media has more traffic than Wikipedia. The Daily Mail is the most read online newspaper in the world, and has been for years. This is a social problem, when human interest is pointed in the direction of “BAD NEWS” (capitalized to mock Trump), we waste our time and productivity sensationalizing unimportant things. Human interest is not a natural or inherent quality. It is controlled by the media geniuses who put out gripping news and headlines. When scientists, politicians, and astronomicalphysiologichiastrists can keep up with Glad Media’s gripping content, we will be in much better shape.
We have icons, but we need idols. When that happens, maybe Neil DeGrasse Tyson will be selling anti-aging cream instead of Paris Hilton. At least that would be a step in the right direction, albeit a strange one.