Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Why The Obsession?

Why are people SO OBSESSED with celebrities? I've never understood the complete and utter fascination people have with celebrities. I mean, I get that some of them have interesting lives, and others are great to poke fun at, but why do people get so infatuated with them? Sure, there can be some good gossip here and there, like the Britney Does Something Stupid saga, or What Insensitive Thing Did Tom Cruise Say Now soap opera.

Here's how obsessed we, as a nation, seem to be. People blog about it. Not just once in a blue moon, like I might, but every day, all the time, where that's the whole purpose of the blog. We have dozens of trash magazines and web sites dedicated to celebrity gossip. We have television shows that do nothing but gossip about and share information on celebs. We talk about them in online forums, as the stupid things they do or the causes they support or the books they write and the characters they play spark discussions. Which is all fine and dandy, until people start to personalize all of it. People actually get offended if someone says "Britney is a trashy tart and a bad mother" because they can identify with her, and turn it around that THEY WERE THE ONE being called a trashy tart and a bad mother! That just blows my mind.

The problem I see is when we hold up the bad examples and call them role models. Celebrities are NOT ROLE MODELS. Good, kind people who do good kind things are role models, and if they happen to be a celebrity that's GREAT because of the media attention they can get. I just wish they'd use the media for good rather than evil. It's hard to explain to a child why Charlotte Church and Carrie Underwood are OK but Britney Spears and Courtney Love are not.

Right now, Juliana is struggling with figuring out how to tell who is "real" and who is a "character." She's trying to distinguish when someone is acting/playing/pretending vs say, American Idol which is "reality TV." Her class has put on a couple of plays, and she played Little Billie Goat Gruff in one of them, so she understands the concept of acting and playing a part. Now she's confused because she knows that TV is pretty much fake, that everything is a story and acting, but then you have reality TV shows, the news, or "this story is based on _____." It's normal phase for a child, and I think she's even a bit ahead of the game in realizing that there's a difference between certain programs/movies/shows/music. She's really quite intuitive, and most of the time she can distinguish between real, realistic, and fantasy. It took a while for her to realize that cartoons are not "real" but obviously that's normal too. I do think she figured it out sooner than a lot of kids her age though.

Sadly enough, DH has the gossip bug. He enjoys sharing juicy information and stories, whether about" real people" or celebrities. And by real people, I mean "people we know." He gets this gleam in his eyes when he's got a delicious piece of news to share, and takes great delight in telling the story. Juliana, unfortunately, seems to have the same affliction. She really enjoys talking about her classmates and teachers lives, and even listens to conversations she shouldn't just so she's "in the know." She likes to be the one who knows it all, and then shares it with me. Even if she misinterpreted or is simply incorrect in her assumptions. I'm trying to teach her now what the difference is between gossiping, sharing good information, and heck between tattletaling and when it's appropriate to tell on someone. It's hard, so I've been trying to show her through example.

Whew that turned into quite a rant.

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