Today’s child, Tomorrow’s forgotten ‘Celebrity’?

9 Jan

Celebrity:            A famous person, especially in entertainment or sport.

                                The state of being well known. 

In contemporary society, the celebrity has fast become a valued icon being held in very high esteem. From sportspeople to singers, actors to reality television stars and glamour models to those who sell-their-stories we would all be guilty of making them all household names and making them a part of celebrity culture.

In years past celebrities have always been icons of celebration; Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, Mohammad Ali. Those who have achieved something in life that we have been a part of and can celebrate them for. Now we have built a generation where celebrities are famous and celebrated for doing something as simple as living their life. An example of which would be Bryan Dowling who is now conveniently famous for being a television presenter after becoming famous for winning one (sorry, I meant two) series of Big Brother on British television.  The fact that we are making it seem so simple to become ‘famous’ (or as I like to put it known by more than 1,000 or so people) is leading to a society with lack of ambition. Everybody wants to be famous and it seems would sell their soul to get their piece of the pie.

Individual views are being abandoned for fear they do not fit in with the chosen view of a certain celebrity, women are following ludicrous diets because their favourite celebrity is doing it and men and women are bankrupting themselves in order to keep up with the latest must-haves that the celebrity of the moment is promoting. People are often so concerned with what is current and ‘fashionable’ that more often than not they lose sight of what is really important. Are you investing in the latest diet trend because you think that it will actually do you any good or are you investing in it because of who the person is giving the advice?

Our generation of reality television including the likes of Big Brother, The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, Come Dine with Me, Take Me Out, Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing on Ice (to name but a few) are all accountable partly for the breed of celebrity that now adorns our celebrity culture. These programmes either create or nurture a type of celebrity which have previously contributed or have never contributed anything of any benefit at all to society whatsoever. These programmes are often weekly or daily (dependent on the length of the serials) and manipulate the audience into believing that these people are privileged to be in the position that they are, they allow you, the audience to create the consequence or outcome for the people who star in these programmes whether it’s to their detriment or advantage and they make you believe that having this power is a good thing. In addition to this, the fact that you have had a say in what this persons outcome is, makes you believe that you are now a part of their lives because you now follow them blindly through celebrity gossip, stalk them on twitter, facebook and perhaps any other mediums they use and expect ‘ReTweets’ or ‘Replies’. (I’m guilty of it too, come on, don’t deny it?!) It’s a sad case in our search for the piece of the pie.

Back in my day (Yes, I am already using such phrases) I looked at celebrities in awe, as the richest, most beautiful and stylish to grace the world, they were untouchables to me. The fact that I could now be within touching distance of fame (whether a second or 15 minutes) through a simple ‘ReTweet’ from one’ celebrity’ on Twitter, an appearance on Big Brother or from making a fool out of myself on Britain’s Got Talent has slightly devalued fame and the icon of the celebrity for me. When we look at programmes like Celebrity Big Brother, a new series of which has just appeared back on our television screens and try and count how many actual ‘celebrities’, whose work we can celebrate appear in the house I think I counted three. I’m sure the likes of Michael Madsen is looking around him and thinking: ‘Hmmm…perhaps I should have asked for an extra zero at the end of my pay cheque?’ particularly when one of his fellow housemates turns around and states that she’s actually famous for having an affair with her brother-in-law with a big smile on her face.  I’m not sure she realised she was talking to an actor who had starred in award winning films, but even so, aren’t we clutching at straws with what we now term ‘celebrities’?

Programmes and icons such as these have an extremely detrimental effect on society, most notably the children of our generation who aspire to be something which has no value or meaningful contribution to society. The fact that adults are so absorbed in celebrity culture doesn’t set a very clear example to children either and they often think that such aspirations to become what I would term a ‘Z-List’ Celebrity is healthy and correct.

The media saturated environment we live in has forced television programmes to take the place of homework, facebook to take the place of ‘playtime’ and Twitter to take the place of healthy face to face and sociable discussion. We are slowly beginning to rely on media and celebrity culture in place of our education system and with the likes of Kim Kardashian, Frankie Cocozza and Lindsay Lohan gracing current gossip and social mediums I’m not quite sure I have as much faith in that particular education system.

Perhaps it is time that society stopped investing so much effort in trying to emulate the life our chosen celebrities lead and begin to put more purpose and aspiration into our own.

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