The celebrity cult of personality

Zara DeGroot

CollegianMug-ZaraDeGroot
Zara DeGroot

Among the many wonders of the world lies the following questions: Why are we obsessed with the rich and famous? What even are “celebrities”? How can I be one? Why is it so hard for us to peel our eyes away from the screen when “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” is on? Why did we drag our dads to the Jonas Brothers documentary? Why did our dads let us see the Jonas Brothers documentary? Why have I googled pictures of presidents on the beach?

Why oh why do we let these celebs steal our time, money and sense of self-worth?

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The answer is the Illuminati, probably.

Another possible answer is the fact that celebrities are intangible to us, leaving an air of mystery in their track. We only see them plastered on tabloids in the checkout line, or behind a screen or on whatever brand of cracker they are sponsoring. We can’t even touch them. Unless Justin Bieber grabs your arm at church in Beverly Hills, but that’s a different story for a different time.

The thing with celebrities is that we view them as the better versions of ourselves. They are what we aspire to be, so we look up to them with wide-eyed wonder, as if the key to success is in their glistening veneers and lavish lifestyles they are dangling it before our eyes. We are puppies, and these celebrities are our masters, whom we have pledged our loyalty to until the very end.

As if the general celebrity infatuation isn’t enough, celebrity crushes are even more debilitating. Celebrity crushes, if done correctly, will crush you. It is difficult trying to have a general respect for these individuals as human beings, but how can you not freak out when you see your favorite British band member walking around your stomping grounds?

Placing actors, musicians and whatever pedestal the Kardashians are on is an interesting concept and easy to do, and honestly it’s kind of fun having that one celebrity you obsess over. But where should the line be drawn?

As entertaining as it is to cyber-stalk our favorite celebrities, there comes a point when it becomes disturbing. I’m not ashamed to admit that I have attended a few One Direction concerts in my day. Money well spent, in my opinion.

But what lays inside these concerts is a little concerning. Being greeted with tears, deafening shrieks and teenage angst even before entering the venue can be off-putting. It’s disturbing to see these girls push each other around, and lose all sense of self-control over a boy band. Sobbing and dry heaving doesn’t scream adoration as much as it does mental disturbance. And, it is just this that causes celebrities to lose their cool and end up in trouble. A human idolizing another human is detrimental to our psyche. People are not meant to be worshipped.

We live and participate in a take-down culture, one that celebrities are not exempt from. In fact, their failures are what entertains the masses and keeps us on our toes. Society loves to watch people with power crash and burn. It fuels us. Seeing those more successful than us, in many cases our “heroes,” fail makes us feel less like losers and more like pulled-together, classy individuals on a fast track to a jail-free adulthood.

Despite falling into the trap of the celebrity realm, it is important to realize that these people are just people with gooey insides like the rest of us. They stub their toes on the side of the bed and get parking tickets. By idolizing and worshipping these individuals, we are contributing to their downfall.

The celebrity cult is being spoon fed to us by the media, but we need to remind ourselves that it is not reality and fame does not determine success. After all,everyone knows who the Kardashians are, but is that who you really want to be?

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Collegian Columnist Zara DeGroot can be reached at letters@collegian.com, or on Twitter @zar_degroot