The Wisdom of Celebrity
In order to move forward in our lives, we need to keep reminding ourselves that movie stars, rock stars and other popular personalities in entertainment, are not automatically more intelligent, more insightful or more informed than the average American. In fact, many such celebrities are seriously deficient in basic decision making skills, logical thought and virtue.
These celebrities may be highly gifted in their art or sport, but that does not make them fonts of wisdom. A celebrity may portray heroic figures on the silver screen, sing moving songs (that are often written and scored by others) or deliver jokes that make us laugh, and still lack the virtue of the character they portrayed, the wisdom of the lyrics or the insight it takes to understand the nuance that makes the joke funny. We must always keep in mind that they themselves are not the figure they portray, the story in the song or the laughter in the line.
These people come from the same industry (the entertainment industry) known for narcissism, excessive use of drugs and alcohol and serial marriage and divorce. The people caught up in this industry are often so out of touch with reality that their bizarre lifestyles become spectacles for entertainment that feed a culture of voyeurism and objectification of the human person. The industry destroys lives and we should not look to that industry to form our own opinions on how to look at the world. The carnage of the entertainment industry is overlooked by too many of us.
How can Michael Jackson, Robin Williams, Amy Winehouse, Curt Cobain, Whitney Houston, John Belushi, Phil Spector, O.J. Simpson, Dennis Rodman and Lamar Odom teach us something? Actually, in a sense, they can. They teach us to comprehend entertainment for what it is and the entertainers for who they are. We should idolize neither.
When Amy Winehouse soaks her liver in an alcohol and drug cocktail for years at a time, her advice regarding how a person is supposed to live their life is not to be given any creedence. When Jane Fonda is obviously living in a world unfamiliar to 99.999% of humanity, her opinion on politics, conflict resolution and virtue is only relevant to the .001% of people who hang out with her in Fondaland.
So this brings us to people like Khloe Kardashian, Liam Neeson, Sean Penn, Lady Gaga, Bono, Tom Cruise, Rosie O’Donnell… Pick your favorite entertainer. They are entertainers, not philosophers. They have chosen to live in a world that is unfamiliar to the vast majority of the rest of us. And as I mentioned earlier, the environment in their industry is one of excess, narcissism, distortion, manipulation and commonly, destruction. It is the entertainers who are in serious need of advice on how to live a genuine life that is based on authentic love. You are more capable of giving sound advice than anyone in the entertainment industry. Let’s stop fawning over their opinions as though they are inspired by a wisdom long lost by the common people.
Watch their movies and shows if you wish , listen to their songs, enjoy their jokes(be very selective on each). You can even continue root for your favorite team. But never and I mean never, consider right and wrong based on the advice, opinion or example of a celebrity.
I watched a short video yesterday. The video was taken by a husband as his wife came out of anesthesia after oral surgery. The video was hyped as funny, but to me, the video was disconcerting. As the woman came out of anesthesia, she was inconsolably emotional to discover that she was not Nicki Minaj, she was not close friends with Ellen DeGeneres and that she was not going to meet Beyonce. I realize that the woman’s mind was significantly altered at the time, but I also believe the feelings she expressed were not totally foreign to the thoughts and feelings she harbors inside when she isn’t under the influence of anesthesia and pain medication. Deep down inside, this woman wanted to be someone else. Not just anyone else, but a very wealthy and popular celebrity, who probably wishes her own life was a lot different than it is. She wanted to be friends with celebrities and wanted to have access to weatlh. She was crushed to find that she was the same person she was before she went in for surgery.
If Bruce Jenner can have surgery and say he is a new person, why can’t this woman have surgery and say she is a new person (even if that person is a real person and already exists)? For too many of us, even reality is relative these days.
The video tells me that the woman fails to fully understand that she is created in the image and likeness of God, for a specific and unique purpose. She was knitted in her mother’s womb. She is wonderfully made and God knew her before she was even born. She fails to realize or accept that she is perfectly loved by God and all she has to do is cooperate with His will for her life and she will never experience sadness over the fact that she is not another person or living another life.
We are all seeking fulfillment in our lives. If your fulfillment is to be a celebrity who already exists, you are certain to remain unfulfilled.
If your fulfillment is influenced by the example or advice of celebrities, you are equally certain to remain unfulfilled. Nothing in the world can give us fulfillment. Only God can do that. If we continue to idolize celebrities or if we continue to consider their example and advice, we will continue to live lives that are as unfulfilled as the woman in the video.