Sunday, February 18, 2007

obsessed with celebrity

Harvey Wheeler wrote a book called “Beyond the Punitive Society” in which he wrote, “Man is a social insect." This is no more evident in the obsessions, albeit sickly that we have with fame and celebrity. Whether it is a bout the girl from the Mickey mouse club who shaved all of her hair off her head or the preacher who say he aint gay no more or the fat dame who married the 85 year old Jones for his money and died in Florida, it seems that there is a morbid fascination with celebrity that this nigga here cannot fathom.

The real conundrum for me is that I cannot suppurate why one would follow with conviction and seriousiousness beyond the surface interest, these topics. In the African American community, although we don’t get as much TV coverage, the same sickness is evident.

What is all this about I ask? Most folks don’t know what it is like to drop $15,000 In one night a club or in a mall, but yet we seem to follow them in magazine or television, as if they were first Sunday and communion is being served. Many of us would do anything to get an autograph, or to find out what us going on in their personal relationships than handling our own business. We would rather be in a club that a famous rapper is supposed to make an appearance at and having our picture taken with someone famous than to stay at home and cook dinner for our family. All the time, the celebrity in most cases desires to remove themselves from your preoccupation with them. I'm willing to bet if i was on tv or had a hit album or was in a movie I'd havefans and groupies too which is scary on the real.

I worry that this may be some type of new mental disorder, for I feel that too much absorption with celebrity and fame and the desire for such could make the weak minded feel insecure and make them fall into depression or anxiety because they want the same thing.

Folks in the 2003 New Scientist magazine reported that one-third of Americans had what they called "celebrity-worship syndrome". I figure this means that the weak among us idolized people more successful and beautiful than ourselves because we are disappointed with who we are as individuals.

It so bad now that most young men I speak with and ask what they want to do, 9 out of 10 say they want to rhyme. They don’t mention being a scientist, a lawyer, a physician, a coach or a teacher – but rather a rapper. Even the women are caught up in this so much that if they cannot be with someone famous, they wil be with someone who is next to someone famous just for name sake and recognition. This means that even if you are not famous but are associated with someone famous, you have fame as well even though it is artificial. Like Game says in his new song "you wouldn't get far" F'n them rap stars You know who you are..." Maybe this aint nothing to worry about, but you tell me, if we are more concerned with taking a picture with someone famous or wanting to be a rapper more so than a politician or businessman, then what does that say about the future of our community – enquiring minds would like to know.


Jamal Otolorin said...

Good observation.

Its a form of escapism I suppose.

A way to dissipate the boredom of their own unappreciated realities.

Girly_Girl said...

This is an excellent post.

I've often wondered why people are so obsessed with own life is interesting enough!!!

poison said...

I feel that if those people who are obsessed with celebrities would put at least half of that energy into worshipping the true SUPER STAR aka HOLY SPIRIT-the entire world would then undergo a drastic change for the better...

Rich in the Stl said...

Interesting topic. I think you have two sets of people that are affected by this; The groupie and the analyst. The groupie we know a lot about. It's all been covered in your diatribe, but what about the analyst?

The analyst is a person who isn't facinated with the surface of the celebrity, but the analyst attempts to look below the surface in order that they might gather information to help propel themselves to the next level.

The truth of the matter is that it's hard out here; I'll spare you the rhythmic colloquialism.

Only a small percentage of the population actually makes it beyond the confines of the rat race. However, I would tender a bet that a large amount of those trapped in their existence would like to get out and accomplish their hearts desire. I am of the belief that celebrities are not seen so much as gods, but as proof that one can make it out of the confines of the matrix.

Celebrities thereby become gods by default because they have found a way to circumvent the system or at least found a way to overcome while co-existing among the madness of everyday society.

People emulate that which they feel gets them the desired results. Our youth have simply misdirected their energy. They just don't have the foresight to see beyond the surface. If they have the talent, it's okay to want to be Jay-Z the rapper, but the wise student will have their eyes on Shawn Carter.

When you look at it, it's really no different than what we do as writers. Those who came before us, are the ones we look up to; maybe not to the degree as in your post, but we learn from them, we add their style in with ours, we desire to be where they are. We want their audience. We want to be heard. We want to be. Even if for a moment.

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

very well put Rich. I agree, but I don't think that my desire to follow in the shoes of WEB, Carter G. Woodson, Cheikih Anta Diop or Charles Chesnut or Percy Julian was based on fame, but rather that I saw my place was to continue the battle where they left off.

Sybil Barkley-Staples said...

Great post.

I have watched people be obsessed with the lives of celebrities, so much that they forget about their own "real lives".

Just think, if I was on the news for something book sales would skyrocket.

Sybil Barkley-Staples
She'll Learn
ISBN 0970380380
Candy for My Soul.....coming soon!!

Mizrepresent said...

Well, i consider myself the analyst then...bc i am interested and knowing how they got from point A to Z....maybe there is something in their life, some blueprint, map to achieving ones goals, and affording ones dreams. Then again some of them just got lucky. For me, it won't be luck, so i work hard everyday to achieve what i want out of life, which is not celebrity status, as a writer i want to be read by millions. The difference between these other celebs, and so-called celeb writers, is that most writers are not recognized, now today we got some "so-called" famous and recognizable writers, who have a following and can sell a book on name alone, but the big pic says we wouldn't recognize them from anyone else.

Rich in the Stl said...

I feel you there Mizrepresent. There is a SECRET to all of this and it's not necessarily in the writing. I'm sure we've all read someone who we feel we can write better than who is making a major splash in the industry.

Keep working, the ANSWER will be revealed sooner or later.

dc_speaks said...

Excellent read for more than a few reasons! I appreciate the insight! I totally agree with poison's comment! Celebrity seekers appear prone to wanting a tangible deity, just like the early church. Idol worshipping is a real issue in the american culture

Mandesa said...

Hey T great probably just cured me from whatever disorder associated with the stars..thank you!

Emanuel Carpenter said...

Yes, we do have a sick fascination with celebrities. I wrote a similar article here:

The good news is, a lot of people are not impressed by celebrities. I even see it on the news when the anchors tell viewers they are tired of reporting on celebrities. We know it's the producers who push this "news" down our throats.

I couldn't care less if Britney shaved her head or her man's right testicle. Since her net worth is $100 million, I'm sure she can get help if she desires it. I have no holler for rich people with problems.

Sylvia Hubbard said...

reality is always stranger than fiction and with the fascination with reality tv, there was no doubt the more crazier hollywood became, people would find the entertainment more off the screen than on the screen.

What if all this was a scheme to just see how much they could make them watch us? What if anna turned up alive? what if Britney just did this to bring back her career?

would the public get mad that they were dumb enough to believe or dumb enough to keep up with it all?

Shae aka Mystique said...

I feel whatcha saying...

Personally i dont see any difference from seeing a 'celebrity' on tv and off...there just another person to me, jus more well known...

Althought i would like to meet people such as Mary J Blige, Samuel L Jackson, Denzel Washington, etc... its nothing i would EVER obsess over!

If anything i would be a TRUE FAN of is getting the autograph from OUR FATHER!

In a very little way its interesting to see sum 'celebrities' lives shown on tv , but then again whose to say what is said and shown completely true about them?

As for Mz Spears...SO WHAT if she shaved her head, and for these reporters to even suggest that because she shaved her head that this may somewhat interfere with her keeping custody of her children!?!?!
There's still unresolved issues such as poverty, violence, etc...any THIS is whats in the TOP NEWS?!!!???

OOOHHHkaaay im gonna stop now be4 i get myself even more upset... things like this being shown in the news for more then A DAY really disturbs me! >=o|

Anonymous said...

I know a young man, who is a good kid, but not very street wise. He has a friend who is a rapper. His obsessed with being seen with this rapper has clouded his judgment. I mean he has lost jobs, traveled at his own expense just to say I hang out with this celebrity. I tell him he's nothing but a glorified groupie. He gets upset and tells me it's all about image. This young man is 23 years old and has even changed the manner in which he dresses into the thug look, and I'm not sure he can even fight. Not too long ago he brought a girl, who was nice, but dressed like a video girl to my home. This young man has lost his apartment because he purchased a high end vehicle that he can't afford to keep up with the rapper.

This obsession is at a level I just don't get. I will continue to talk to him to try to get his mind right. I'm not even so sure he will grow out of it with maturity.

janice anderson

strangefruit said...

I agree with most everyone when they say that it is a form of escapism but, I also want to say that I think that it is also a form of self-hate mixed in there too........ I think that Kanye said it best-"they make us hate outself and love they wealth".
Translation: You are nothing unless you have money and all of it's trappings.

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