Young Generations Turn to Celebrities for Simplified Answers
From time to time we’ve all been guilty of devouring some silly celebrity stories from Hollywood and there’s nothing inherently wrong in doing so. However, with the exponential growth of social media and well-deserved mistrust towards the enemy of the people (ahem, the mainstream media), younger generations have especially turned to celebrities in trying to seek out simplified versions on the complexities of politics, economics, culture, and international relations. This is very troubling.
Oddly enough celebrities truly believe themselves to be special, with an omnipotent and important mission to educate us “peasants.” But such egregious narcissism should not come as a surprise to us. After all, being the center of attention for extended periods of time, on top of having a false sense of authority, does create an inflated sense of ability in completely unrelated fields. In other words, beneath their smug celebrity status hides a false, and most importantly grandiose, assumption of some special abilities or knowledge to change the world simply because people are paying attention to them.
Celebrity Opinion’s Would Be Irrelevant Without Us
For example, since when has actor Leonardo DiCaprio become an expert on climate-change? How about George Clooney on refugee immigration policy? Jimmy Kimmel on gun and health care policy? Emma Watson and Meryl Streep on gender-equality policy? Trevor Noah or John Oliver on economic policy? Unless they all receive policy advice from actual professionals or have obtained academic credentials, we should question their agenda, motives, and knowledge on these policy questions. We should not take them as omnipotent figures worthy of repetition in an echo chamber simply because they’ve achieved fame.
Some of our dear readers might shrug in disgust upon reading the header and think in aghast, “I don’t pay attention to celebrities and what they have to say!” Sure you do. You already clicked on this article about celebrities. Every time a celebrity tweets about some public policy issue, most of you get ready to open a bottle of wine and prepare for a ruthless rebuttal, which nobody really reads anyway. The same way as you write Yelp reviews: nobody cares. But the damage has been done.
You read that clueless celebrity tweet, reacted, and gave a platform for further celebrity tweets. Congratulations. If we would ignore celebrity opinions and resist the temptation to comment or share their shenanigans, these celebrity opinions would be as worthless as they are themselves. But no, our obsession with brainless celebrities is insatiable and the public relations companies that design celebrity behavior cash in on our predictable stupidity.
Although everyone can choose their sources of information in a free society, abandoning rigorous intellectual analysis for quick “feel good” late night celebrity ramblings on important issues diminishes our capacity to have serious policy debates. For example, when our youth doesn’t bother to pick up, perhaps mundane but important books or academic papers on some policy matter, and rather watches Stephen Colbert oversimplifying the same issue, we have a serious long-term intellectual problem.
Society’s Intellectual Decay
When you choose to pay more attention to the antics of celebrities than real world stories or top-level journalism, you’re voluntarily giving up your interest in perhaps more complex issues and questions of the world. In return you receive false images of a world that is a world you’d like it to be.
Is it wrong for celebrities to use their elevated position to raise awareness on some issues? Of course not. It is their constitutional right. Admittedly the progressive movement has succeeded in such a Marxist cultural war: culture has become politics and politics is based on identities or repeating something that is considered en vogue. Is it then shocking when the father of Communism, Karl Marx, is the most cited source in American social science college programs? Is it such a wonder when young students have become clueless on important topics despite being supposedly the most educated generation in US history?
As a lucky immigrant living in the US, I do recognize the historical impact of celebrities on the American political landscape. But if your first reaction, for example, to a national tragedy or nationwide public policy debate is to seek out what celebrities have to say, you’re not merely a small part of society’s intellectual decay problem. You are the problem.
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Henri Erti is a writer for NRN. Born in former USSR Estonia, he escaped communism to neighboring Finland where he learned first hand about the atrophying effects of socialism. Erti studied international business in Brevard College (NC) and completed graduate studies in international political economy at Dubrovnik International University (Croatia).