Celebrities pervade our headlines and weave through our casual conversations. An ex-child star’s descent into madness is another’s fodder for discussion. “They’re just people,” you may scoff, rolling your eyes at yet another DUI. But if you peel back the layers of debauchery, I say that what you find in celebrities of both the past and the present is a collection of artists worthy of the praise we heap upon them.
I admit that we sometimes focus too much on people undeserving of fame, the ones who gain renown solely for the size of their manors and not for the breadth and quality of their accomplishments. In the ladder of stardom, I consider “stars” such as Farrah Abraham or Courtney Stodden to occupy the lowest rung. Passing fads, for the most part. But when I talk about true celebrities, I’m referring to distinguished actors, auteurs, wordsmiths and the like—the Cary Grants and Sofia Coppolas and Neil Gaimans of the world.
With that distinction made, I’d warrant celebrity mania is justified. The realm of the famous and talented serves as a reminder that such glamour is attainable; if you’ve never had a fantasy of mingling with Colin Firth and sipping classy tea at some party whilst sophisticates mill about, then evidently I’m all alone in the world. Such reveries provide me with motivation, reminding me what I have to look forward to if (fingers crossed) I fulfill my dreams. While my foremost purpose in aspiring to enter the film industry and literary world is to tell stories, I would be lying if I claimed all the luminaries I could meet hold no appeal. They inspire me to persevere in my work, to yearn.
Besides, celebrity obsessions are just another form of entertainment! They lead to discovering different facets of pop culture, from movies to albums to even more celebrities. Sifting through images of Paul Newman and Robert Redford provides a refreshing break from piles of homework. I switch infatuations in the same way a frog hops from one lily pad to another. It’s like a game: who will occupy my thoughts next? I follow no distinct pattern. One day I might be sighing over the films of Elizabeth Taylor and the next I could be curled up in a ball weeping over Cat Stevens and his music. By the time my friend gave me a David Bowie CD for my birthday, I was already engrossed in the works of Kurt Vonnegut. (Sorry, buddy).
Though I certainly feel passionately about celebrities, as any casual bystander to my constant squealing can attest, I am aware that the fixation can go overboard, and that I may be wasting my time when I scour the Internet for interviews with famous actors, writers, directors and musicians.
Despite such criticism, however, I will still continue to moon over the stars, as I hope we all will. We may never truly know them, but they’re still a part of our lives.