I have a dream. Well, I had a dream.
I have a dream. Well, I had a dream. Actually, it was more of a nightmare. I found myself at a trial (the perks of being a law student is that you collect great material for your dream worlds) where I was to be scrutinized by no other than leaked-sex-tape-turned-reality-star-slash-tasteless-designer Kim Kardashian and her ranting Taylor-Swift-hatin’-hip-hop-artist-and-husband-to-be Kanye West.
With Kardashian’s empty gaze and West’s trademark dropped jaw look, they were about to deliver my verdict, when the scene was suddenly cut, and I was transferred to a living room where Kanye was playing with puppies.
I am prone to nightmares, not the horror film kind of nightmares, but rather those where you are left feeling uncomfortable for the rest of the day. This was an unhealthy concoction of both.
Why am I so bothered with these celebrities infiltrating my dreams (though I will admit, I was not equally appalled after the terrific picnic with Ewan McGregor)? It’s because browsing through magazines and newspapers, celebrities are simply everywhere and not necessarily by virtue of their artistic talent.
There are breaking newsflashes of them taking a stroll (apparently famous people walk just like the rest of us), on dates at restaurants (apparently famous people eat like the rest of us), at film galas (apparently famous people go to galas… Oh wait.) and with their children, who are named things like North West, Apple, Tu Morrow and Pilot Inspector (apparently famous people hate their children).
The notion that the modern world is obsessed with celebrity is not new, but it seems it took on a whole new dimension when people started idolising those famous for becoming famous, an era perhaps not introduced but definitely reinforced and settled by another sex tape survivor, Heiress Paris Hilton and Lionel Richie’s daughter, stick insect Nicole Richie.
And I cannot help but wonder, what is missing from our lives when we feel the need to know every intimate detail about them? Sure, we should allow for some indulgence and a peak at lives of decadence and superficiality – but are we prepared to let Cara’s latest Nike high tops get more attention than disasters that take thousands of lives?
Norwegian film director and ex-war photographer Eric Poppe not-so-famously said that “the hardest thing wasn’t surviving in Afghanistan or the Congo, but life back home. You’re so filled with adrenaline and then when you get back you’re so furious that no one cares. I remember filming in a village in Eastern Congo as rebels approached, massacring people on their way. On the news that night, it was below a report about Paris Hilton leaving a car with no knickers on.”
This is not to condemn all celebrity stunts; Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance in fact gave rise to a number of interesting discussions ranging from the emancipation of women, to whether she was endorsing prostitution. We need those debates too. And fundamentally they derived from her actual job and not from her trip to the grocery shop.
It is time to re-evaluate the news we find important. As consumers we’re in charge of what makes it on the bulletin board and what doesn’t. Closing your eyes to what’s happening around you won’t make it go away – knowledge is power, power means change so let’s change what we know.
What do you think? Have your say in the comments section below.
Image: Josh Jensen