I don’t care for standing in line at the grocery store. Whoever arranges the aisles thinks that I enjoy hearing about the worst of America through the National Enquirer and People magazine. I get sick of hearing about who’s pregnant (but isn’t really) and who’s breaking up (but isn’t really) and who’s fighting and hiding and dating and confessing and revealing (but aren’t really). They think I like their altered photos and diet tips and baby bumps and tell-all bodyguards. But it isn’t limited to the supermarket. It’s on all the major news sites I visit — they all wish to tell me about B-listers going shopping, couples stepping out for a bite to eat, Lady Gaga falling, and so-and-so wearing a dress. What am I supposed to say to all this? How am I expected to react?
“O… M… G!”
No. My family is fond of the phrase TMI (meaning “too much information”). And that’s exactly what I have to say about the inescapable celebrity obsession that America thrusts on my young, impressionable mind every single day.
It’s the absolute antithesis of Rockwell’s America, which I come to love more every day. Whatever happened to the days when film stars and musicians were kept safely confined to movie theatres and record players, where we could enjoy them as much as we wished and turn them off when we were finished? Why isn’t it sufficient to simply appreciate their talent, beauty, and charisma as it relates to us? Why do we have to be a captive audience in a never-ending circus of scandal, triumph, drama, and rehab? I do not WANT to know the personal affairs of Miss Lohan, Miss Cyrus, Miss Kardashian, and Miss Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta — excuse me, Miss Gaga. I do not know those people. I do not expect to meet those people. They are terrible influences and I would not take their advice. I don’t hate them as people. I just don’t want to know about their lives.
But let me tell you about the people who are famous to me. I know people with beautiful, vibrant, rich personalities. I know people with quiet personalities who have breathtaking life stories. I know people who are consumed with heaping huge love on the people in their lives. I know people lovelier than anyone People mag has ever photographed. The people God has placed around you are precious. Invest your love in them.
There’s so much excitement to be found in life, why would we waste time on the fake, absurd, abnormal habits of people who don’t care whether we know them or not? Why would we give them attention they don’t need? I guarantee you, there is someone in your life right now who needs your love and attention. It is not Justin Bieber. That’s a silly example, I know, but I am personally acquainted with people who believe that a band or celebrity is more worthy of their time than their own families.
Don’t make someone your hero or role model simply because he or she sparkles. Not all that glitters is gold, and sometimes gold doesn’t glitter. I’m not saying there are no celebrity role models, but there are very few. Discern prudently.
The whole issue of celebrity obsession brings to mind Isaiah 55:1-3a:
Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live…
Your identity is not in another person, celebrity or otherwise. When you walk with the Lord, you never have to labor for that which does not satisfy.