Some seek it for the fame, some for the fortune and others for the chance to leave a lasting legacy long after they’re gone. When you get right down to it, most people probably hope to find all three. Some search for it their whole life without ever finding it and some seem to tumble into it completely by accident.
Defined as fame or notoriety, celebrity has become – especially in the last twenty years or so – an American obsession. It drives some people to perform seemingly insane acts, at least in my mind – reality television participants and so-called experts willing to eat bugs (or worse), swim with great white sharks, wrestle crocodiles or degrade themselves in front of millions of viewers. All for a chance at that nigh-impossible to achieve celebrity status.
It would almost be funny if it weren’t for the fact that far too many tend to ignore the responsibility that comes with fame and fortune. Not to mention that – these days – it seems the sheer number of celebrities far outweigh the actual talent they collectively display.
Yes, whether they like it or not, celebrity status brings with it a huge responsibility to those who manage to grasp it, and subsequently hold on to it. Athletes, actors, musicians and yes, even reality television personalities, all have a responsibility – not only to themselves – but to those who granted them a place in history (or at least in Wikipedia) in the first place, particularly the young children of America who hold them in such high regard.
Yet, far too often these teenage pop superstars, gifted athletes and inspiring actors or actresses completely ignore the profound impact they have on society as a whole. In some ways it seems they take our adulation completely for granted.
What can I say? It can be a selfish world out there and – in my opinion – they aren’t helping a bit.
That’s not to say today’s celebrities don’t have their good qualities as well, and I’m certainly not trying to label them all as spoiled brats. I typically try to avoid generalizations and it must be said that many of America’s most-famous donate thousands, if not millions, of dollars to all manner of good causes, which they should.
Unfortunately, many celebrities – particularly the young ones – are set-up for failure from the start. With celebrity, the temptations can be overwhelming at times, I’m sure. Whether it’s drugs, sex or rock-n-roll, the powers-that-be know deep down that controversy and notoriety sell plenty of magazines. And hey, there’s always Dancing with the Stars, Celebrity Rehab or Celebrity Apprentice when your favorite famous person bites the proverbial dust. And while I’m fairly certain no one goes into the music or movie business hoping to end up in the tabloids, you must admit that people can be strange.
Now me, on the other hand, I’d just like to be famous – even if it was only for a year or so – for the opportunity to meet other celebrities. The money probably wouldn’t bother me all that much either, but that’s beside the point. And even though I’d probably be setting myself up for disappointment, I’d love to meet someone like Harrison Ford, Tom Cruise or Arnold Schwarzenegger, just to see if they’re anything like I’d expect.
I’m guessing they’re not, but hey, you never know.
Or maybe I’d meet the love-of-my-life on a Hollywood set, say Kate Hudson, Renée Zellweger or Gywneth Paltrow? My problem, however, is that I’ve already fallen for all three in one role of theirs or another. Let’s just say I’m pretty sure Renée Zellweger is nothing like the Dorothy Boyd she portrayed in Cameron Crowes’ “Jerry Maguire,” much to my dismay.
Meg Ryan is another story completely, of course. Everybody knows – or should know – that Meg Ryan is the most perfect woman on the planet. In fact, if I’m ever lucky enough to experience that fifteen-minutes-of-fame that’s always talked about, the first thing I’m going to do is give Meg Ryan a call and ask her out to dinner and a movie.
A man can dream, can’t he?
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