Losing touch with reality: our celebrity obsessions

Mario Belan
Online Editor

MarioCelebrities: we follow them, we adore them, we want to be like them, but it’s getting unhealthy

There are celebrities I like, but I don’t recall myself ever giving images of their lives more than a glance. I met Arnold Schwarzenegger at a book signing a few years back, and, yes, it was awesome meeting an actor whose work I have enjoyed since I was young, but I don’t know what is happening in his life right now – nor do I want to.

We live in a world where it’s so easy to follow celebrities through outlets like Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.  Every day we can see where they’re going, what they’re doing, who they’re with and how much fun they’re having (or not). Social media sites take us into the personal life of these people and make us feel like we’re a part of their story. And in some cases, people end up obsessing. According to the British Journal of Psychology there is a disorder called Celebrity Worship Disorder, which identifies three categories of celebrity stalking: simple obsession, love obsession and erotomanic obsession (where stalkers actually believe the celebrity is in love with them).

We can’t say we like a celebrity personally unless we actually know them, which most of us don’t. I briefly met Schwarzenegger, I like the work that he does, but do I know him? No. He was nice in person, but it’s his job to be nice. I have no illusion that he remembered me five seconds beyond my leaving the book table.

The consequences of these obsessions are that we begin to neglect personal interaction. We are so obsessed with other people’s lives that we won’t talk about our own. I find myself in conversations where the subject isn’t our personal lives any more, but rather the lives of celebrities, or their characters on TV.

What draws us into this? Perhaps since most of us don’t live like celebrities, we wonder what it’s like to experience a lavish life. Yes, it would be nice to be able to buy what you want, but is there really a need for it?

Our vision often gets distorted when we are bombarded with images of the lives of celebrities, but we have to come to our senses. We can be just as happy as them, without the wealth and fame.

I think it’s because we want to be seen. Imagine being on the cover of a magazine and having all that attention brought to you. People would be talking about you and looking up to you. We think being famous would solve all the problems we have.

I have accepted the fact I won’t be famous and I’m fine with it. I really don’t need to be recognized; I’m fine just being another guy on the street. It’s all about living in the present and not worrying about which celebrity is dating which.