OPINION: Being famous doesn’t mean you’re always right

Steven MacInnis 

Celebrities, they’re just like us.

Okay, maybe they possess wealth that most people will never see in their entire lifetime. And yes, they might live in luxurious mansions that probably have far too many bathrooms and unnecessary amenities. Perhaps people recognize them wherever they go and it’s even possible that they’re treated like the second coming of Jesus just for walking down the street.

They’re paid millions of dollars to do something that they love, sometimes for having talent, other times for having no talent at all and our culture seems to adore and praise them for it.

But seriously, they’re just like us. They’re people no different than you or me other than the simple fact that they’re famous.

Yet through our love and the idolization of people we will most likely never meet, we have ultimately gifted celebrities with power and influence in society, despite how not relatable and arguably out of touch most of them are.

The enormously high pedestal that we’ve placed them on has inevitably resulted in celebrities having an elitist sense of entitlement, making them somehow believe that they truly do know better than the rest of us.

And, boy, do they consistently remind us of this.

Tune into any awards show, social media account or late-night talk show and you will be subjected to celebrities constantly using their “platform” to lecture society on the do’s and don’ts, the rights from wrongs, and the injustices and justices of the world.

And if there’s anything I love more, it’s being lectured about how to live my life by the standards set by celebrity millionaires.

How have we possibly managed to survive in life without the wise teachings of Hollywood up until this point? Thank you Gwyneth Paltrow for telling me how to lead a healthier and more fulfilling life amd to you Jenny McCarthy for knowing more about vaccinations than medical professionals.

Achieving some form of celebrity-like status doesn’t automatically grant total moral authority on social or political issues. Yet for some reason, our culture treats the rich and famous as incontrovertible savants whose wise and virtuous thoughts are the guiding light for us poor senseless common folk.

When the media takes the ramblings of a celebrity and presents it as the gospel truth, it sets a rather ridiculous notion that fame and fortune is of equal measure to respected intellect. You might be able to act your way out of a paper bag but that doesn’t necessarily mean your opinion on foreign affairs is superior to mine.

And sure, I get it, celebrities are people too, they pay taxes. They possess their own thoughts and beliefs and I completely support everyone freely expressing themselves accordingly. I’m not saying actors, musicians or athletes are incapable of saying anything thoughtful or intelligent nor am I denying the commendable philanthropic endeavours many celebrities have done and continue to do so.

The problem is the celebrity-obsessed culture we live in, where if you’ve reached a level of fame your words hold greater weight and value compared to those who haven’t.

And while celebrities continue to lecture us, they’ve established a “rules for thee, not for me” sense of being, where they can live whatever life they want but the rest of us in society somehow need to do better.

Take the environment for instance. I care very deeply about environmental issues and I believe that a lot of celebrities do as well. I don’t however care to be lectured about my carbon footprint by the very same people that fly in private jets, party on yachts and have personal chauffeurs.

I’m not trying to tell celebrities that they shouldn’t indulge in some of the more lavish things in life, because honestly, partying on a yacht or flying in a private plane does sound like a rather good time.

But perhaps they could just stop holding the torch of moral absolutism while acting as if the same rules don’t apply to them as they do for us.

At the end of the day celebrities are just people who are no grander or enlightened than anyone else. They only have as much power and influence as we give them and unfortunately, we give them plenty. We can’t blame anyone but ourselves, we can only stop listening to what they have to say.

But then again, why should you listen to me?

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