You might have guessed Twitter increased its character count to 280 the other day. Well, you wanna know what the celebrities are saying? ‘Cause they definitely have a response you need to hear right this second:
Wow, Stephen Colbert quoted Shakespeare. Influential! Miss Piggy said “moi” over and over again. Hilarious! Stephen King told Twitter to “fuck that”. Wow!
You’ve just heard the United States has had another mass shooting. Who do you turn to? The police? The President? God forbid, the victims? Heck no—We want to know what the celebrities think:
We get it: people like to read about celebrities. In the age of social media, it’s oh-so-easy to hear about your favorite celebrities’ opinions on gun control or Twitter changes, and you get to see it in 280 characters or less.
There’s a problem with this. For one, it leads to lazy reporting. Most of the aforementioned articles just embed celebrity tweets into their “articles”, add a couple of words, and hit “publish”. Is this the Buzzfeed age of journalism?
Secondly, it overrates the value of Hollywood celebrities in our society. No wonder these people have such an aggrandized view of the world when all they hear is people asking them opinions about issues that don’t even involve them. They have an over-inflated view of themselves. And it shows.
Ever wondered why someone like alleged rapist and pedophile Kevin Spacey has so much influence? Well, guess what? You’ve allowed him the prestige of thinking he’s above everyone else. Why would Kevin Spacey think he’s a bad person when you have—shivers—Donald Trump? Back in June, Kevin Spacey appeared at the Cannes Film Festival and accused Trump of being a disease. Naturally, he was applauded by almost everybody. Naturally, Spacey likely believed his own “indiscretions” had nothing on the disease that he considered Donald Trump.
What they don’t realize is most people outside of California don’t have a care in the world about celebrities—unless they’re watching a movie or TV show, checking out IMDb while watching a movie or TV show, or quickly perusing a gossip magazine while in the queue at the supermarket. For the most part, these Hollywood A-listers have almost no impact on our daily lives. If you live in or near Hollywood, you may have a different opinion, as this sort of stuff saturates your everyday life, but for the rest of us…nope.
So why do we place such a huge emphasis on celebrities, instead of, say, activists, emergency workers, teachers, and other people who are actually doing important work? Well, for one, it provides a distraction. Why focus on the actual policies of Donald Trump when you can just hear Colbert, DeGeneres, or the cast of SNL complaining about Trump’s terrible fake tan? Why focus on these celebrities’ misdemeanors (such as their seemingly rampant sexual abuse, their shoveling of money into offshore bank accounts and the like), when we can just hear them complaining about people we don’t like?
First and foremost, many of these A-listers are actors. A lot of them are pretty damn good actors too. What that means is they’re professional liars. Most people will never get to see the real version of these people. This makes it incredibly simple for said celebrities to project whatever image of themselves they want onto the world. What we hear from them has been specifically molded by teams of PR people, stylists, and other staff. We allow them this because they say stuff we like, or stuff that has been pre-approved by the press for us to like.
The entertainment industry is an industry for a reason, and they’re hiding the bad stuff their members have done for a reason: They want our money, our time, and they want us to buy their product. If that means covering up Kevin Spacey or Harvey Weinstein’s misdeeds for decades, or the countless other misbehaving stars, then so be it. They don’t care about bad behavior among their own unless it directly affects product.
Hollywood celebrities have a lot of influence, and we know it. That’s why we go and see movies by certain stars, or vote a certain way or buy a certain product because the advertisement with our favorite star told us to.
However, with the current Hollywood sexual abuse scandal, some of this influence is waning. Sure, some outed celebrities may be replaced with newer, controversy-free ones, but the industry is falling, all the same. This is why you’ll always see how celebrities react to something after it happens: they wish to remain relevant. And it seems to be working, doesn’t it?
Now, I wonder what J.K Rowling, Ryan Reynolds and Jennifer Lawrence have to say about this?