Wednesday, September 9, 2009

August 2009

essay piece originally published in August 2009:

The thing that has been on the edge of my thoughts lately is something I know I've touched on before, but it keeps coming up so I feel like talking about it again. I've been working an overnight shift at Walmart lately and it's been quite good for me to have a less stressful job and do some more physically demanding work. Like any good mass market retailer they have magazines lining the registers hoping for a quick sale on this week's news. It's these things that really get to me. If I'm not seeing the latest scoop on someone's love life or lack thereof, it's someone's divorce or worse, capitalizing on a recent death. Our culture is so completely and totally obsessed with the lives of a few people that I don't think most even realize how much it invades every corner of their lives.

We read magazine articles, watch interviews and exposes, trade rumors and gossip, and then wonder why celebrities are such a big deal. Well we made them that way! We delight in raising these few people up on a pedestal because of some talent that they have been blessed with (amazing singer, phenomenal actor, etc.), or in some cases because of the number of children they've been given or the type of work or life situation that they're in. We exalt these people...dare I say it...even worship these people....and then we cast them down when they act in a manner less than the godhood we've raised them to. Here's a question for you: What did you expect? Human beings acting humanly. And we're surprised? Is it any wonder that some of these people can't hold a relationship together or lash out at someone during their work day? We have set standards so impossibly high for people who have garnered even a minute amount of fame that they are inevitably going to crash and burn. We stick cameras in their faces and video even the most intimate moments of their lives and yet we're surprised when they crack and break down. We expect these folks to be role models or examples but put them in situations where making the selfless choice is all but impossible. And to reemphasize: they are human beings. They are going to act like it. They're going to make selfish choices, self destructive choices, and more, because that's what we all do sometimes. We're Human.

Maybe it's more than just that. Perhaps, in an even more devious way, we like to watch them fall. We like to see them make the bad choices. We enjoy the painful divorces and tabloid trysts. We like to watch our celebrities fail. Why? Because that means we don't have to focus on our own bad choices. We don't have to worry about the fact that we can't go to a party without mixing in some cocaine and alcohol because so and so celebrity is going into rehab for the tenth time after another wild night. We don't have to think about how many people we're sleeping around with because this celebrity has a different girlfriend every other day. We don't have to think about how horribly we're treating each other in our marriages because that husband and wife with the 8 kids is tearing each other to shreds in their divorce.

We don't have to think about how broken our own lives are because we can just shut it all out and focus on some other person we don't even know and heap all of our praise and love upon them...and then in turn our scorn and degradation. When did our lives become so small that they seem boring by comparison? When did we become less than those that we idolize? When did they become so important?

I'm not saying that we shouldn't enjoy the entertainment that these folks bring to us, be it through music, movies, comedy, television, or any other medium. What I am saying is that we need to start remembering that every one of them is just as human as you and me and we should stop elevating them to a higher status. We should stop reveling in all of their brokenness. What if it was your wild party night where you had made some lapses in judgment plastered across all of the magazines? What if it was your painful break up or divorce in the headlines? All of a sudden it doesn't seem like an article you want to read does it...

That's all for now....Love God, Love others, love yourself.....

see you where the sidewalk ends....

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