Celebrity Worship

Eamon Morris, Technical Editor

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In the digital era, it is not uncommon for someone to serial stalk their favorite celebrity on social media. But why? Surely there are reasons beyond talent and beauty. Would we really be so shallow-minded to venerate the rich and famous based solely on exterior traits?

Unfortunately, this appears to be the trend of late. Examples are bountiful, and celebrity worship is everywhere you turn. You only need to open up Instagram and peruse comments on recent celebrity posts to see declarations of undying love and adoration.

In fact, society worships celebrities so much that they are quick to forgive their every mistake. Many might remember Twitter user Sarah Thompson who famously tweeted “JUSTIN BIEBER I GOT HIT BY UR CAR TWICE TODAY BUT ITS OK BCUZ I LOVE U…”

But what is “love” of someone you do not know personally? In actuality, the fascination of fans with celebrities is closer to unhealthy obsession or addiction. Some celebrities are even so “adored” that their every move or decision is quickly replicated  by their fans.

Take star DJ Khaled for example. Recently, his Snapchat story has been vastly populated by photos of his “major keys” to success. This particular caption quickly spread among his thousands of followers rapidly, almost following the pattern of a plague. Now, Snapchat users only need to open the Snapchat app to see hundreds of stories dominated by the “major key” phrase.

The effortless brainwashing of fans by celebrities is not just limited to sayings or social media. Fashion and lifestyle choices are replicated as well. Even the very names of our idols are often taken for use as names for infants. Actor Liam Hemsworth recently made his breakthrough into the film industry, and it’s no coincidence that Liam was the number 3 name for males of 2015 according to Babycenter. In fact, one only has to scroll down the hundred name lists for boy and girl baby names to recognize many  names of the rich and famous.

Looking from a numbers perspective, it is clear that celebrities have armies of people hanging onto their every word. The renowned musical artist Beyonce has a whopping 57.5 million followers on Instagram. That number of people is larger than the relatively diminutive 39.1 million population of California according to InfoPlease. However, singer Taylor Swift gives Beyonce a run for her money, with 63.7 million followers. She has more followers than there are people in the country of Italy, which has 61.8 million people in it–also from InfoPlease. Servite High School has around 890 students in attendance which means that it would take around 70,000 Servite High Schools in order to come relatively close to the vast number of followers Taylor Swift has.

According to Wikipedia, the US Army had 1.4 million soldiers on active duty as of 2013. That number is tiny compared to the followings of many celebrities. Suppose a famous person such as Taylor Swift with many followers were to endorse a certain political view or encourage a government coup, it is quite possible that the United States Army could be overwhelmed by the sheer number of crazed Taylor Swift fans.

If celebrities don’t even need to try to start new trends or influence politics, what does this say for our government? Our political leaders have to actively struggle to achieve a following on political viewpoints, yet our social media leaders need only to lift a figure.

Kanye West recently announced his 2020 presidential election bid. With his massive following, it would probably be realistic to assume that other more qualified candidates would be overwhelmed by the massive number of Kanye fans.

If the rate of social media usage and the amount of fans celebrities have continue to go up, the American public can expect a future completely dominated by the rich and famous. The very people we adore and blindly follow may become the ones that control us, albeit subconsciously.  

If people continue to gaze starstruck at their favorite singers or actors, they may lose sight of what’s truly important, and in turn, lose what matters most.  

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