I used to watch TMZ – a lot. Like every day. Some days, I would even watch TMZ Live. Why did I watch it so much? It was addicting in many ways. I finally weaned myself off of the show, but it made me wonder why we are so obsessed with celebrities? The word itself makes you think of flashing cameras, expensive jewelry and more money than anyone could ever actually need. It also brings to mind images of people being chased by photographers and fans, often more than what could be considered respectable or comfortable. Which is basically what TMZ is. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. But the point is that people are paid to follow celebrities around and take their pictures.
Which clearly describes the fact that society is obsessed with celebrities. Everyone has a different reason, but my question is – why do we all feel personally invested in celebrities? I’m drawing into the far reaches of my brain to even think if I’ve ever met a celebrity. The answer is yes, but the fact that I can’t remember who or when tells me that it isn’t that important to me. But it once was.
So why are we obsessed with celebrities? Well, in some cases, they make us feel better. For example, if we see a celebrity who can’t stay in a relationship very long, it makes us feel good about the fact that our own relationship is barely hanging on by a thread. If Brad and Angelina can’t make it work, how am I expected to make my boyfriend happy? Or maybe you’ve hit a rough patch in your life and you just can’t get yourself together? Well, at least you’re not going to rehab! All of these things are awful, but if we’re feeling bad about ourselves, this will definitely make us feel better.
I opened this post talking about TMZ. And I was serious when I said that I didn’t mean disrespect to them or the work that they do. But it’s a bit of a chicken and the egg type scenario. So much of our culture has been built around celebrities. And until the internet age, we didn’t have much exposure to them – unless you read Tiger Beat (which is still a thing, apparently). My point is without shows like TMZ, we wouldn’t know what’s happening with Kylie Jenner. But without shows like TMZ, wanting to know what’s happening with Kylie Jenner wouldn’t be a concern. Because it wouldn’t be part of our culture.
On the flipside of that, celebrities, in some cases (and this isn’t a blanket statement) make themselves part of our culture. I recently watched an interview where Kim Kardashian said that before she married Kanye and settled down, her goal was to go places where she could be seen or get photographed. If she wasn’t getting her picture taken, then she wasn’t famous. So it can definitely go both ways. Social media makes it feel like we are part of their lives, but the truth is, they’re average people who get paid a ton of money to do the things that we wish we could do also.