Celebrities shouldn’t be role models

Daily O’Collegian (Oklahoma State U.) 11/20/2002

(U-WIRE) STILLWATER, Okla. – Why are celebrities so fascinating? Is it the way they look and act, the way they remain “cool” and “down to earth” after the knowledge that literally millions of people know who they are? Or could it be that it’s human nature to be jealous of those who have more. More money, more power, more recognition, more charisma, more talent-just more. These could be reasons why humans see celebrities as role models and living idols, but at times it seems unwarranted, because-let’s face it-celebrities are weird. Example: Michael Jackson. I know that citing the self-proclaimed “King of Pop” as weird and eccentric is cliche, since he’s been the poster boy for the off-kilter for a while, but there’s a new reason to cite him as an example.
CNN.com reported, “Michael Jackson dangles baby out window.” Apparently, Jackson was at his hotel in Berlin, where he held a baby off the balcony for a little while.
But does it really matter? There are two things wrong with the picture. One, Jackson should not have held a baby over the balcony like that. The baby is fine, we hope, but it was still a bit too risky, and in front of the press it was downright idiotic. Maybe Jackson was trying to get attention, but it’s probably more that he, and other celebrities, are just pretty weird. There are numerous reasons for the actions of celebrities. Maybe the stress of being in the public eye drives people deep into cycles of reclusion and paranoia that branch into eccentricity and weird behavior.
This is OK, but there are too many instances where the power and the behavior go much too far. Winona Ryder and her stealing hands, Pee Wee Herman with … umm … his busy hands, R. Kelly with his 14-year olds. All are examples that celebrities can go too far and make bad role models.
But the problem isn’t totally their behavior; it’s the fact that they are considered role models for merely putting on makeup, singing a song or portraying a character on a worldwide stage.
So don’t look toward celebrities for role models in life. Look up to their careers and to your favorite characters as inspiration.
But, don’t confuse the actor with the role. It’s not fair to people that have too much stress in their lives. The stress isn’t an excuse for inappropriate behavior. There is no reason that role models must be restricted to celebrity status.

November 22, 2002


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