In these days of ever growing secularism, the desire to believe in something has become less about the spiritual and more about the need to worship earthly mortals. I’m talking, of course, about The Kardashians. Celebrity culture has all but consumed the majority of the population and continues to do so. Internet access is ubiquitous and the ability to see what your favourite celeb had for breakfast via Twitter is readily available. For some it seems knowing that Miley Cyrus likes the colour pink is as essential as a morning cup of coffee.
I admit to having these guilty pleasures. TOWIE is as important to me as the six o’ clock news, though I am well aware of the power and self importance I am bestowing on those who are famous for being privileged and really don’t need their egos inflated any more than they already are. I read Heat magazine weekly and adore a good celebrity scandal. For me Britney was better after she went crazy.
But that’s normal. That is the basic premise of celebrity. What is not normal is for Justin Bieber fans to urge each other to cut themselves in protest over his
marijuana smoking antics. Or for One Directioners to send Taylor Swift death threats after she broke up with Harry Styles. This sort of behaviour is reminiscent of religious cults. The younger generation is taking hero worship to a whole new level which is damaging to both their health and morals. Young girls who see Rihanna as the messiah could believe that a trip to Tesco’s in a crotchless leather ensemble is entirely appropriate.
Historically, worship has involved the paying of deference to a higher power; now it seems that sex, violence and drug abuse have become the new commandments to be followed.
I am not saying that all celebrity idolisation is a bad thing. There are celebs who use their influence to inspire their fans to ‘do the right thing’. Being a fan allows you to be a part of something. It allows you to meet others with the same beliefs and interests. It can unite people; remember Freddy Mercury at Live Aid? Hundreds of thousands of people, clapping in sync, to Radio Gaga. That was a time when celebrities inspired people to create change. Queen did that, as did David Beckham’s goal against Greece in 2002. The whole nation united in bedlam over one man’s right foot.
I love celebrities. I envy them their success, fame and money and I am still fascinated by their seemingly crazy lives. Why wouldn’t I be? The thing that gives me cause for concern is the levels at which fans are prepared to go to prove that they are worthy of their idols. Cain and Abel grew crops and slaughtered goats for God (then one of them murdered the other but that’s beside the point). Selena Gomez gets to be worshipped by a stalker. The excessive levels of worship is detrimental not only to fans but also celebrities.