It was recently pointed out to me (via my Wall on Facebook) that I failed to keep my word and have a new post by the end of last week. I actually knew this already but just haven’t had the time to do anything about it till today. I apologize for the delay.
Now, today’s post obviously isn’t the one that’s been on my mind forever but I don’t have my notebook with me for the other post so I’ll work on this one first.
Anybody who knows me knows that I’m really not into pop culture. I honestly couldn’t care less about celebrity gossip. But I have to admit that when we printed the story (to read it on our site, you need a password but since it’s an AP story it’s available on other publications) about Michael Phelps being photographed with a bong, I was intrigued. (Holy crap, that’s a lot of links for one paragraph…sorry).
Since the photo was made public, there’s been a great big hullabaloo about Phelps being a role model and should think about the consequences of his actions, etc.
This got me thinking about celebrities in general and how this country sensationalizes every little aspect of their lives. A lot of people would say that because they’re constantly in the public eye, celebrities need to be mindful of their actions. But then other people would say that they have a right to live their lives how they want to since it’s their life. It’s like the chicken/egg debate. Personally, I can see both sides and honestly don’t know where I stand (I started arguing one side but then wanted to do the other side and ended up just deleting it all).
Despite being on the fence about this debate, you’ve got to admit that some of these stories are really sad. I mean, there’s people checking in and out of rehab, getting pregnant or getting somebody else pregnant, getting DUIs, etc. And they’re all around my age. Or sometimes younger!!! I hear about these things and the first thing that comes to mind (after “What the fuck is wrong with these people?!”) is “Where are their parents?” Honestly, who is raising these people?
And yes, I know that being a celebrity means you’re exposed to a lot of different things and you’re (unfortunately) granted some leeway if you’re caught. But I believe if you’re head’s screwed on right, you’ll make, if not good, then at least decent choices and you can avoid rehab, jail time, unplanned offspring or even all three.
I know it seems like I’m celebrity bashing and I’ll admit I can go on for ages about this, but not everybody whose life takes a dive as a result of their fame is doomed. Look at Drew Barrymore and Robert Downey Jr. Both actors bounced back from their drug issues and are (in my mind, at least) very talented and A-list celebrities.
And then, there are young celebrities who seem to maintain a pretty low-key life. Amanda Bynes has been in the business since she was a child but she seems like a normal girl. Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson grew up in the limelight as a result of their work on the Harry Potter films but they’ve yet to make tabloid headlines. Both British actors discuss this in recent interviews (click here for Radcliffe’s and here for Watson’s).
I think Radcliffe says it the best:
There hasn’t been such a loss of innocence in my own life. There’s nothing more fun than being a 13-year-old kid on a film set. It’s fantastic. But that’s the difference between star systems in America and England. Kids stars in America are treated like stars first and kids second. But in England you’re just treated like a kid. You’re always being told don’t get too big for your boots. That’s why I’ve been able to maintain a relatively level head through it all.
Maybe we Americans can learn something from Mother England. Sure, she may have wronged us back then, but nowadays, it looks like she’s doing at least a few things right.