Be obsessed: stop putting people on pedestals

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I don’t get it.  I just don’t.  I never have. Maybe I never will.

I don’t understand the fascination with celebrities.  Growing up in Southern California, but more than 60 miles from Hollywood and Rodeo Drive, I didn’t come across celebrities in my every day life.  In fact, I had seen very few while living there, considering how many chances I may have had.  I asked Joe Montana if her was “Joe Montana” while we stood in line for a line at Disneyland. Most 10-year-old girls didn’t know who Joe Montana is to begin with, so that in itself should have impressed him, right?  He denied being who he was, but I know it was him.  In college, I also stood behind Judd Nelson as we got on the escalator, leaving a LA Clippers basketball game.  My husband and I also saw one of the actors from “L.A. Law” (which was a big hit in the late 80’s) while on our honeymoon.

But I never met Madonna,  Tom Selleck, or Janet Jackson while living there.  (Hint: would be totally cool if that happened today, though.)

Why do we give celebrities such elevated status?  Why are their lives more important than the veteran’s who lives out of a cardboard box just blocks over from a million dollar mansion?  Why does their vacation matter to a single mom with three kids, barely making ends meet? Is it because we don’t want to feel connected to someone we actually might meet?  Is the allure of anonymity  so intriguing that we can’t help but be drawn to the pedestal we have placed these normal, hard-working, people on how we define our own lives?

mom and daughter
Courtesy of Dia German

Maybe the fascination is because of the lifestyle that most of us will never see in our lifetimes.  Maybe it is the entourage that comes with every appearance and the phrase of “my people will call your people.”  Maybe it is the screaming fans that seem to be everywhere.

Like everyone else, I mourn the loss of the celebrities like Princess Diana, Whitney Houston, and Heath Ledger and get excited when a new baby arrives or someone gets married.

So, I have to ask myself…have we become obsessed about the wrong things?

Here is the reality.  We are all people.  Even celebrities have a life to live.  Great things happen to us and we even make mistakes.  Every one of us.  Whether we have influence in our particular industry, are splattered on every late-night talk show as we near the release of a brand new movie, or even when our divorce seems to be “trending.” Seriously?  A divorce between two people is “trending” on Twitter?

(Speaking of celebrity divorce, I am not sure what happened this week, but if June is the month for weddings, August must be the month to announce two people are going their separate ways…for whatever reason.)

I still don’t get it.

I don’t know these people personally and I want to respect their privacy as people, not because they are worth more than I will ever make in a lifetime.  Isn’t that what we all want…to be looked at as a person and not a persona?

If I am going to be obsessed about something that actually matters, shouldn’t I be obsessed about how that homeless veteran is going to stay warm for the winter and how that single mom is going to buy school supplies for her three children?

Pamela Wilson

Is it just a fascination?  Maybe.  But it becomes obsessive when we pay more attention to the life of a celebrity than our own life or the one just down the street.  At best, we will always be just one step away from the “Red Carpet” and an arm’s length from standing next to our favorite star.

Yet we feel drawn to know about their lives, feeling connected if only through the latest issue of “People” or whatever TMZ shows us.  Why can’t we pay that much attention to the people we can actually make a difference with and impact lives in ways that just won’t make the latest episode of “Access Hollywood?”

Don’t get me wrong — the life of every person matters.  That includes my life and your life.  When will our obsession begin with the ONE life we actually can impact most?  When will giving of our time and skills make a difference in the life of another?  When will the star you find yourself next to on a plane be treated just like everyone else?

A friend of mine was introduced to a musician named Eddie and when she asked what he did, she was given a quizzical look by “Eddie” and the person introducing them…they both figured that my friend would recognize him right away.  Not that I could tell you what Eddie Money looks like now either.

Harrison Ford is just a guy just like P!nk is just a girl.  People.  Just people.  Look around the corner…there are people there too.  Become fascinated with them.  I bet they have some pretty great stories to tell too.  Maybe even a story that will do more than put fans in the theater seats or in the convention center for the latest concert…maybe a story that changes you in ways you never could have imagined.

Now, that’s an obsession.

Michelle A. Homme 2015 ©


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