Hear me out. We DO need artists. We also need entertainers. And we desperately need public figures (see also my hot take on how monarchy isn’t celebrity for other reading).
But those are people who make, do, engage, organize, communicate, and create.
Celebrity as an isolated concept – being famous – has never been more useless. Instagram influencers prompting us to buy things we can’t afford or enjoy lifestyles we don’t have – have never been less relevant.
To be clear some famous people are clearly adding value to other people’s lives right now and some of that value is purely frivolous. I’m all for it. Laughing, crying, thinking, or distraction absolutely have important roles to play, especially when for so many our inner lives have never been so important. There are many celebrities/famous people who offer this to us, but there are an awful lot who don’t.
I am all for Rhianna being more effective than whole governments in her philanthropy (see here, here and here for just a few examples) AND for Leslie Jordan twirling batons and humorously documenting his life. I delight in musicians streaming sets and impromptu concerts for their fans, I cringe at actors singing to us from their mansions.
Being famous is (finally) being revealed as fundamentally useless. Twitter followers and Instagram likes are not real people and are a trivial replacement for human interaction. What do you do with talent? How do you use your voice? How do you choose NOT to use it – which can be just as important. What purpose do you serve – no matter how grand or trivial?
Just existing isn’t enough.
Fight me. Or change my mind. Whatever. I just want to talk to people – beyond my husband who has heard all of my rants already.
2 thoughts on “COVID Hot Take: We Don’t Need Celebrities”
It seems clear that the COVID experience – fear, isolation, lockdown – will have lasting effects on us as individuals and as societies. Having limited time IRL means we have been having to turn to ourselves and those closest to us. Some retail therapy is still needed, but given the risks, buying things to emulate famous people is going lower on the priority list, and we are finding that they don’t really have much to say that helps us. Fauci has gained some unexpected celebrity status, but we turn to people in media who can give us information, not style. I believe many of us are seriously taking stock of what is important.
I agree, hope this trend continues.