Why Do People Slavishly Follow The Lives Of The Rich And Celebrated
WORSHIP OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS, THE NEW RELIGION
THE OTHER SIDE OF WORSHIP-OBSESSION
The Idolization of the Rich and Famous
A scenario: It is a beautiful summer day at New York City's Park Avenue. A tall beautiful woman dressed in the finest natural linen dress designed by a renowned fashion designer walks by you carrying her dog. She leaves her Park Avenue apartment complex and orders the doorman to hail her a cab. You breathlessly watch her, thinking how lucky she is in terms of money and looks. You are just an average Josephina working at a job as a customer service representative for some bank somewhere in Midtown New York City.
You are on an extended lunch break on your way to shopping at the sales rack at Lord and Taylors. You hate your life and living from paycheck to paycheck. You are not particularly beautiful but neither are you particularly ugly. You are somewhere in between. At this point, you are not feeling good about yourself. You think about that rich, beautiful woman, cursing your lot in life. You further study and watch the sophisticated, wealthy good looking people around you and wish that you were them.
Yes, we worship the rich and famous because they are glamorous and represent something that we are not. The rich and famous symbolize fantasy and sophistication. In the 1980s, many shows, fictional and documentaries, were produced about rich and famous people. People followed shows such as Dynasty, . . Furthermore, they represent "the other".
Rich and famous people have always been a source of fascination and awe. To many people, the rich and famous live fantastic lives, free of the everyday concerns that the average person faces. It is the common perception that rich and famous people have it easy and never have to worry about minute day to day issues. They can have anything and everything they want for the asking. They live in a rarefied, stratospheric world that most people only have an inkling of.
Today, there is such a plethora of magazines and television programs discussing and detailing the lives of the rich and famous. People are very curious about rich people and celebrities and want to know every detail about their public and innermost lives. By reading and watching the lives of rich and famous people, people are living vicariously through them. Temporarily average, mundane lives are transformed into glamorous, exotic lives. Now you are a star if only momentarily. You are no longer Joe Brown but someone spectacular.
People are so fascinated with the rich and famous that they want to copy their lifestyle down to their fashion sense. Many stores now have designers designing clothing, accessories, and toiletries with the premise if a person wears those items, he/she feels that he/she is a celebrity. It is apparent that not many people are content with their personas and every day lives. They displace their desires on the rich and famous as they represent elan, elegance, and sophisticate while they consider themselves to be the hoi polloi. Oftentimes, people go into debt as a result of emulating the rich and famous.
There are some people who take idolization of the rich and famous to the dangerous level of obsession. There are known cases of celebrity stalkers such as William Lepeska who believed that Anna Kournikova, tennis player, was his lover and followed her until he was caught; Dawnette Knight who became obsessed with actor Michael Douglas, threatening to cut up his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones and feed her to the dogs because Ms. Zeta-Jones was viewed as a threat to her "relationship" with Mr. Douglas; Jack Jordan who sent actress Uma Thurman sexually suggestive cards and threatened her; and Margaret Mary Ray who wanted to be night show host David Letterman's lover and even broke into his mansion; however, she eventually committed suicide. These mentally challenged people believed that by being with a celebrity, they would be worthy instead of being worthless.
Modern society idolizes the rich and famous more than they do highly educated people. There are many children and adolescents today who yearn to be celebrities because the lifestyle represents glamour, riches, and having many people worship you. These are the same children and adolescents who scoff at being highly educated and obtaining a professional career. It is their reasoning that why obtain a higher education when celebrities makes a thousand times more money than an average professional. This reasoning is especially rife in the inner cities where youth worship the rap stars and basketball players.
Many people elect not to be proactive regarding changing their lives if they wish to become more affluent. They are just content with the way things are, reasoning that they are just average and they will never be more successful and/or affluent. Instead of furthering their education in order to obtain that dream job, they look at a rich person or a celebrity, believing for a second that they are him/her. By using the transferal mechanism, temporarily they are no longer poor , anonymous, and powerless.
For example, there are people who worship Oprah Winfrey. They are religiously devoted to her talk shows and devour everything she says. Ms. Winfrey has an immense following. Yes, she is a very powerful woman and when she puts her imprimatur on a product and/or on book, people rush to purchase the product. Yes, the rich and famous are also representatives of power. Money does talk. If you are rich, chances are that you are also powerful too. If a rich person is not nationally or internationally famous, he/she is powerful within his/her circle and associates.
Power is an incredible thing to have. The average person believes that he/she is powerless and does not matter. As a result of this thinking, they attach all their personas to anyone rich or who is a celebrity in order to capture the feeling of being powerful.
In conclusion, the rich and famous have always been a source of fascination and awe. They represent things that the average person believes that he/she is not. The rich and famous represent glamor, money, and infinite power. They can do and say things that the average person can only wish they can do. By idolizing the rich and famous, the average person leaves himself/herself temporarily and becomes rich and famous if only in fantasy.
© 2011 Grace Marguerite Williams
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