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Should We Feel Sorry For Celebrities?

Updated on July 21, 2009

With all the continued information and coverage about Michael Jackson I find that a lot of his strangeness seems to be getting washed clean in death. You know, like the male politicians and religious leaders who get caught cheating (sometimes with male prostitutes) and then through asking God’s forgiveness publicly they suddenly are good to go. Like a nice day at the spa or getting your car’s engine steam cleaned they are healed and revived. And yet, it can’t be easy to be in the public eye, right? So my question to all of you is should we feel sorry for celebrities? – Don’t Get Me Started!

My initial feeling is that we should have no more sympathy for a celebrity than for anyone else we don’t know. It always fascinates me how wrapped up people get in the celebrities whom they don’t even know. In the case of the Michael Jackson death I have friends who have admitted watching every single show and tribute that has been on every channel (Tivoing the shows that overlap another Jackson show they’re watching so they don’t miss anything). And while I understand that his music is to many (myself included) the soundtrack of their lives, still I never had lunch with the man and really didn’t know him so while I’m sad a talented artist is gone, I will not fill up my Tivo with everything Jackson. I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t feel badly that his father used to beat him when he didn’t perform up to his father’s expectations but there are millions of people who have been abused and have had difficult relationships to maneuver through with their family, right? One friend chastised me for my opinion by saying, “Can you even imagine being in the public eye from the time you were four? How would you like it?” Well the truth is I would have loved it and in fact I used to practice all of this in my room so that I was ready for the fame (which we of course all know, never came) just in case I did get famous. So sure I may listen to the Off The Wall album that has been sitting on my iPod for months un-played a little more often but on the whole, there will be no taking days off of work due to my grief, I will not create a sequined glove to wear and I will not even post a comment on the many blogs that have come online since the Jackson death. No, I think I’ll just sit this dance out and watch everyone else as they focus on someone they don’t know to the point of missing out on their own lives and/or paying attention to the people in their lives.

But what I’m really talking about are celebrities who are still alive. Should we feel badly that Jessica Simpson got dumped? How many women out there are getting dumped every day? (And men for that matter) To me, the celebrities aren’t more important, they just get more attention. And while we’re on the subject of attention, isn’t that what they became celebrities for, to get attention? I don’t know of one of these people who didn’t at some point want and/or crave to be famous. The fact that the fame didn’t come with everything they thought that it would is the same as some of us thinking we were going to grow up to have a spouse and family and when we got all of that we heard the old Peggy Lee song, “Is that all there is?” playing over and over again in our heads. Whatever the fantasy we’ve created in our own heads, most likely no matter what comes our way it will fall short of our expectations (sometimes a little and sometimes a lot) in some way or another.

Now I need to go on record that I think it’s strange and awful when celebrities are hounded so much by paparazzi that they can’t even walk down the street but once again they wanted fame and as my grandmother used to say, “You asked for it, you got it, Toyota!” So whether you’re John and Kate (with or without your eight) or you’re Paris Hilton, please don’t tell me how awful your fame is because there are parts of it that annoy you but you get a lot of advantages too. I own cats and it annoys me that I have to take them to the vet but no one is going to allow me to be hospitalized for “complete exhaustion” because I took on a responsibility and now there are certain aspects of it that are less than a ball of fun for me.

Fame, just like any other job comes with perks and responsibilities so accept it all knowing you’re not going to like all of it that all of it isn’t going to be easy but hopefully you will (like most people) have more good times than bad times. But please don’t ask me to feel sorry for you because you still have it pretty good. You can get that table at that restaurant that an average Joe can’t, you can lavish your family and friends with gifts, fly them to a specialist if they’re ill and a lot of doors are opened for you that aren’t opened for the rest of us. So the next time you want to feel sorry for Michael Jackson I ask that instead you feel sorry for all the artists who didn’t get the breaks of Michael Jackson who were geniuses too but we never heard their music because they didn’t have a pushy father or a record label deal or any of the other things he had at a very early age. Artists who may have worked at a job they hated every day just to survive because the right people didn’t get a chance to discover them and make them famous. Artists who died without a gold coffin or a star studded tribute show on a major network. Should we feel sorry for celebrities? – Don’t Get Me Started!

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