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Why Do People Slavishly Follow The Lives Of The Rich And Celebrated

Updated on September 8, 2013
gmwilliams profile image

Grace loves to write commentaries on psycho-cultural and sociocultural dynamics in their myriad forms.


For many people, the rich and famous represent gods and goddess with above average, often stratospheric lives.Many people feel that STARS are SPECIAL while they are just average Joes and Josephinas with nondescript lives.
For many people, the rich and famous represent gods and goddess with above average, often stratospheric lives.Many people feel that STARS are SPECIAL while they are just average Joes and Josephinas with nondescript lives.


Many people live vicariously through rich, powerful, and famous people.They are experiencing secondary power by watching such people.
Many people live vicariously through rich, powerful, and famous people.They are experiencing secondary power by watching such people.


Celebrity stalkers take worship of the rich and famous to an extremely dark and dangerous level.
Celebrity stalkers take worship of the rich and famous to an extremely dark and dangerous level.

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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    • gmwilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      2 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Au fait, thank you for stopping by and for your thoughtgul synopsis. It is great appreciated.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      2 years ago from North Texas

      I don't care about Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian. I'm not interested in Brad Pit's or Angelina Jolie's private lives. I don't care what the rich and famous are doing. Before they get respect from me I want to know where they got their money and what they're doing with it.

      Most of the wealthy (Walton family for example), get their money off the backs of the poor and working class. The don't pay reasonable wages, provide no benefits to employees, and taxpayers must subsidize their payrolls with food stamps and medicaid,because they're too cheap to pay a living wage. The last thing is that often the product or service is somewhere between bad and terrible. Oh, and many of them never pay any income taxes either. The people who can most afford to pay taxes get the lowest rates, loopholes, and deductions.

      Some of the wealthy agree that their taxes should be higher, and it gets them a lot of goodwill from some people when they admit that, but I think if they were sincere there is nothing stopping them from writing a check to the U.S. Treasury and mailing it in with an explanation that it is a donation. I believe it would be accepted, but none of them have done that yet.

      If people can't get their money by providing a service or product in an ethical way and don't give back to the community in accordance with their ability to do so, they get no respect from me. Anyone can be a thief or a liar and there's no honor in it that I know of. Of course one has to do it legally to get away with it. A lot of people do put these folks on pedestals and maybe that's because they don't think through how the wealthy actually got their money.

      I promise you, I have no admiration for people who do nothing but take, and usually from those who can least afford it. I have no issues with Paris or Kim. They aren't forcing people to watch them after all, and I would be surprised if they aren't contributing a lot to charity, but whether it's sufficient for their income is another question.

      You might be surprised at how many people can't think of anything to do on their own so they depend on other people to entertain them. And don't even mention the word work -- it's a 4-letter word. :)

      Some of the people you wrote about here clearly have serious mental disorders. People who imagine themselves in a relationship with a celebrity to where they actually believe it's real, and threaten the safety and lives of people, need to have a work up. I'm betting they get one when they're finally apprehended.

      A very thought provoking article!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      morals,values,integrity,education mean nothing in this country.if god punishes us for it..we deserve it.All that is needed for evil to florish is for good people to do nothing

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Also, it is typical for many women to worship a beautiful and or talented female celebrity but hate the woman they work with who resemble the celebrity unless that woman has more power than they do. Speaking from a female perspective, I've noticed that many women are very envious of each other and are threatened by beauty and talent. As long as the beautiful person is out of their reach they can aspire to be like them (they are safe to adore) but women they see every day are a different story. They don't live vicariously through these women and instead want to destroy them. I've listened to the most envious women speak kindly about a celebrity, praising her beauty and talent and it's like they are proud of themselves for admiring these out of reach people. They are saying, "See, I can show graciousness. See, I am not threatened". But when it comes to people in their daily lives, they sing a different tune. These people are too close for comfort and remind them of their flaws and imperfections and they want to smash them. I've noticed that the women who admire celebrities the most are the most envious of non-celebrities. The celebrity obsessed woman has decided that only certain women are allowed to be beautiful or talented or both with her blessings and it makes her feel generous and she places these celebrities on her shelf like collectibles.

    • gmwilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      7 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Thank you the bunco squad for your intelligent response. I am having an excellent morning, thank you. God bless you and I again thank you for your comments.

    • the bunco squad profile image

      the bunco squad 

      7 years ago from Savannah GA

      Good Morning G.M., It was wonderful to sit down, sip my coffee and read a professionally written hub like this one. You said, “By reading and watching the lives of rich and famous people, people are living vicariously through them.” which is funny because when I am asked why I don’t watch sports, or any of the reality T.V. shows my reply is that I don’t live out my life vicariously through others, I too am a information television junky. The History Channel, Discover, Etc. and I was an only child until my mother remarried when I was thirteen and I acquired five siblings. I am looking forward to reading the rest of your hubs.

    • profile image


      7 years ago from Dayton, ohio

      Your opening scenario reminded of one of my favorite poems, Richard Cory by Edwin Arlington Robinson.

      Personally I was never big on celebrity worship. F.Scott Fitzgerald said "The rich are different," Ernest Hemingway agreed, "Yes they are different, they got more money"!

      That is my take on it.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      The world is made for the rich and famous. If you dont have it, then your not real.

    • gmwilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      7 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      To Nan Mynatt: Thank you for your input and vote. Yes, it is good to be rich. Living today is very expensive and is getting more expensive each day. There is no such thing as the middle class anymore. My mother made a prophetic statement long ago. She stated that in the future, there is going to be the very rich or the very poor. How true that is.

      I concur with you that New York is a place of money. $100,000 per annum is considered middle class in New York. You are poverty stricken if you earn $50,000 per annum or less. Again, thank you for your input.

    • profile image

      Nan Mynatt 

      7 years ago

      Excellent article, and we all think the same. Why aren't we rich like the rich? I guess you need to find creative ways to earn money, or have a rich uncle or aunt. New York is a place of money and it takes a lot to live there. I marked you up.


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