Student Life Archives (2001-2008)

Celebrity voyeurism! You know you’re interested

The topic is irresistible: at the very least, it got enough of your attention to make you read part of this column. At the very most, it is an international phenomenon. People crave the newest and dirtiest information available on their favorite famous people as tabloids virtually fly off the racks at gas stations and grocery stores everywhere. Something about the private lives of celebrities makes people ravenous to know more. How disappointed would you be if this were an article with a flashy title that had nothing to do with celebrity voyeurism? Luckily for you, it does.

I figure there are two sides to this issue: either for or against. I hear some people say that we have no reason to pry into the lives of others, that relentless picture-taking and constant monitoring are a breach of an individual’s right to live life unmolested. These same people seem to think that three magazines (Star Magazine, People and Us Weekly) in the top 100 most-circulated publications in America are sleazy for their portrayal of other people’s calamities. However, the biggest argument against celebrity observation is that it marks a downfall in our country’s collective intellect: that such information serves no purpose but to cheaply entertain. I, for one, have to wholeheartedly disagree.

To start, the entertainment value of ruined celebrities is infinite. Thanks to the many paparazzi in the world, we get to watch as people with perfect lives destroy themselves on a weekly basis. How would I like it if there were cameramen around me at all times ready to take pictures of my most vulnerable moments? Well, I wouldn’t like it all, but neither would you. Sure, there would be some embarrassing photos of me passed out after a taco binge, bloated and dribbling nacho cheese from my mouth down the front of my shirt, but who cares? It is not interesting watching someone at the bottom (like me) stay at the bottom; we need the drama of people at the top who insist on toppling all the way down past our own standards of dignity. We got to watch, over the last three decades, every step of the way as Michael Jackson, King of Pop, devolved into Michael Jackson, creepy alien-looking dude with a child molestation fetish. Creepy and sleazy? Possibly, but also endlessly entertaining.

Celebrity voyeurism isn’t just fun, it’s healthy. If doctored pictures of supermodels in magazines create impossible standards of beauty for women and men such that we all have personal image issues, then tabloid photos serve the opposite purpose. An always-popular part of these magazines are the celebrities without makeup pictures. Paparazzi all over Los Angeles try to take the most hideous pictures of people who are popularly considered the most gorgeous in the world, and it feels great (take that Christina Applegate, not so pretty now without your army of makeup artists are you?). It makes me think that, with a little professional makeup and movie magic, anyone (other than a person who has had a fire put out on their face with the help of a pitchfork) could be the next hottest thing in Hollywood.

Most importantly, we are doing a service to the world by keeping a vigilant eye on our famous people. Celebrities are normal people who have been driven insane by limitless wealth, admiration and power, but they still have normal life issues with which to deal. For example, there was the video of Britney Spears, holding her baby like a loaf of bread, almost dropping him headfirst on the cement and then acting like nothing happened. Thanks to our watchful coverage, Britney’s kids are where they belong: in the hands of someone else. Famous people are crazy, and if there weren’t a system of checks and balances, they would be allowed to roam the world with millions of dollars, wreaking havoc everywhere.

Is celebrity voyeurism the downfall of intelligent society or the most noble and enlightening thing ever to happen to human culture? It is hard to say, really, but I do know that together we can make the world a better place by raising people to the height of stardom and then knocking them down again until we feel good enough about ourselves to continue with our own lives.

So, for your entertainment, your personal health and the safety and well-being of your fellow man, know the intimate details of your celebrities.

Christian is a senior in Arts & Sciences and a Forum editor. He can be reached via e-mail at [email protected].

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