The Cult Of CelebrityWritten by Virginia Bola, PsyD
Every day, we are privy to new and ever more lurid details of Michael Jackson's strange lifestyle. We always knew he lived in a fairy tale world where he honestly believed that he was white and mainstream and emotionally healthy. Whether his peccadillos were as innocent as he maintains is for jury to decide but regardless of whether he is guilty as accused, his behavior certainly never even remotely exhibited any level of maturity or ability to make rational decisions beyond "I want it now" level of a young child. And yet, daily, his "fans" turn out to support him, even fainting in courtroom, overwhelmed by stress of their idol under siege.
What is it about fame and celebrity that so grips us? Do we have no real life of our own? We live vicariously through our hero's existence and eradicate our own individuality to become simply a follower/
Would trial of a no-name alleged child molester pack a courtroom? Of course not. The Jackson trial is important, and constantly reported, because of a famous name. Too many of us confuse fame that outwardly attached to rock stars, movie stars, royalty stars, sport stars, and political stars, with inner character of individual who bears name. We see fašade painstakingly erected by legions of public relations specialists and image consultants and think that we are seeing something real. We cannot believe that dark underside really exists because we "know Michael" (or Kobe, or O.J.) and "he wouldn't do anything like that."
Scott Peterson was recently convicted of double murder. Whether he really committed crimes is beside point -- in his trial he was indisputably revealed as a self-centered, immature philanderer with morals of a sewer rat. Yet his first week on death row generated 85 letters per day, mainly from women, several offering proposals of marriage!
Eye For Sale, By OwnerWritten by Virginia Bola, PsyD
A wire service report this week showed a single mother in Bangladesh who had advertised to sell one of her eyes to buy food for her starving daughter.
Try to think about that without your blood running cold: human beings selling parts of themselves as a final act of desperation. And that woman is only one of hundreds of thousands who are slowly starving to death each day.
What happened to concert fundraisers for Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Sub-Saharan Africa? Have we exhausted our capacity to care and to give? Have we become numb to plight of millions because problems are so overwhelming that we don't know where to start?