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Opinion

Celebrities’ status may not be deserved, but they do deserve our sympathy

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November 1, 2007

The most common way to define a celebrity is to say that the individual is in the state or quality of being widely honored and acclaimed. Let me repeat: HONORED and ACCLAIMED. Now try to convince me why half of our society’s “celebrities” are considered celebrities. Do some of them truly deserve such an impressive title?

No, not really. Ideally, all celebrities would be intelligent, highly talented and beautiful. However, it seems that the lack of these qualities is what makes some of our celebrities so famous. I recently managed to scrounge up a little sympathy for celebrities—those who are worthy of the label and those who are not.

I stumbled upon a Web site called celebritymorgue.com. The main page offers a list of links to celebrities such as John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Kurt Cobain and Tupac Shakur. The site gives brief descriptions of what the celebrities are known for and how they died, but the main attraction of the site is an assortment of photographs of their dead bodies.

These disturbing photographs shocked me. Sure, privacy is rare when you are a celebrity, but posting pictures of their dead bodies as a form of entertainment seems a tad… insensitive. Under Marilyn Monroe’s photograph the description states: “Supposedly, Monroe had had an abortion at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital on the 20th of July. It has been said that she had as many as a dozen abortions over the years.”

Supposing is all we can do when it comes to the personal lives of most celebrities. Perez Hilton became a celebrity by making fun of the personal and public lives of other celebrities. His Web site is “Hollywood’s Most-Hated Web site.” One of Hilton’s most recent blogs shows pictures of Danny Bonaduce in the nude.

“The VH1 reality star and radio host went commando and showed off his impressively small penis,” Hilton said about the photo. “Years of ‘roid abuse could do that to a person!”
People love this stuff.

People also love quotes, especially stupid ones said by celebrities. Many Web sites are constructed for this reason. One site quotes Brooke Shields, “Smoking kills, and if you’re killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life.”

I don’t sympathize with celebrities only for the fact that their privacy is non-existent, but also because people don’t see them as human. They are the people photographed without make-up so our mothers can say, “They look worse than I do without make-up on!” They are the people we can talk trash about guilt-free. They are the people we can blame for not being good role models for children. Celebrities aren’t actors, musicians or politicians. They are the people who expose the rest of our society’s insecurities.

Annee Mayer-Chapleau is a junior studying creative writing. She loves astronomy and her main goal in life is to dance like David Byrne from the Talking Heads.