I considered a lot of different professions before I decided to become a DCE. Every time someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I had a different answer. There were just so many choices. Today there is one more choice of profession I was never able to consider: Professional Celebrity.
There are an ever growing number of people desperate to make it in this new hip profession. After all, Celebrity pays big bucks with little to no effort all. All you have to do is give up your privacy and your inhibitions. Be outrageous. Stand in the spotlight. Pose for the cameras and cash the million dollar checks. I can’t even count the number of reality shows on the air now that do nothing but document the day to day lives of people. You don’t have to do something important, or even have any discernable skills. Simply play it up for the cameras and you can be rich and famous for doing nothing.
We have seen for years those celebrities who are famous simply for being famous: Paris Hilton, the Kardashian family, Heidi and Spencer Pratt. It seems now our celebrity obsession has reached a point where there is no sense of “too much.” You can’t be too shocking. Laws and safety shouldn’t stand in your way. In fact, if you face criminal charges it might just extend your stay in the spotlight. When it comes to the position of Professional Celebrity, you can’t hold back; it’s all or nothing.
Richard and Mayumi Heene wanted to achieve fame so badly they were willing to set up an elaborate hoax with their son Falcon at the center. The couple recently pled guilty to false reporting after they led police to believe their son was inside a runaway homemade balloon, garnering him the name Balloon Boy and spending $62,000 of local and state money in search and rescue. The law, it seems, was not a barrier to keep them away from their reality show and celebrity status. They even forced their son to do a round of interviews after the ruse even though he got sick during two separate interviews. Of course the hoax only came after two stints on the reality show “Wife Swap” didn’t do the trick.
Recently a couple managed to crash President Obama’s first state dinner in an attempt to make it big in the world of celebrity. They found a way through the Secret Service security checks and even grabbed a picture with the President and other distinguished guests. The wife, Michaele Salahi, is trying to garner a spot on Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of D.C.,” and the couple is currently taking bids in the mid-six figures range for an interview before any criminal charges come through and they are forced to tell their story for free in a courtroom.
Have we lost our minds? I’m sure that if either of these families gets their reality show, people will tune in to watch. We feed this frenzy for celebrity by giving our attention to those who misbehave in the name of fame. I appreciated that at least one media outlet I read refused to use the name of the couple who crashed the White House party. They didn’t want to give them what they wanted, more attention. We need to teach Christian teens to see these behaviors for what they are, sinful. Recognizing what it is and moving our attention elsewhere will keep this type of behavior from becoming a credible way to achieve fame.
Who are we looking at? As Christians working with teens, who are we raising up as heroes and role models? As diligently as we monitor what teens see on the internet, movies, and television, we should watch who they admire and look up to. Teens are watching these adults in their quest for fame, and they are seeing examples of people who are willing to do anything, ANYTHING, to achieve those goals. As they grow into adults, we need to constantly remind them of the boundaries God has given us in our search for our vocation. Holding up celebrities who will do whatever they want in the name of achieving success will give teens all the wrong ideas about how to achieve in their own lives. Are we talking to them about not coveting their neighbor, but rather being content with what they have? Are we raising up people who are famous for letting God lead them into excellence in their vocation? We have to teach teens to be discerning of who they are looking to, even inadvertently, as examples of behavior.