I have reached the point where I can’t even bring myself to watch the Academy Awards. The following sums up my thoughts on the subject: “I’d prefer a TV awards extravaganza to honor our real heroes instead of those who imitate them.” I guess it’s fair to say I’m beginning to grow weary of propping-up social climbers as heroes. While there are always exceptions, for the most part The Oscars represent just another display of the self-indulgent, narcissistic view of the world through the very skewed lens of Hollywood.
My question is simply this: besides act, what did these celebrities do to reach hero status? Clearly there are celebrities who use their platform for the benefit of others, but my observation is they are few and far between. When our culture holds celebrity status in higher esteem than those who place service above self, we all need to take a long look in the mirror. Our nation’s senses have been dulled by an addiction to celebrity worship to the point that those who tend to live the most bizarre, reckless, and self-centered existence seem to be glorified above all others.
If the media wants to help restore the confidence, character and integrity of our nation, as opposed to contribute to its decline, my suggestion would be they spend more time celebrating the true American legends and heroes… soldiers, firefighters, law enforcement officers, principled educators, theologians, medical practitioners, responsible parents, student achievers, volunteers, statesmen (notice I didn’t say politicians), good Samaritans, and the every day hard working American citizen.
I looked-up the definition of “hero” in several of the online dictionaries and cobbled together the most common references and citations which define a hero as: “a person of great strength and courage, admired for qualities, achievements and moral character which are regarded as an ideal or model to be honored.” While many celebrities have compelling life stories, in some cases having overcome many obstacles in their pursuit of fame, with rare exception they sought personal fame and fortune above other more laudable pursuits normally associated with heroes – most notably service and sacrifice on the behalf of others without regard for personal recognition.
The sad reality is the lives of celebrities often provide a greater lasting example of sadness and tragedy than greatness. Whether they die of an apparent suicide like Marilyn Monroe, in cloudy circumstances like Whitney Houston, Anna Nicole Smith, Elvis, Bruce Lee, Jim Morrison and Michael Jackson, or in an untimely event like the car crash that took the life of James Dean, there are more examples left behind of how not to live your life than a blueprint you would pass on to your children as an example for greatness. Regrettably there exist many wildly successful people who make very little meaningful impact, and notably fewer examples of celebrities who spend their time and resources making the world a better place.
Real Heroes and legends do exist, but from my perspective, rarely do they appear in the form of pop culture celebrities. I can share with you I find it less than appealing to have the media continue to focus on the latest oh so boring social icons (athletes, recording artists, movie stars, politicians, the super-wealthy, and other pseudo-celebrities) who are all too often forced upon us while being portrayed as heroes when they are clearly not. The focus should be on the lives of those that are making a positive difference in the world – those whom we would gladly submit to our children as honorable examples of how to live life.
We are fighting wars on multiple fronts, Iran is in chaos and on the brink of revolution, North Korea has taken its saber-rattling to new heights, lives are being given and taken daily in pursuit of honorable endeavors, and yet we stop everything to gawk at actors on a red carpet? Give me a break…