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Opinion: Spotlight on celebrities could be better shone elsewhere

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Myanmar opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi (top) attends a meeting with France's President François Hollande on April 15 at the Élysée Palace in Paris. Kim Kardashian (bottom) attends the Vogue Paris Foundation Gala as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 9 at Palais Galliera in Paris. Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Myanmar opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi (top) attends a meeting with France’s President François Hollande on April 15 at the Élysée Palace in Paris. Kim Kardashian (bottom) attends the Vogue Paris Foundation Gala as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 9 at Palais Galliera in Paris. Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Whenever my friends start discussing actors, I have to quietly look up who they’re talking about on my phone.

While my sister kept up with the Kardashians and would occasionally talk about the finer points of their relationships, I was baffled that their names all started with the letter K.

In short, half of the time I don’t know what’s going on in pop culture. And I’m perfectly fine with that.

I think celebrity worship has stepped over some boundaries, and I don’t mean leaking nudes — that’s a whole other level of invasive. I just think people spend too much time worrying about overglorified stars.

I think it can all be summed up by the fact that magazines like Us Weekly and People hang out in the racks at the end of grocery store aisles. I’ve never once seen an edition of Time, and it’s rare to even see a local newspaper right at the end of the aisles. The Kroger I frequent has the newspapers buried right by the exit, so if you want one, you have to turn around and go back to pay for it.

And all the while, the magazines gleam proudly in a prime location right by the register while their covers proclaim that some celebrities look better in bathing suits than others.

Don’t get me wrong — there are plenty of men and women to be idolized. Men and women who do cancer research every day, for example. Or men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to help others.

I think it’s completely normal to admire one another. We as humans do amazing things, but I think our admiration could be better placed in other outlets.

What if we broadcasted the Nobel Prizes in prime time like we do for the Grammy’s or the MTV Video Music Awards? What if we got as excited about a new scientific development as we do about a celebrity engagement?

I’m not saying I’m perfect by any means. I still love movies, and I’m definitely guilty of gushing about the members of my favorite bands. I understand it’s a way for people to have a little release and worry about something besides themselves.

But I think we could all do a little bit better.

So here’s to us, world. Here’s to ignoring the intimate details of people we’ll never meet and focusing our attention on all kinds of other things.

Here’s to all the amazing art we’ve made, all the amazing medicine we’ve discovered, all the movies that have brought us to tears and all the novels that have opened our minds. Here’s to us and all we do, but here’s also to ignoring the trivial and focusing on what’s important.

And if you disagree, frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

 

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