Americans are a people that gravitate towards celebrities in order to understand and comprehend the trends of the world, and to provide us with an overwhelming sense of entertainment in our ‘boring’ lives (at least in comparison to them). Many of these celebrities, such as reality television stars from highly popular shows like The Bachelor and The Real Housewives, have no formal talent, simply just good looks and loads of money.
However, with the COVID-19 pandemic overtaking our lives, I have honestly begun to question the real point of celebrities. In an era in which entertainment has become halted, with many ‘regular’ people focusing on pure survival and keeping sane with stay-at-home orders in place, the famous have fallen into the backdrop of our relevance. At the end of the day, I, along with many others, have realized that they do not matter as much as the media has portrayed them.
The Atlantic’s podcast Social Distance has almost normalized celebrities. This is in the sense that we perceive celebrities as these immune figures, who never have the troubles of the world. But celebrities such as the beloved Tom Hanks or Pink, are two of many who have proven this idea to be false. Hannah Giorgis of the podcast states “But celebrities are a group of people who are used to having the things that they want available to them at all times. Suddenly that’s not true, and it’s affecting them in ways that seem more comical and also profound than for us lay people” The virus has no sympathy for anyone, even big name stars.
However despite the slight realization that celebrities are the same as us, just with more clout and money, they try too hard to be relatable. Constant posts of the famed proclaiming their boredom in their huge mansions seem to be almost mocking us. As many people struggle to pay rent or afford food, these stars are flaunting their riches in order to make themselves appear in the same position as their viewers. While this is not to discount the fact that being stuck inside for months is not pure torture, they are in a situation drastically more viable than many others.
Ellen DeGeneres is one such celebrity who has enraged people due to her comments, During her weekly show, which has been broadcasting from her home, she compared the stay-at-home order to “being in jail.” Not only does this joke stimulate a feeling of insensitivity, but to claim that her mansion worth millions is comparable to that of a jail rings as also completely false. She has the luxury of not having to work every day, and to social distance in her home. She has no worries of how she’ll pay her rent. And while she might find boredom in her everyday life at home, the metaphorical comparison of a jail to her home becomes too drastic of a joke, even for her standards.
As the usefulness of celebrities in American life might seem unnecessary real value for us for a while, maybe we should consider celebrating people who actually do good for the world: health care workers, police officers, grocery store clerks, etc. These are all people who provide every day, especially during the pandemic, and they put their lives at risk to serve us. We are praising these people now instead of singers, actresses, and whomever you could think of that is categorized as a ‘celebrity.’ They are saving lives, and the famous are stuck at home. While entertainment through celebrities brings us joy and amusement, maybe we should rethink and celebrate those who do good for humanity and not only direct our praises on the rich and famous.