Celebrity Worship

Oprah for president. She is reported to have received a thundering applause from celebrities attending the Oscar whatever. Yeah, yes, go for it. Her home was one of those hit by the recent mud slides in an affluent neighborhood of California. She’s a TV star. She hosted her own show entertaining millions of us for years. She’s African-American. She’s a woman. She’s known all over the world. Her name is familiar to everyone. She’s a world traveler. She supports civil rights. She’s been seen giving food to the homeless in Africa. She can give a speech without a script. She’s rich and famous. What more could we want.

According to some recent polls, Oprah would out star Trump in the 2012 elections by 10 points or more.

Trump was a celebrity. Obama was provided celebrity status. Clinton was a celebrity.

Merriam-Webster defines it as “the state of being celebrated.”  Society celebrates these icons, luminaries, megastar somebodies as standouts and super-stars because they’re a VIP, because one-day in the past they were a nobody, or they were born as a VIP.

One must be a celebrity to win the adulation of enough people to win an election. Your name must be known. Your face must be recognizable. What you have said must be popular. There must be an attractive nature to your voice. You must be good on the eyes. When the media likes you, they will hold back private investigators from digging deep into secret pages of your history.

If you’re not known well-enough to get the attention of the media, forget it.

The media? An entire cyclopedia collection could be and has been written about the media, about the effect of television and this global internet on the populace. Newspapers are losing ground, are looking for ways to keep and attract more readers. Newsmagazines are losing subscribers. Broadcast news finds something to grab our attention in-between commercials that grab our attention.

So, what are we doing with the time? Quietly listening to Beethoven and Bach is out and Hip Rap Rock is in. Kids are spending play time playing games on-line and the 60” screen. Riding a bicycle thru the neighbor hood is dangerous. Playing choose-your team games after school has been handed over to professionals. Education is common-core so no child should repeat a grade or get a “D”.

Technocracy has taken over. Social media is outdoing personal conversational time together over a hot cup of coffee.

We must be busy all the time. We must be involved in something all the time. To sit and just watch nature for ten minutes, for half an hour is not even imaginable. To be quiet enough to hear the trees whistle, the birds chirp, the waters ripple has been put aside for the noise on the screen.

In these retirement years I spend the mornings reading the latest that technology brings to my eyes. Push a button and there it is right before me to digest or just read passing the time: the newest and latest, the newest updates on yesterday’s new news. On and on it goes, day-in day-out 24/7. I have my favorite tabs ready to be opened to pass more time, and then saved in the history folder to be brought up to read and watch again.

We get irritated when someone offends our sensibilities. We write a comment if the writer of a post missed a point that was more important than the point the originator of the post was pointing out.

Are we there yet? Have we become a nation, a world that amuses ourselves to death? Have we become a nation of heretics?

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business

  • Neil Postman | Penguin Books Publisher

Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics

  • Ross Douthat | Free Press Publisher

Author: Arnold Kropp

About the Author. Back in the days when I was a kid growing up in south Chicago, freely roaming around the neighborhood was common and just a part of life in the late 40's and early 50's. A train track was less than a mile away and a favorite place to walk along the rails. A large city park was a bit closer with areas of dense trees and areas of open grassy picnic grounds. A public golf course was just two blocks away, but the famed 4-lane busy Western avenue had to be crossed to get to it, and we crossed in the middle of the block running between the cars and trucks. We knew the risks. In the winters, we would climb that fence making our way to one of the ponds, we’d push and shovel away the snow and play a spontaneous game of hockey, or bring a sled and slide down the hillside ; no adults, no special padding, just a group of kids enjoying the contest. Dad was at work, mom was home tending to the washing and preparing the family meal for promptly at 6 pm. Life was good. It was fun. Sunday mornings were dress up in suit and tie, polished shoes for Sunday school and the worship service, then to a restaurant. Arnold went on to college immediately after high school, but could not find a subject, a major that was really up his alley, so he enlisted in the Army and served in Germany during the years the Berlin wall was built. Seeing what effects Soviet communism had on the people of East Germany left an impression on him. During those years, he would write many long letters home starting a desire to write more than just letters. Many years later Arnold developed a blog where he posted hundreds of articles on the political side of American life. Some of those are available in the collection named "Ramblings". Today, Society is totally different from that of the 50's, a whole lot different. Today, it has become scary to let the kids roam. Today it has become organized to the hilt with 2nd graders playing organized football. In my present relatively quiet neighborhood, I do see kids walking the streets, but there is a difference as the kids seem to be apprehensive and on guard or intently operating a telephone as they walk, not running after each other. Today, the above freedoms of the 50's are suspect and avoided as being dangerous activities. And that is sad. It's sad that today's kids do not have that freedom, and it may be having a direct effect on their development. Consider, one fact that is readily apparent today compared to yesterday; the preponderance of overweight and obese kids, even pre-school kids are heavier than we were, and this has to be affecting the rest of their daily lives. No doubt about it. But, I'd better hush, can't talk about those things. Yes, in the 50’s there were Semi-trucks, public transportation, murders, rape, robberies, house fires, sickness and diseases resulting in death, and yes, there were deadly vehicle accidents too. There was even poverty and homosexuals too. We went to public schools, and the high school was integrated. This was Chicago, but those events did not make the headlines, as news was only broadcast at 6pm and possibly 10pm nightcap. Days of the cold war kept us together as a nation. We saw the "Victory at Sea" war clips before the main feature at the theaters. And now technology dominates life. A cell phone in every handy pocket posting selfies. A computer saving everything to one of those cumulous clouds. Room size TV’s broadcasting everything 24/7. This is more information than I want. Let me decide something. I think. therefore, I am. I was born a male, therefore I am. I was born-again, therefore I am. I have life within, therefore I am. The news is not my guide. The TV is not my Sheppard.

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