Celebrities Over Civilians: Should We Re-Evaluate our Priorities as a Society?

Shocking news has shaken an entire nation to its very core: Kylie Jenner is pregnant. In other news, Mexico is still recovering from a massive earthquake, the first MLB player—Bruce Maxwell from the Oakland Athletics—took a knee during the National Anthem, Betsy DeVos is actively trying to repeal Title IX and Flint still doesn’t have clean water. But until Selena Gomez tweets “Pray for Mexico” or Zendaya posts an update on the Flint Water Crisis, not many people will care.

For decades, society has been obsessed with the lives of celebrities: who they marry, who they divorce and why they don’t look like they’re walking a red carpet when they pick up groceries. Celebrities have become our ambassadors, suddenly deemed the job of bringing important world events to light and calling for action from all of us. But shouldn’t we be interested in these national issues to begin with? Our interest in serious events should not be dictated by the level of interest our favorite artist or actor has in the topic. Although defined by Merriam-Webster as “the state of being celebrated,” a celebrity is nothing more than an average person with skill and a whole lot of luck.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with celebrating these people and even having some interest in their lives (I will admit that I am curious to see what Kylie and Travis Scott will name their baby, or if it even is Travis Scott’s baby.) However, that does not mean I will shove my weekly issue of The Economist aside and wait for Kevin Hart to share his take on the repealing of Title IX.

Society tends to also place the lives of celebrities above other national news, almost equalizing the two. When there are more tweets about Niall Horan’s new music video than about the current Myanmar conflict or the hurricane striking Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, I think we may need to reevaluate the priorities of our society.

As a whole, I consider my generation a well-informed, determined group of young adults and adults, but we need to be sure to maintain this interest and consciousness if we want a world full of action and change.