OPINION: Let famous people be crazy


Megan Koch, Opinion Writer

Being famous is not normal. A 2013 study published by the International Journal of Medicine that analyzed New York Times obituaries between 2009-11 found fame brings a shorter lifespan. It is a mentally demanding job to handle the constant attention. Being famous is essentially turning oneself into a product and losing self-autonomy. Having this desire is not normal, so naturally, the profession attracts instability. The argument over if the industry attracts weirdos or if it pushes people to the point of losing it is similar to the nurture vs. nature debate. There is truth within both arguments, and the reality of celebrityhood is a mixture of both. The fact is, it does not matter what got these people to where they are; studies have proven it is not sustainable. Why do people act surprised when an out-of-touch-with-reality celebrity does something crazy? To idolize and glorify this unstable group of people is crazier. 

For example, Generation Z has grown up watching the Kardashian/Jenners. None of those people know what life is like without being filmed. Isolate a kid from their peers, give them a million bucks, and then film it and see what you create. These people have been designed for public entertainment rather than to be functional members of society. They, alongside everyone else, have been taught that performance outweighs moral obligation. ER doctors are making TikToks, game show hosts are president and news channels are lying to their viewers all to make a few more bucks. It does not matter if a Kardashian sponsors a charity event or gets busted for running a sweatshop; they all get the same clicks. We as a nation have been amused into indifference. We hold onto these high expectations for them to say or do the right thing as if they are not merely a reflection of our communal entertainment addiction. Celebrities are products of our current world. If people do not want their favorite comedian to say something horrible, then they should not laugh at the million microaggressions they said before that moment. 

Celebritydom is plagued with mental illness. No healthy person will dedicate their whole life to making sure everybody likes them. These people develop split characters to appease their public following and often end up morphing into this character, losing their sense of self. Things are said with the intent of making people like them. Fans feed off the absurdity, further enabling these vulnerable individuals. How long has Kanye been enabled before he started his antisemitic hate speeches? Kanye has been slipping out of reality for years now, but up until recently, the only people getting hurt by his actions were himself and his family. The unfortunate thing is that the media has orchestrated safe spaces for hate groups to exist and has created mindless yes-men that believe people like Kanye are sane and legitimate. This is a perfect example of our entertainment and our politics being indistinguishable. Entertainment is the format for all experiences, including news, public health and others’ emotional distress. 

There is also an absurd obsession with celebrities being nice as if society is kind to them in return. They have no privacy, are stalked and the list goes on. Hollywood is full of performative intimacy because the industry recognizes that that is what it takes to be likable. Being kind to be liked and being kind out of personal goodness are separate things; it can be impossible to distinguish the difference when recorded for the world to see. If a famous actor is faking it or is genuine does not matter because if it is fake, then they are a great actor, and if it is genuine, it will be forgotten about when the next scandal makes headlines. It is not the celebrity’s attitudes that are the problem; the problem is the public finding identity within these people that is problematic. 

People crave their favorite celebrities to prove that they themselves are good people. Think about Harry Styles for a minute. How many people do you know have “treat people with kindness” merch? It is meaningful to note that his fame took a steep rise when he began this brand. Styles is also famously tied to celebrities like James Corden and Olivia Wilde, who are notoriously rude in the business. All three of them will remain famous because it is not about how they treat others: it is how they are branded. It does not matter if Styles is nice, and it does not matter if Corden is apathetic: they are profiting either way. People look toward celebrities to validate their beliefs about themselves. A celebrity is merely the face of a subculture that is desperate for attention.

There is an endless social commentary discourse that arises from this topic, but the bottom line is that casting blame is unnecessary. We created Trisha Paytas; now we have to deal with her. If there is anything to learn from our current celebritydom, it is that there is a mental health crisis. These people are merely the representatives of large groups of people that need serious help. Many celebrities have sacrificed themselves for public enjoyment being completely enabled along the way, so stop acting surprised when one of them goes nuts.