Gods and Celebrities: Do Both Obsessions Stem from the Same Impulse?

Although we know better intellectually, we treats celebrities as if they exist in a different realm. Is there an element of misplaced religion at work?

Our society reveres celebrities like gods, but if they are gods, jokes Columbia law professor Tim Wu, then they’re more like the Greek gods, who were hopelessly and petulantly flawed. Nobody as yet fully understands our culture’s obsession with the famous elites among us, but for Wu, the most compelling ideas so far are those that compare celebrity worship to our inherent instinct to look for things that transcend the normal, that hints at life on a different plane. Does going into a two-hour scroll saga through an actor or sport star’s Instagram reflect a religious, seeking impulse within us? "There’s something to those theories," Wu says, "because I just can’t really understand it otherwise." Tim Wu’s most recent book is The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads.

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Is Our Celebrity Obsession Helping to De-Stigmatize Mental Illness?

A rash of teen idols, singers, actors, and actresses have all come out recently detailing their struggles. 

 

Actress, singer, and songwriter Demi Lovato is now a mental healthcare advocate.

Few things in our society are stigmatized quite like mental illness. Most people try to hide it or manage it on their own. Few seek help. But it is exceedingly common. Nearly one in five Americans – 42.5 million adults – wrestles with it. Worldwide one in four, or 450 million people, suffer with some sort of psychological issue.  

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Personal Growth