Fame is a crazy thing. Think about it: a person becomes successful in a particular field, whether it’s entertainment, sports, music etc. and suddenly they have cameras on them, articles being written about them, Perez Hilton checking what they keep in their underwear drawer. In this day and age though, fame should be used for the greater good. (I’m not a hippie, I swear.)
When I think of someone becoming famous, I think of talent. I think of someone becoming so good in their field at what they do that they deserve recognition. I think of Michael Jackson’s raw singing talent, iconic look and showmanship. I think of Lionel Messi basically running 90 miles per hour with the ball basically glued to his foot. I think of Conor McGregor knocking fools out at will and talking about his 50 gs (baby).
Think of these people I mentioned and notice what they have in common: they all have talent and dedicated years of their lives to get to where they are. Their talent is not something everyone possesses. They have certain physical and mental traits that are missing in the average person.
Now, imagine someone from a well off family who grew up with money becoming famous themselves by releasing a sex tape. This person’s siblings become famous by proxy and they use this fame to spread negative messages and views, even though their loyal followers see them as inspirations and role models. This isn’t talent. This is right place right time, lowest common denominator nonsense and if you haven’t figured out how much it annoys me by now, well now you know.
It should be obvious by now who I’m using as an example. I originally made a promise to myself that I would never mention them in any of my work as I feel it is still giving them attention, negative or positive. It is the Kardashians I am talking about, particularly Kim. This family has a huge amount of influence, especially with the 3 sisters having a combined 150 million plus Instagram followers, yet they are the perfect example of becoming famous for all the wrong reasons and using that fame negatively, and I’m not even including Kanye West, who can shoot a few holes in a Penneys jumper and people will pay $1000 for it. (I am so not lying.)
In an era where social media is king, where celebrities can not only be in touch with their fans and followers but can use this power for the greater good, what do the Kardashians do? “I’m gonna post a photo of me shiny arse and break the internet. I don’t know how you break the internet because it isn’t really a physical construction, unless I simultaneously destroy every person’s modem so they can’t access the internet, but dammit, I’ll do it anyway.” It is not only ridiculous but it is saddening that people give them this attention and worship them like gods.
Their reality TV show is one of the most viewed shows on TV in America. The show is literally the sisters, all millionaires in their own right, born into money, crying about the slightest thing. Like what?! You think 50 years ago when they invented the TV the creator was like: “Hey, I can’t wait til this super advanced piece of technology gets to the point where we can see what happens in famous people’s everyday lives. Imagine being able to see a famous family have a breakdown over the local Chinese takeaway delivering them a medium spicy Spice bag instead of an extra spicy one. It’ll be bananas.” Yeah, I don’t think that happened either.
It is safe to say that the attention isn’t based on how relatable they are. The Kardashians, like I mentioned before, were basically born into money. Rob Kardashian was OJ Simpson’s defence lawyer in one of the most high profile cases in US history. Bruce/Kaitlyn Jenner was a former US athlete. The family is quite well off, yet that couldn’t stop her craving for fame. What was a major factor in skyrocketing her fame? A sex tape Kim released in 2004 with her ex boyfriend, RnB singer Ray J. The tape is one of the most viewed of its kind on the internet. In fact, Kim Kardashian was the most viewed ‘pornstar’ on Pornhub in March of 2016. Not even adult entertainment is safe from her influence.
The Kardashians aren’t the only culprits of questionable fame. In fact, the main site to look at for this new era of fame is Instagram. If you look at say for example a post promoting positivity or a good cause, you would be lucky to get a few thousand views. If you go to a post from an attractive person wearing next to nothing you will see hundreds of thousands of views and likes.
That is before I even mention the pictures of food people post. Like who goes to a restaurant and instead of, you know, eating the food, they try and get the right photo of the food. “Have to make sure the angle is right, have to make sure the white balance is correct, have to make sure the camera is set to advanced 21 megapixel mode so you can see the steam coming off the food.” I know what else you need with that meal, pal: a nice big ice cold glass of milk.
Speaking of social media networks creating celebrities, YouTube has also become a way for making people famous. It is also a big source of income for content creators and advertisers alike, yet it is not free from people becoming famous for all the wrong reasons. Look at Sam Pepper for example. He is an English Youtuber based in America who makes prank videos, or ‘social experiments’ as he prefers to call them. Social experiments is a term I would use quite loosely, because I don’t consider touching random girls’ buttocks with a fake hand a social experiment.
No Sam, it is sexual harassment, and one that could come with very serious consequences such as, I dunno, a little thing called time in prison. Last year he released a video with to Vine celebrities, where he filmed a fake execution of one of the men in front of the other. The two happened to be best friends. The video was quite obviously faked and should’ve won the Raspberry award for worst acting ( but then I remembered 50 Shades of Grey and Fantastic Four came out that year.) This didn’t stop the backlash and Sam has since flip flopped with the idea of quitting YouTube in recent months.
In essence fame is an absurd thing, but it is also a powerful thing. If you have that reach, why not set a good example? Promote equal rights, build a well in an African village, be a humanitarian and promote an anti-war message. Don’t go around posting pictures promoting negative values or a certain body image. Don’t go making videos that are just create for profit and controversy. Do something good.