Dumbed Down by Celebrity Infatuation

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The influence on the mass media has tainted our views on what the real issues are. Topics that should be circulating the news circuit are put in the back burner behind the latest celebrity scandal, wardrobe malfunction, and YouTube hit. Real issues such as the war and its progress are not headlines but only on shorter time slots. It seems like the importance of important issues has even been ignored by respectable news organizations and publications. The draw to scandal has even become main news whether its focus is on celebrities or respectable public figures. Nobody is safe from gossip and the popularity it has gained is so intense that it seems that there is no end in sight. There once was a time, before the internet and before popular gossip channels that people watched the news for the obvious reasons; to find out what was going on in the world. Important issues on the world were reported to us and debated on. Bill O'Reilly once argued and would hassle people about crooked politicians, not Paris Hilton's controversial commercial or Snoop Dogg's latest drug related arrest. At one point in time people knew what was really going on in the world.

It seems that the new infatuation with the popular and the scandalous has dumbed down our society. We've been dumbed down enough to know that we have a problem and instead of trying to solve it we instead make fun of ourselves with reality game shows where our obvious lack of knowledge is a form of entertainment. Instead of being ashamed of not knowing basic elementary problems, America eats it up as a joke as seen on Fox's hit show, "Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?" On this show adult contestants who are often college educated, are asked a series of questions normally asked in elementary grade levels 1 through 5. The contestants are rewarded money for each answer answered correctly and are given a pool of fifth graders who can "save" a player or help them "cheat" when they don't know the answer. Silly? Yes, it is silly yet many are entertained by some of the humiliatingly easy answers that many of the contestants cannot answer. Is this a good sign for our children? Is it okay to accept the fact that we're not as smart as we once were?

The importance of our education and its importance has been replaced by an influence of popular media which surrounds us wherever we go. Television is plagued by it; these "celebutards" have even taken over the literary department by publishing their own "hand books" that teach us how to live their lives. Paris Hilton's book Confessions of an Heiress: A Tongue-in-Chic- Peek Behind the Pose is a handbook that teaches girls everything from choosing a rich family to be born into to pretending to not know anything to look "cute." Hilton's rules are obviously more ridiculous when she suggests that being an heiress means never wearing the same thing twice or always having a make-up artist or bodyguard at hand; rules that the average person cannot afford to follow, yet Hilton's book was a New York Times best seller. The book and its ludicrous ideas did so well that Hilton went on to publish yet another book: Your Heiress Diary: Confess it all to Me. The success of the book caused a slew of other celebrity authors including Nicole Richie and Rachel Zoe who also shared top selling success by sharing their ridiculous life styles and expenditures.

It's hard to get away from the obsession when surrounded by easy celebrity access through the internet, magazines, books and television. Magazines such as Star, People, Life & Style, and OK Magazine are readily available to us at our local super market at cheap prices and are published weekly allowing us to feed on the gossip and become attached to it. Our constant exposure to celebrities and their "larger-than-life" persona are a draw to us. Celebrities have become an obsession, their lives are something that we follow and form a connection with. The roles they play in a...
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