Celebrating Celebrity

I recently had the opportunity to go to a great concert. (You can ask Holly it was fabulous.) Going to musical performances in big venues is not a regular occurrence for me, mostly because Im so often disappointed by the quality of the music as compared to the processed sensation that Ive grown accustomed to on the radio. (This is, of course, never the case with Critical). Despite my normal aversion to such events, there was no denying it this show rocked.

Yet, as I stood watching the show, I was unable to completely revel in the experience. I was distracted by the spectacle that was playing out before me. One of the performers had just finished their first number during which it seemed like every one of the thousands of people in the crowd were singing along, and the singer stood there glowing in the adulation and applause. The response of the crowd was insufficient for the performer and the fans were encouraged to cheer even louder for the pleasure of the artist.

Now, I realize this scene probably occurs several times a day. Usually, the talent of the artist is not so worthy of applause as this performer most assuredly was. And yet, he wasn’t either. For just like all of us, this man was a mere mortal. A mere mortal who had been blessed with an incredible gift of performance, but still that talent came from God. And yet, thousands stood, exalting this man for being able to belt out a rousing tune and for making each person in the crowd feel like he was singing to them. He had done nothing but entertain and yet he was receiving more praise than teachers, pastors, nurses, doctors, military personnel or others whose impact is far more significant ever will.

And that’s when it struck me. Our culture of celebrity is really pure silliness. I mean, what had this performer done that was rightly worthy of so much admiration. The show was great but it was after all a show a parody of life through musical rendition. People would leave and talk about the great performance (I know I did) but is anyones life really changed through the time spent there?

One of the things that often takes people by surprise when they meet me is that I am a celebrity gossip hound. Peoples perception of me as a studious, industrious individual does not mix with this proclivity, and yet there it is. (You can only imagine my delight when I got a job where Im supposed to know what celebrities are wearing and accessorizing. It was ashamedly delightful). While I had often heard others deride this pastime, I cant say that I really saw what the problem was, but it was painfully clear to me at the show. The problem is that our culture of celebrating celebrity gives praise to people for things that aren’t all that significant. Not only that, it exalts people to a level of worship that should only be reserved for God. And it is this competition that is destructive.

Nicole Richie once said (and I loosely quote), America is the only country where you can be famous, just for being famous. And shes right. But fame is fleeting, grace is forever, and its the latter that deserves our attention, not the previous.

P.S. – For the record, I do realize how strange I am that I am a concert that loads of people would love to be at and I’m thinking of my next blog. I’m weird. What can I say? 😉

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