Fame For All The Wrong Reasons

December 5, 2011

Political Theory


A typical day in a college students life goes as follows: Wake up, eat breakfast, go to class, eat dinner, watch TV, and go to sleep. A typical day in a celebrity’s life is quite different. They have luxuries that most people do not have such as: million dollar homes, chefs, private jets, drivers, and the list goes on and on. What allows these celebrities to become so wealthy and obtain all of these luxuries and be featured all over the news? What makes senators have so much influencial power? Why is it that some people are automatically put on petistools and others live their lives without one second of fame?

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It is the social society of today that answers all of these questions. We, as a society, treat athletes, politicians, celebrities, and many others as if they are some sort of gods. I do not understand the concept of this or why our society does such things. Just because Tom Brady is good at throwing a football does not make him better than any one of us. Kobe Bryant is one of the best basketball players of this era, However, just because he can play ball gives him some type of seniority over the public? I think that, as a society, we envy and look up to people for all of the wrong reasons. My cousins role model is Michael Jordan. My cousin does not know Michael Jordan personally. He has no idea whether he is genuine, caring, or kind. All my cousin knows is that he can dunk from the free throw line, has his own shoe brand, and is all over TV. This is what people are basing their “role models” after.

Rousseau states that there are two types of inequality: natural and physical. Natural inequalities are things that are established by nature. Age, health, size, and qualities of ones mind and soul are all considered natural inequalities. Physical inequalities, also known as political inequalities, are established by society. Certain privelages such as being more rich, more powerful, or more honored are all physical inequalities. It is these “political inequalities”, that we established as a society, that make these celebrities have all of these privelages. I believe that we should look up to people due to the qualities of ones mind and soul, a “natural inequality”. I believe this because I think this is what is truly important in society. I think it is those people that are always willing to help others or make a difference in the world that truly push our society to the next level. I do not think that three super bowl wins betters our society. Our society should stop creating fame for people like Paris Hilton and focus more on people that really made a difference in the world such as MLK or Einstein.

Rousseau would agree with this argument, do you? Do you agree with society making people famous just because of their athletic abilities or family ties? Do you think we should focus more on the natural inequalities of people or physical inequalities of people? Do you like the way society chooses to look up to certain people?

I love MJ just as much as the next guy…but his free throw dunk didn’t make any difference in this world.

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3 Comments on “Fame For All The Wrong Reasons”

  1. Patrick Biondi Says:

    I would have to agree with you on this. As a student athlete here at Michigan, I see some of what you are saying, even on campus, and in our society, it is even more pronounced: athletes, movie stars, politicians, and musicians have a sort of “godly” status that, in essence, makes them idols in our society. While I totally disagree with this notion, I would like to point out that with this fame comes great opportunity. You spoke about how you think a man should be admired for his mind, quality of soul, and actions that help our world and I absolutely agree. However, one thing that fame presents is opportunity for the individuals who have it to influence a great number of people (whether it be negatively or positively). In our society today, I would argue that a lot of the influences we receive from celebrities are negative, promoting immoral behavior that should not be at all admired. The flip side of this is it gives a lot of very good people the opportunity to make a big difference in the world. Unfortunately, along with the status our society has given to the select members you’ve indicated, it also has selected a set of “values ” that are highly immoral and for this reason, the popularity of certain aspects of our society are going to remain.

    One thing i would have to disagree with you on is the notion that these are all “political inequalities”. I would think that as far as professional athletes, there are some natural inequalities there. Yes, it takes a lot more work than most people will ever understand to become a professional athlete, but that being said, there are certain people who are naturally gifted with talents that allow them to be in that position. Also, you stated that qualities of the mind are natural, and if that is the case, then politicians would have to be the beneficiaries of natural inequalities, as it is in part their mental aptitude that has afforded them their political stature (although there is a lot of debate about how politicians come to power). Just some thoughts..

  2. nluongo Says:

    I partially agree with your statement but I also think that you are oversimplifying your case a bit. First, I agree that in many cases, we as a society do not always choose our role models very well. There are many people out there that deserve our praise and adoration more than people like Paris Hilton and contribute much more to society. However, I have a bit of a problem with those who say that athletes like Michael Jordan contribute nothing to society. Sure, his championships by themselves don’t mean much, but athletes like Michael Jordan inspired kids everywhere to follow their dreams and work to realize them. I think part of the respect that people hold for professional athletes comes from knowing that no one makes it to the big leagues on skill alone. These athletes all have incredible work ethic and dedication to their sport and I think that those can be counted as “qualities of the mind and soul.”

  3. maryblee Says:

    I would have to agree with the above commenters. It is often hard to distinguish between natural and physical inequalities, because often times natural inequalities are established by physical inequalities (the society decides which natural qualities to value over others). This is the case with professional athletes, we’ve decided that the ability to put a ball through a hoop is an admirable quality. However, I wouldn’t be so quick to discount the need for celebrity. While I agree, professional athletes and reality TV stars are not the best role models, and are probably overcompensated for their work, I think that they are easier to relate to than Einstein would be for many many people. Athletes, musicians and actors are also an essential part of American culture. There needs to be a balance between the more scholarly role models and the pop culture role models, and right now our society is tipped in favor of pop culture, but to do away with either one completely would be a big mistake.

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