The people who are most interested in celebrities desire to become celebrities themselves. Some stalk celebrities hoping to steal a little fame for themselves even if it means going to jail. Jail time is no impediment to celebrity status. In fact, in many cases it enhances celebrity status. Others attempt to imitate celebrities in the hope that they will reap the same rewards. This syndrome is most often seen in celebrity monsters.
Experts from the FBI frequently comment publicly that the paparazzi should refrain from publicizing monsters such as the one who recently shot 26 at a public elementary school in Connecticut. They contend that such publicity serves to inspire other wannabe monsters. Still, the paparazzi press on. We can't escape the news stories being aired daily. The perpetrator's name and face have become well known. He will live forever as the model of aberrant behavior to be emulated by others who may fear that they will not attain celebrity status unless they raise the body count.
One would hope that we would celebrate the victims and consign the perpetrator to perpetual anonymity. That is not to be. Not only are the paparazzi using the story to build ratings and income, but also ideologues are using the horror of the incident to press their agendas: Gun control, banning violence in games and entertainment, or whatever. They too help build the cache of the celebrity monster to their own purposes without regard for the damage they are causing.
It's interesting to note that the paparazzi and the ideologues don't seem to have a problem with the murders of hundreds, even thousands of children every day, occurring in cities, mostly due to gang violence. Is it possible that this horror doesn't interest them because they feel that no one would care about the loss of life of a black or Latino child? Such incidents wouldn't help their cause. But, let a monster strike in a decent neighborhood and all hell breaks loose.
It would be nice if some of the energy being expended these days to punish law abiding citizens for the act of a monster could be saved for a rational response. Do you think anyone will be interested next month? Do you think that the paparazzi will ask the tough questions? For example, someone called the authorities on the same day as the shootings in Connecticut about another potential monster, and another tragedy was averted. Why didn't someone take the time to report this kid before he became a monster? Given his problems, he was displaying enough “red flags” to form his own May Day Parade in Red Square.
Yes, I know that I've been using the term “paparazzi” to encompass the news media. It is my intention to demonstrate my lack of respect for them.
Unfortunately, the problem is unlikely to resolve itself until we learn to celebrate the deeds of heroes, the performances of entertainers, the accomplishments of sports men and women, and stop celebrating the people themselves. Remember, even the great biblical celebrities were brought low by their own foibles. Noah became a falling-down drunk. Moses so upset God that he was tantalized with the sight of the promised land but forbidden to enter it.
Everyone has feet of clay, even the greatest heroes.