Why we should “deign” to think, talk & write about celebrities.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Mar 7, 2011
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Celebrity Commentary? Really?

We can cover this stuff without becoming it—without becoming a TMZ.

Are celebrities the modern equivalent of local leaders who we all know, or demigods in the Greek tradition, whose faults and foibles—and brilliance—is an example, positive or negative, to all of us? Can we contemplate without judging or becoming mired in gossip? Tiger Blood!

We don’t do it often—it’s maybe .01% of our editorial content. But, from time to time, when a celeb’s name becomes suddenly ubiquitous, we do.

And, as editor, that’s just fine with me. I may not read People or US or watch TMZ or any of that stuff. I don’t personally care. (Charlie Sheen doesn’t care, either).

I care about changing the world for the better, and do respect the few celebs I see really work for great causes: Redford, Natalie Portman, Clooney, Pitt n’Jolie. That’s what I myself aim to do—to garner enough influence (not, in my case, fame) to be of some real benefit to a world in need.

But I don’t mind our writers contemplating the meaning of the ups and downs of celebs like Tiger Woods or Mr. Sheen. It may seem tacky.

But caring about meaning isn’t caring about gossip. We do not care about gossip, nor should we.

Still, it’s natural for We the People to consider our celebrities (or in the old days, demi gods or heroes) as examples of human greatness and foibles, both—and learn from them. In such a vast civilization, now, these celebs are akin to well known community members who all of us know in our little hometown. They’re the only ones we can talk to one another about, argue about, no matter how farflung our family and friends are.

Kris’ contemplation (criticized above, in two Facebook complaints by readers who likely didn’t read his article before commenting) is worthy, I think, and brings any judgment back onto himself and us readers.

And it certainly doesn’t stop us from covering truly important world events—in this case Tunisia, Libya, Wisconsin or Egypt, the last two of which we’ve covered extensively. If you or anyone you know who reads elephant would like to contribute, just email us your story idea.

~ Waylon Lewis, ed.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


6 Responses to “Why we should “deign” to think, talk & write about celebrities.”

  1. Johnie Matthews says:

    Gossiping about someone you don't know personally can be a thrill b/c judging others to make oneself better. Intelligent people talk about ideas rather than other people. I get caught up in character assissination, most of us do.

  2. Kris Nelson says:

    Waylon, thank you for the support. I love working with you and writing for Elephant Journal.

    And, importantly, as you point out, the post isn't about Charlie Sheen, or celebrity gossip, or yoga per se… it's about something much deeper.

    Love & Wishes,


  3. elephantjournal says:

    I agree—but I don't think Kris was indulging in gossip, but rather contemplating someone's path, in view of our own paths. ~ W

  4. A couple of points:

    First, that image of the greek gods came from my favorite book as a kid: "D'aulaires Book of Greek Myths". I highly recommend to any parent to get for their children.

    Second, I've been an editor (and owner) of several media sites. Celebrities (particularly blondes) get pageviews. but as a reader and aspiring spiritual practitioner I try to avoid any gossip.

  5. TheBuddhaWay says:

    I read the key pieces in question and had attempted to post a comment earlier today (and was prevented by being both logged out and erased from your site's login memory. As of this moment, I seem to be reinstated and have no way to know if this was intentional (the pay up to re-register sign was on at the time so I can only assume not)–or possibly, in fact, some kinf of an technical error.

    The the entirety of my comments were then posted here for the curious: http://buddhawayzen.wordpress.com/2011/03/07/how-