March 7, 2011

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

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.

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