May 17, 2018
I am admittedly obsessed with keeping up with the lives of my favorite celebrities, musicians, models, professional athletes, professional chefs1, etc. Through a group project in my Political Thought2 class this semester in which we theorized our ideal society, I realized that accumulation of excessive wealth has no place in my ideal society. It seems my criticism of excessive wealth accumulation is incongruent with my stan3 behavior for these very celebrities.
In regular English: by idolizing and effectively dehumanizing my favorite celebrities I am creating rationale for their obscene wealth. There’s a concept in psychology known as the ‘just-world hypothesis’ which claims that when we see something bad happening to someone our quick response is to assume they did something to deserve it.
Inversely when we something good happening to someone, we assume they deserve it. This hypothesis holds that we believe life is generally fair in the results of peoples’ lives.
I do think that a lot of people who have achieved fame for beautiful singing or incredible physical strength are extremely hard-working at their crafts, and deserve recognition for performing better than others at what they do. It is important to note, though, that not everyone who is incredibly hardworking and above average in their field gets the recognition they may deserve.
Not all success is based off of merit, and neither is all failure. I do not think that the appropriate method of recognition is to get paid massive amounts of money.
Yet when I see pictures of Young Thug and Lil Uzi Vert posing adorably on the floor of a Chanel showroom wearing easily $100,000 in clothing and accessories each, I’m not upset4.
It’s because they seem so extraordinary to me because of their fame and I am also a huge fan. So the extraordinary experiences they share online seem correct and normal.
It seems right for them to wear $1,000 sneakers, $1,000 rings, and $20,000 chains. I accept it. We have normalized celebrities accumulation of excessive wealth because we fail to normalize their identities.
Does Robert Downey Jr. deserve $200 million for his role as Iron Man in Infinity War and Avengers 4?
The debate is: Do they get too much money for it? I really don’t know.
I just know that as of 2018, the top one percent of global citizens, hold more than 30 percent of the worlds wealth5. That’s disgusting and abhorrent to me. Overpaid celebrities are absolutely an aspect of that.
I feel like the real enemy is actually corporate entities who are in the billions and beyond category. But the wealthy celebrities are definitely an issue, too.
Anyways, I am buying tickets on presale tomorrow to see Drake on my 21st birthday and I have been listening to “More Life”6 while writing this.
1 In reference to Gordon Ramsay, iconic host of primetime cooking challenge shows MasterChef and Hell’s Kitchen.
2 Shout out to instructor of this course, Associate Professor of Policial Science Carly Foster.
3 Stan (noun/verb): referencing rapper Eminem’s song “Stan” (2000) which is about an overly obsessed fan. Etymology of “stan” is the combination of “stalker” and “fan.” i.e. I stan Aubrey “Drake” Graham.
4 See post from Instagram user @thuggerthugger1 on May 11, 2018.
5 See World Inequality Report 2018 presentation slide 56.
6 More Life is Aubrey “Drake” Graham’s 2017 playlist album featuring incredible masterpieces such as “Teenage Fever” and “Get It Together ft. Black Coffee and Jorja Smith.”