Celebrity Culture’s Impact in America:

Positive or Negative?
By: Nicky Matteucci

            It’s someone surviving in the wilderness of a remote area
fighting to stay alive, it’s a group of young people in city setting where drugs
and sex can be seen all the time, and it’s a world where people are surviving a
Zombie Apocalypse. It is celebrity culture, and it can literally be seen
everywhere in the United States..through many television stations, on the news
about what the latest celebrities are doing, in public places where people are
talking about what happened last night on the “Walking Dead,” in advertisements
all over the country where a celebrity “absolutely loves” a product, and more.
Obviously, celebrity culture has a large impact on the entire United States, but
is it a positive inspiring influence, or is it a negative influence dangerous to
society? I believe celebrity culture can have a positive influence on American
society, but the negatives are more prevalent, and affect more lives in

            First, one of the major problems with
celebrity culture is that it causes a rise in Narcissism, which can cause loads
of other problems. Narcissism is a fixation with oneself.  Now,
I know most would believe, “Yeah it’s obvious celebrities are selfish,” and you
would be right. This is quite obvious with that crazy “Honey Boo-Boo child” who
claims “I am a superstar because I do pageants,” and she is very cocky about how
she feels she will always win. It’s more than just the “Honey Boo-Boo child”
though, and the narcissistic traits can be seen all throughout celebrities. The
problem is millions are exposed to these self centered people daily. Dr. Drew
Pinsky and Dr. Mark Young, two Ph.D. college graduates who recently studied and
tested celebrities, found nearly all of the celebrities they tested were, in
fact, narcissistic. Apparently these celebrities have not recently started being
narcissistic either, but have been so most of their lives. Dr. Drew gives
evidence of this by explaining, “The main thing we proved also is there was all
the sort of speculation that being a celebrity caused narcissistic traits… we
put that to rest once and for all. We showed there was no relationship between
the degree of narcissism, and the amount of time someone has been a celebrity.”
(Pinsky). This shows that the majority of celebrities are very selfish,
unsympathetic people who mainly care about themselves. Yet we allow these very
uncaring people to become famous and succeed in their goal of everything being
about them. It is not good that many of the most well-known people in society
are very selfish people who are awful role models. Some may ask, “So what, why
does it matter if they are narcissistic?” Well the problem is many are following
the actions of these celebrities because they do not know who else to imitate
when they are in bad situations. Dr. Drew explains this when he states, "The
most vulnerable in our society look at these behaviors, [narcissistic behaviors
from celebrities] and when kids are deregulated ... and you know we have a lot
of destroyed families in our country, and the kids who are deregulated
emotionally start looking for solutions to those problems, they look toward the
culture for those solutions, and the kinds of things they see celebrities doing
are some of those solutions, which of course even become more problematic."
(Pinsky). This quote is referring to kids seeing these prominent behaviors in
celebrities, wanting to be like them, and doing some of the bad things that they
do, even if they are illegal. This causes many problems because now you have
more kids that want to act like narcissistic celebrities who can be teach many
very awful lessons. And let’s be honest we could do well with fewer "Snookies"
on this planet.  In summary,
celebrities and celebrity culture can lead to narcissism, and that causes an
abundance of problems within a society. 

            Another problem with celebrity culture is it causes people to forget
about what’s right and wrong, or what morals we have known in our history.   Now it’s pretty obvious in shows
like the “Jersey Shore” where people do whatever they want in front of an
audience of millions, but according to Kimberlee
Salmond, who has a large role in the Girl Scouts of America’s research program,
many teens, and especially girls, are thinking the things they see on reality TV
are tolerable in our society. She explains this when she states on NPR, “Girls
who watch a lot of reality TV are much more likely to say things like gossiping
is normal between girls. They're much more likely to say that it's in girls'
nature to be catty and competitive with one another, and they're less likely to
trust other girls.”(Salmond). This shows that girls who are exposed to the
things people do on reality TV may think those things actually are acceptable in
our society; they are changing what the average teen feels is alright. This is
very bad because now we are living in a society where these bad morals are
becoming a part of society, and our society has stooped so low as to believe
gossip and cattiness are just normal parts of life. And a major cause is reality
TV and celebrity culture. Reality TV unfortunately goes beyond just girls
thinking gossip is perfectly fine, it tricks people into thinking much worse
things are perfectly satisfactory and regular in America. Linda Holmes, a worker
in NPR’s pop culture blog called MonkeySee (which stands for Monkey
see, monkey do) talks about even worse influences the popular culture is having
on teens when she explains, “You don't want to be the uncool person who doesn't
  know what the show is about and then you watch it and you get sucked in and you
  thinking this is real. You think that people get drunk and hook up and do all
  kinds of wild things and fight with each other in bars…” (Holmes). This is
creating more issues because if many Americans think people do all of these
things all of the time, this all of the sudden makes people feel that drugs,
alcohol, sex, and more is perfectly fine for all Americans. This is a huge
problem because our country has lots of problems with drugs and alcohol, so the
last thing we need is celebrities endorsing awful things that teenagers believe
they should go by, and it is starting to have prevalent effect on society. To
sum it all up, celebrity culture, especially reality TV, is giving people a bad
idea of things what’s acceptable in society.

             Still, although there are lots of problems with celebrity culture, it

does have some benefits to a society. One major thing is that it really unifies
the country and brings all people together by giving people things they can talk
about, and express their feeling about, with nearly anyone. All races, wealth
classes, ages, and more can be brought together to talk about what happened last
night on American Idol, and who they absolutely want to win it all. Neal Gabler
winner of the “Los
Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography” and member of the “National Honors
Society” explains this well when he describes, “Celebrity is one of the few
things that still crosses all lines.” (Gabler). What this means is that
celebrity culture includes everyone who watches it. Whether it’s a 50 year old
professor who moved from China when he was ten, or an extremely wealthy
Australian who is the CEO of a large corporation and lives in America, reality
TV and celebrities bring everyone together into a group where anyone one can
join, and feel they are a part of society. It also goes against all segregation
because any race gender, size, and shape of person is allowed to be a part of
what is going on and can feel equal. Another good thing about it is it can teach
lessons to people, and show others the way to go. For example, you can see the
cons of having all the attention on you if you mess up and the whole country
sees it happen, and literally millions of people lose respect for you. Or it can
show people the consequences if you do certain things (Lindsey Lohan can be a
great example here). Gabler gives a good detailed analysis on this when he
simplifies “…The wages of sin, the punishment for hubris, the draw backs from
fame as well as its blessing, the risk of losing yourself and the exhilaration
of finding yourself, and perhaps above all, the things that really matter in
life and the things that don’t…” (Gabler). This goes over nearly all the lessons
that many can learn from celebrity culture. It shows that celebrity culture can
have a positive effect on millions as well as a negative effect. These lessons
can be used to better help ourselves for the future and help us understand many
  psychological things. To close, celebrity culture has a respectable side to it
  as well, even though it is sometimes hard to see with all of the negatives it

             Celebrity culture, for the most part, has a negative effect on society
but it can have a positive aspect to it, too. To begin, celebrity culture causes
narcissism or obsession with oneself, which is the root cause of many other
problems. Additionally, it influences many to change what they think is
unhealthy or awful for a society in general. Yet finally, celebrity culture can
also unite a country and teach many important life lessons. In conclusion, even
though there are inspiring things celebrity culture can bring to enhance our
society, people like Snooky detract from that and, unfortunately, can cripple
our society.