NOTES OF A GRUMPY OLD MAN: The Cult of Celebrity

Taylor Swift on the Cover of US Taylor Swift on the Cover of US

“TAYLOR HAS A TIGHT END,” the headlines scream. The Internet, magazines, and tabloids are all ghoulishly drooling, watching the romance between pop star Taylor Swift and Kansas City Chief’s football player Travis Kelce unfold.




And my favorite: “T & T ARE DYNAMITE IN BED” (ok, I made that one up…)

The American media (second only to the Brits for mindless gossip) has uncovered the perfect couple.  What better news than a love affair between a rugged, all-American beefcake-sport star and a cute-as-a button Diva with those slanted eyes who looks like the proverbial cat that swallowed the canary. (Ok, I’ll stop with the similes before venturing into the ribald.) My favorite ones are those engineered by the tabloids showing Swift jumping up and down with excitement, hugging her beau’s mother, a homely woman (thus providing dramatic contrast to Swift’s beauty), during a football game. Fueled by the media frenzy, Kelce (an above average athlete and a rather pedestrian personality) added 325,000 Instagram followers in a week and his account has surpassed 3 million. His #87 jersey saw a 400% spike in sales after Swift appeared at a Chief’s game recently.

Show me the honey, and I’ll show you the money.

Isn’t it pathetic how obsessed we are with celebrities? Why do we need to compare our looks, our achievements, and our lives with theirs? The saddest thing is what happens to young women who desperately compare themselves to Taylor Swift, inevitably finding themselves falling short. They are doomed to think that they are losers, incapable of finding true love or fulfillment just because they don’t live a glamorous lifestyle or have the talent of the superstar. Furthermore, their view of men is clouded by the superficiality of Kelce’s looks, fortune, and fame, believing that the man of their dreams should be like him, leading to relationships destined to fail.

And it is not their fault, for the media has fed them a lie from the time they were young enough to view a screen. It is that youth is all that matters, that money is the source of true happiness, and that relationships happen in that magically constructed fairy tale of the Prince Charming suddenly appearing to slip that jersey over their heads while they stand, bold and empowered as mistresses of their own destiny and fortunes, superstars in their own right. Like Taylor Swift, they want to be seen as perfect, sexy, rich and, above all, idolized by the millions. With such an image to contend with daily in the mirror, it is no wonder that the glass will quickly shatter.

I’m not suggesting that this is entirely Swift’s fault, for she too is the victim and scapegoat of the bitch goddess called Fame. More power to her for pursuing her dream of stardom, for gaining wealth and fame, but at the end of the day will this sustain her? What will happen as she ages and is no longer on top of the charts? What about the men who obsess over her and desire her, and the women who try to mimic her look and allure? Will they still adore her then? Furthermore, will she still be with Travis when he is old with a beer belly, watching Monday Night Football, dreaming of his former glory, in a wife-beater T-shirt with pee stains on his underwear? And her, the sag of her years outlined by stretch marks and drooping breasts? Will they hold hands, smile lovingly at each other as they stroll gently into the twilight of their years?

No, of course not, for we also know that this glitter of a relationship is doomed to failure.  I would bet that she will once again be single in less than a year and write yet another hit song about the demise of their relationship.

The paparazzi and the talk show hosts are already primed to deconstruct their breakup as a tearful Taylor gets set to live another stage of her lonely life.

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