Comedian Chris Rock might have said it best “Everyone wants to be famous but nobody wants to put in the work”. Hero worship and narcissism have run amok in our society these days and it seems to be here to stay. What caused this societal mind shift from one’s worth being measured not by what you do but by what you become? How did we turn into a nation of star worshipers instead of doing things ourselves that others can look up to?
Before the days of tv and mass media, heroes mostly came from the ranks of people who actually accomplished something worthwhile or for the betterment of society. Slowly but surely, beginning with dime novels in the 1800’s heroes and role models became those individuals who did mostly nothing for the betterment of anyone but instead were made to look larger than life by writers with flamboyant imaginations.
Today’s role models are television and movie stars, athletes, rappers and rock stars. Few kids want to be a fireman, policeman or an astronaut any more. They’d rather dream of making it big in movies or on television. Star worship has moved into the mainstream consciousness to the point young people actually believe they can become a star or a nationally known athlete simply by being pretty or handy with a basketball. Unfortunately, the large majority will never see stardom of any kind. They will go on to be clerks, stockers and have other, more mundane careers. Everyone wants to be famous but nobody wants to put in the work.
Eventually our society asked what can be done to broaden the possibility that any person might become rich and famous simply by virtue of their existence. Enter YouTube and social networking on the web. All of a sudden, everyone on Facebook is a star! Even if your claim to fame is showing off your butt or delighting everyone with a picture of your lunch you can become well known and maybe make some money too. We finally figured out how to be famous without putting in the work… good ol’ Yankee ingenuity.
There are many reasons why people on tv and in movies are better than you… it’s freakin’ hard work! Effectively giving away your right to privacy, working unbelievably long hours, often terrible working conditions, constantly away from home and family, all these things are easily overlooked by the average Joe in favor of the glamour and glitz we see on our television and movie screens. Making movies and television shows is not all it’s cracked up to be. Yes, it is lucrative when you can get work. Yes, it is glamorous sometimes. The harsh reality is that it is very, very hard work and the competition is fierce for those few “star” jobs.
So the next time you get to daydreaming about being a star, just remember… someone has to be in the audience. Odds are it will be you.