Have you ever considered that if aliens came to earth, presumably unable to
read, based on media imagery alone, they would likely conclude that Kim
Kardashian, Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga were some sort of deities – and have no
idea whatsoever who people like Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins or Mother
I can just imagine how official introductions would go
KK: “Like, it’s soooo chill that you guys totally made the trip to
our awesome planet! It’s amaaaazing here! Oh my God – you look just like my
stepdad Bruce, except you’re three feet shorter and have no hair or ears! Do you
guys have an agent yet? Mom, you have to see this! Call Seacrest NOW!!
don’t mind all the cameras following me around – they film everything I do
because I’m a star – like in the sky, where you came from. Oh my God! It’s like
we’re already connected! That’s sooooo… cosmic!
“I made a ‘private’ video a
while back, and became the biggest star in the world after everyone saw it and
found out how talented I am. Now little girls everywhere want to be just like
me! Cool, right? It’s totally a big responsibility shaping young minds, but I
like to give back, you know?
“Also, I’m in Tyler Perry’s new movie, so
pleeeeeeeease check that out before you leave. OK? I’m soooooo nervous about it
and need all the support I can get, especially from a new demographic like you
Do you guys get E! on your planet?
“Also, like totally ignore
Khloe, OK? She’s being such a bitch today! I hate you, Khloe! You’re fat!”
JB: “Whoah! You guys are soooo cool looking! Wanna be in my next video? We’d
totally save tons of money on CGI effects! Mom, call Seacrest NOW!
like Gummy Bears, Cheetos, Slim Jims or Red Bull? I got plenty to go around…
It’s in my contract’s rider clause, so don’t be shy, dawgs. Oh yeah – just in
case, I got some green M&Ms and taffy over there by that pink
“Also, I totally hope that alien fathers and boyfriends
treat their daughters and girls right on your planet, because if they don’t I’m
soooo gonna write a song about it to expose you and let all the Martian
daughters and girlfriends out there know that I care about them, too. So don’t
push me, a-wight?
“Hey! You guys wanna smell my new perfume, eat Pop Rocks, then
shoot some hoops?”
(Note to readers: I omitted Lady Gaga dialogue because
I simply have no idea what she might say, even under normal circumstances.)
WOODY ALLEN once said that you can tell a lot about a society based on whom they
celebrate. If that’s true, then I think it’s fair to say that we have more
problems than a high-school math book.
Look, I’m sure Justin’s a great
kid and that Kim K. – when she’s not attending the opening of an envelope – has
some really nice qualities. (As for Lady Gaga, again, I just don’t know.)
the bottom line is that the disproportionate attention and compensation these
people receive is profoundly disturbing – and debilitating to the evolution of
meaningful discourse, thought, culture and our general future – on multiple
Indeed, more often than not, life imitates what passes for “art.”
This being the case, all things considered, we’re getting perilously close to
creating a generation that emulates people who should be little more than a
mediocre punch line.
LISTEN, I’M not trying to be a sanctimonious bore,
and genuinely appreciate the need for doses of entertaining escapism – even
mindless stupidity – in a time when reality is less than appealing.
enjoy Farrelly Brothers movies, Beavis & Butthead
, UFC sporting events and
bush-league magazines as much as the next guy. In fact, when I was a kid,
I would have sold my soul to the devil in a heartbeat to have traded places with
The Fonz, Mr. T or Luke Skywalker. Hell, maybe even Chewbacca. But that
was normal back then. (Except for maybe the Chewbacca thing. What can I say? I
However, as an adult, I realize the importance of prioritizing
and sharing elevated thought, and therefore find it alarming how many other
adults live in an otherwise arrested state of development propagated by the
media – which actively attempts to raise vacuity to high art by hero-worshipping
individuals with no utilitarian value beyond their highly lucrative titillation
and shock value.
Meanwhile, the true heroes of society – teachers,
scientists, writers, humanitarians, mathematicians, stay-at-home moms, social
activists, etc. – who should rightly be elevated to celebrity status, barely
make a living, have their inspiring stories routinely relegated to the back
pages of newspapers and magazines (if they’re there at all) and live in
complete, unappreciated anonymity.
PERSONALLY I always judged the true
value and talent of people based on how their work would endure if they somehow
became disfigured or physically handicapped.
For example, let’s say the
tragic aforementioned scenario occurred to the highest-paid, most famous
celebrities in the world – mostly actors, athletes, models and pop
My guess is that the vast majority would be out of work within
The same cannot be said about the millions of hard-working men
and women who use their minds instead of their aesthetic appeal to make a
living. Indeed, their physical appearance has virtually no bearing on their
contributions to society, and they know that outlandish behavior only devalues
In my humble opinion, no one engenders the notion of mind
over matter more than the awe-inspiring Hawking, and every man, woman and child
on the planet should know who he is.
UNTIL INDIVIDUALS like Hawking and
the countless nameless and faceless role models out there are elevated to the
social strata of Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian, et al, we are destined to raise a
generation of fame-seekers who believe that success can be quantified by Nielsen
points and physical perfection.
Perhaps it’s time for a massive paradigm
shift, where those at the top of the pyramid of success are celebrated for their
contributions to society, not their exploitation of it.
If things don’t
change soon, we may run the risk of a generational epidemic defined by
self-aggrandizing people who refer to themselves in the third person.
least, that’s what Daniel K. Eisenbud email@example.com