This Sunday I'm going to be conducting an intimate conversation with Jon Gosselin at the West Side Jewish Center in Manhattan.
America has to start having serious conversations about fame.
Celebrity is undermining our culture; not only because so many people who attain it find that their lives have been severely disrupted, but more importantly the obsession with celebrity is pulling us away from our own lives as we focus so much more on our movie stars and television stars than even on our own marriages and our own children.
In the case of Jon Gosselin my reading of him from many conversations with him and many counseling sessions is that he's a man with a good heart who sincerely wants to correct many of the mistakes he's made having gotten carried away with fame.
I believe it when he tells me that he wants to be a moral example to his eight children and that he admits that he has made serious errors and that he requires the guidance to find his way out of the celebrity labyrinth. And lets face it, so many people are hit with fame especially when it comes overnight and they do things of which they're not proud.
Our job is not to dismiss them and ridicule them, but for those who really want to find a moral path our job is to get them to consecrate their fame and celebrity to a higher cause, to a higher purpose.
The fact is that becoming famous is a bit like winning the lottery. It could be a great blessing and one can do great things with fame--you can highlight causes of poverty, you can work hard to promote charities or you can make it about self absorption and all about you.
I have tried very hard to impress on Jon that fame is a phenomenal responsibility. That there are serious moral and ethical implications to a celebrity status and trying to be an important role model. And it is my hope that this conversation will highlight those issues and have all of us in America have a healthier relationship with celebrity.
Join us on November 1st for this intimate discussion on whether fame is a blessing or a curse, and how to turn one's fame into a higher calling.