I've recently moved from Canada to Los Angeles, and it wasn't just to escape the suffocating comforts of family, friends and income. I was also running toward something. Toward the cultural heartbeat of western civilization: celebrities.
Celebrity culture is human evolution in full flower, and nowhere is it more fragrant than Hollywood. This city reeks of glamour, from the heady bouquet of that one actor from CSI microwaving a burrito at 7-11, to the earthy tang of George Clooney's front hedges that he warns you to stop smelling.
Some anti-fametics say all this celebrity celebrating has led to a culture of narcissism, a criticism I assume they're directing at me personally and which I vowed into my mirror gilded with golden snakes to make them pay for one day. The fact is, the impulse to idolize people is a normal, natural part of our psyches. It's not healthy to deny our deepest mammalian instincts, which is why I blindly follow leaders, bite people who make me feel scared, and chase my tail with genuine conviction.
And consider all the benefits celebrities bestow on us. They're like free life coaches, who teach us how to style our hair, which sensitive racial issues to go on expletive-laden rants about, and how to forbid our servants from making eye contact with us.
Tinseltotalers take issue with the way celebrities use their fame to influence public policy. But why shouldn't they have influence? Maybe celebrities don't get "votes" in the traditional sense, but don't we "vote" for Cuba Gooding Jr. every time we rewatch Snow Dogs? Don't we elect Kevin Bacon every time we elect not to ignore him? Don't we say "yea" for the cast of True Blood every time we say "yea, I guess there's nothing else on?"
Who is going to care for the world's problems if famous people don't draw attention to them? I had never even heard of Haiti until Kirstie Alley tweeted "I goin Haiti mabee goodnite" Celebrities make tragedy sexy, and supporting their cause makes us feel sexy by association. Just yesterday I donated $50 to Oprah's Angel Network, put on some leather pants and sang a shirtless medley of Boyz II Men songs on my balcony. And some celebrities are so generous, so overcome with love for poor countries, that they pilfer their babies and keep them away from those hellholes forever.
But the biggest benefit of our celebrity culture is spiritual. Traditional religions have been in decline for decades, and fame has taken their place at the alter, finally bringing the glitz back to worshiping. Fame has great rituals (politely tolerating Billy Crystal musical numbers) and hymns (the Friends theme song), and sectarian strife is very rare (with the exception of the 1998 Hard Rock Café intifada in which two Aerosmithians were killed by shrapnel from a David Bowie wig).
Celebrity culture embodies our most noble values and it's ultimately the best thing for the common good. Because once all seven billion of us are properly motivated to become rich and famous ourselves, we can live together in a lasting and sexy peace, eating fancy brunches and staring at each other's beautiful faces until our eyes dry out.
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