Blog Feature

By: Jennifer Devitt on September 15th, 2013

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The Presence of Technology in Pop Culture and How It Has Changed Everything


So with all of the controversy surrounding Miley Cyrus and the VMA's and blah blah blah (don't worry, this isn't about that), there is something that screams at me through the smokescreen of what is physically happening in situations like these.

Child stars growing up in today's world have most of their personal lives exposed from who they're dating, where they went shopping, what grades they got in school, how much weight they've gained or how they're too skinny. Boys and girls both. The girls seem to get hammered in the media more frequently than the boys, but I'm not going to touch that one right now. The point I want to make with this post is that the constant presence of the public eye allowed by technology is obviously grating on the psyche of these stars. Smartphones hooked up to the internet show us the inner happenings at parties. Kids are (hopefully) banned from smartphone use inside locker rooms at schools. Anything can have a picture taken of it and immediately be on the internet. Forever.

So we have to be careful. I don't have much sympathy for people who get caught doing stupid things, or people who intentionally put their lives in the public spectrum (looking at you, Kardashians). It is each person's responsibility to carry themselves with class and dignity; if those in the tabloids aren't then maybe you shouldn't be reading the tabloids. The only reason tabloids exist is to exploit the lives of people having troubles or who can't seem to contain themselves because for some reason people care about what's happening to celebrities. You can watch their lives on reality television or hear what they've named their kids; shouldn't you be talking to your neighbors about your own lives or doing things to make you better at what you do rather than turning off your brain and staying up to date with the latest celeb adoption?

I understand the entertainment value it must hold for some, otherwise the industry wouldn't exist. But I can't help but think that these shows monopolize on members of society with low self-esteem who want to think that their lives either "aren't that different" or "aren't as messed up" as the lives of celebrities. I think the philosophical motive behind those shows is to raise the assumed connectivity between the general American citizen and the stars that they have a mysterious psychological need to connect with.

So the stars end up doing things that make headlines. Don't forget - they're selling something, too: themselves. The longer and more intensely they are seen in the public eye, the more visible they are and the more money they make. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Tom Cruise is not a great actor. But he's in everything. Why? Let's see; who would you consider more famous: Tom Cruise or Daniel Day-Lewis? Tom Cruise or Javier Bardem? Maybe in movie buff circles, Day-Lewis or Bardem would get the nod, but talent does not lead to fame. So Tom Cruise is chosen for movies because of his visibility. That's a personal decision of his to remain in the tabloids, remain in the public eye because of the impact it has had on his career.

Where it is more unfortunate is what I was initially addressing (sorry for that rant there). So many child stars have grown up in front of the camera and the paparazzi that they lose control. Names aren't necessary; we know which stars have melted down (because they've been chronicled by the media). I personally find it hard to sympathize with them because they do sometimes make choices with how to cope that can be unsavory, but I can tell you one thing it helped me realize: be careful with how you act and what you do when you are in public and with what you are allowing online. Those things don't disappear.