My Celebrity Neighbor

The guys at the apartment and I were watching the ending credits of V.I.P. a little while ago and we were making comments on how pointless it was. I guess for most guys this would be a great show, beautiful women flaunting what they have to flaunt, investigating crime and always seem to need to go undercover as strippers to solve it. What more could one want? We were making fun of them though because they can’t act whatsoever and it was so cheesy watching them walk towards the camera with that “I’m so hot” strut.

For some reason one of us asked, “Is she still married to that guy?” And the conversation progressed from there. We started talking about Pamela Anderson and her marriage life and then we talked about Brittany and the Hilton girls. I hate celebrity talk, mostly because I’ve never been updated on current issues so I could never participate, but that’s beside the point. I have found that we pay so much attention to celebrities’ lives. We know how many husbands Brittany Spears has had and if she’s pregnant or not. We know who is married to whom all through Hollywood and who isn’t married to whom anymore. We know about the Olson’s psychological problems and who’s gay and lesbian. Our magazine racks are full of magazines that have nothing but inside looks at celebrity lives and our primetime shows are full of everything that you can think of to find out more about celebrities. We have TV shows about their homes, their cars, their marriages and their biographies. So not only do we admire and adore our celebrities, we admire their stuff too.

Most of us know more about the person in a magazine or in that box we call a TV than we know about our neighbor. That’s a problem. We live in a culture where we can know about no-names across the world and no nothing about the neighbor across the street. There isn’t really any point elucidating the dangers of this, I think it speaks for itself. We are loosing very quickly the meaning of community and giving power to people in our lives that are at the front of magazine covers. We find it much easier to open up a tabloid then to call our friend. We’d much rather have a few laughs at Nick and Jessica’s show then deal with our marriage and relationship issues. It’s so much more convenient to keep up to date with people that have their lives posted on every major newspaper then it is to go out with a friend and really get into their lives.

Another thing about this disease is that it’s easy. It’s easy to read about someone else and have them read nothing about you. You can know about all their deep and dark secrets and keep your own safe. You can hide. You can look at all the trouble in the world and gawk at how awful it is and it’s so easy to let your own troubles slip away. It’s easy to have a one-sided relationship with the girl on the Maxim or Rolling Stones cover. They are beautiful, smart, rich, and funny, they love long walks on the beach and love their little dog named Snowball. They have issues which are posted on all the tabloids, but its ok; they are allowed to screw-up. Besides, they are human. We can extend grace to them. We love to watch their highs and lows of life exposed, because it takes the pressure to expose our own.

The severing of our lives from the people next to us and the attachment to fake people on TV isn’t healthy. It makes us fake and excommunicated. It makes us ineffective and irrelevant to the people around us. It allows us to hide and feel safe when really it’s the most dangerous spot we could be in. We need to learn to love our neighbors. We need to learn to listen to our peers and take time and energy and invest them into relationships. We need to learn to open up ourselves, even the scariest, darkest and shaming parts. We need to be vulnerable. It’s only there where we can love and be loved, in the bareness of honesty and brokenness before each other and God. We need to learn to value friendships, even though they take more time and effort then reading a magazine. It’s time that we start being friends to those who really need it and who we really need instead of eavesdropping through TV and stalking through tabloids. It’s time that we start making our neighbors celebrities.

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