This morning, I asked Google the question, “Why do we care about celebrities?” I found several online answers as I read this article and this one, too. As I expected, the articles cited empathy, the need to connect, and an antidote to loneliness. Both mentioned positive and negative aspects of caring about celebrities.
Personally, I’ve noticed my caring about celebrities ever since I cried uncontrollably at my school locker when Bobby Kennedy was shot in 1968. In retrospect, I think that sobbing was
- a collective response to all the assassinations in the 60’s,
- empathy for his children (I remember that being my main thought at the time), and
- a “safer” and more distanced way to feel my grief about some personal losses, including my many hospitalizations, operations, and unexamined traumas due to my heart problems.
Since then, I have deeply cared about other celebrities, including Gene Kelly, the Beatles, Davy Jones, Mel Brooks, Pat Metheny, Bonnie Raitt, Jackie Chan, Prince, Clay Aiken, Stephen Sondheim, and many more. I have theories about why I’ve cared about each one of those people, who are all musical, funny and/or underdogs and who somehow speak to something in me. For example, I “figured out” my obsession with Jackie Chan — who often creatively uses common props at hand as he fights off many people with his martial arts and acrobatic skills — when I realized that I had an image of myself grabbing an I.V. pole when I was a kid in the hospital and fighting off people there to escape from the pain I experienced. Also, more simply, Gene Kelly looks like my my father, whom I miss every day. And Clay Aiken, who was an underdog on American Idol, has a clear, soaring tenor voice, as did my dad.
I am also thinking about this question because my son Aaron, my husband Michael, and I finished watching “The Beatles: Get Back” last night, and I was noticing (1) how the Beatles are so familiar to me that they feel like friends or family and (2) I couldn’t look at John Lennon without thoughts and feelings about his murder in 1980.
Do you see caring about celebrities in my images for today?
Do you care about St. Nicholas and other celebrities?
Here’s John Lennon and “Imagine.”
I am grateful for all those — celebrities and otherwise — whom I’ve cared about, including YOU.