29
Jul
08

On air: Does fame come with responsibility?

Steve in Virginia was Night Editing the Talking Points page on the blog after the show, and while he was doing it news came through that Amy Winehouse had once again been taken to hospital (she’s back home now). It started a far broader discussion about role models who never asked to be one.

Steve wrote ‘I never thought Amy Winehouse would make it even to 30. She’s unfortunately a role model for girls. She’s causing a lot of damage.’ And that last sentence has highlighted a debate that seems to be going on in many countries.

Do the biggest stars of sport, music, film and TV have a responsibility to those who look up to them? Even if they didn’t ask to be a role model, do they need to accept that’s happened?

Does Amy Winehouse’s rock’n’roll lifestyle inspire others to live in the same way, and if it does, should that be something that concerns her?

Is she really ‘causing’ any damage to anyone other than herself?

Or are stars quite within their rights to point out they’ll live however they please? They’ve not achieved fame because of their beliefs about how to live (as religious and political leaders have), so if there’s no hypocrisy what business is it of ours?


121 Responses to “On air: Does fame come with responsibility?”


  1. 1 steve
    July 29, 2008 at 14:03

    I do believe they don’t view themselves as role models, it’s that others view them that way. I remember Charles Barkley once went on TV and said, “I’m a basketball player, not a role model”. I think parents need to do a better job. My role model is my dad. His sister was a lot older than him, got married, and moved away, and my dad had a blind father, and a mother in an era when women didn’t work. So my dad put himself through college, and law school, while supporting his parents. That’s a far better role model than someone who goes to the hospital ever other week due to lifestyle “choices”.

  2. 2 Justin from Iowa
    July 29, 2008 at 14:05

    I like the saying from spiderman, cheesy as it is: WIth great power comes great responsability. And fame is a form of power.

  3. 3 steve
    July 29, 2008 at 14:09

    Also, think about how society enables rolemodels to make poor choices. Winehouse got rich off of her “Rehab” song, and Rehab is exactly where she belongs if she wants to even life to middle age. Instead, she got rich off of it, and likely uses the money to buy the drugs that lands her in the hospital. Don’t we also have a responsibility to not enable people?

  4. 4 Gudmundur Arnar Kr.
    July 29, 2008 at 14:19

    I don’t think fame comes with any increase in responsibility (moral or social or otherwise) – but I think media responsibility is relevant here.
    We only learn about what happens with celebrities because some media outlet is reporting it. We’ve all seen how far the media goes – sometimes invading the privacy of these celebrities (mainly the paparazzi photographers).
    Media outlets in turn are only driven by what sells, and so the responsibility comes full circle to ourselves.
    I guess the bottom line is don’t buy tabloids…

  5. July 29, 2008 at 14:27

    I am with Steve on this one. Famous people do not come with responsibility. Parents do. Many people are famous because of their poor judgment. “Simple Life” would not have made it through the first season if it wasn’t for a certain video tape. Rock and hip hop stars are synonymous with “bad life choices”. The problem is that as animals attempting to ensure our prosperity and spreading our seed in a society that values power and money above all other attributes, famous people are present examples of both. So our instinct is to emulate them.

  6. July 29, 2008 at 14:27

    You have to remember that these entertainers are humans just like everyone else. They have flaws and make mistakes. You cannot expect a person in such a position to be everyone’s role model because nobody is perfect.

    Also I think people should be smart enough not to follow an entertainer’s destructive behavior.

  7. 7 Angela in Washington D.C.
    July 29, 2008 at 14:28

    I agree with Steve. Parents should be teach their children the proper way to act and to have respect for themselves. My role models are both of my parents. My father was in the service and served his country and died. My mother worked while I was younger but after my father passed, she focused all of her energy on my brother and myself. I respect the fact that my mother forsake some of her interests to focus on us.

    Celebrities are people and people have problems and make mistakes. However, their mistakes are publicized for everyone to see. It is hard to ask people to monitor the way they act because people mey want to be like them because they just want to live their life.

    Amy Winehouse needs help but she doesn’t want it. It is easy for other people to tell her she needs to stop, but she has to want to stop and she obviously loves to party and engage in less than acceptable behavior.

  8. 8 Melanie Chassen
    July 29, 2008 at 14:31

    At the bottom of the “Talking Points 29 July” I spoke at length about this. I won’t re-post it here but the main points were:

    * what exactly are celebrities modeling for young children? Is it just a popularity contest? Aren’t there better role models out there (or at least more attainable ones?)

    * A reminder that celebrities are still human beings that make mistakes and do stupid things. To a certain extent it’s a shame that their mistakes are broadcasted for everyone to see. The example I gave was if a celebrity were to cheat on their partner the whole world knows about it (not literally the whole world, but you know what I’m getting at) Unfortunately, within the society of all of us ‘regular’ people, things like this happen all the time. This is not in any way excusing the poor choices some famous poeple have made, but simply a statement that nobody’s perfect, not even the people we idolize.

  9. July 29, 2008 at 14:32

    Why should the famous be responsible? So many are in fact role models of irresponsibility. But the whole “role model” bit should be looked at more closely and should not be encouraged. But that would mean revising the entire approach to “education”.

    Malc
    Berlin

  10. July 29, 2008 at 14:33

    Since it is very often the most irresponsible views, activities and practices that catapult many people to fame, I can’t see how those could be coupled to expectations regarding reponsibility.

    The onus is not, in my view, on famous people to play the role of role models. It’s up to individuals to decide who their role models might be, and who to see in the opposite light.

    Best of all is to avoid the whole role model syndrome and simply go along with old Polonius in his dotage : This above all, to thine own self be true…etc.

    When my daughter asked me who I thought a good role model might be, I suggested M. Tullius Cicero. For one thing, you have to work damned hard at your Latin before you can even access his role model qualities, and by that time you’ve learned so much about gravitas, dignitas, humanitas etc., that De Officiis can only provide more of the same.

    And then ask yourself, did Cicero behave responsibly?

  11. 11 Vijay Srao
    July 29, 2008 at 14:43

    Does fame come with responsibility?
    It depends,one should not expect anything from artists except their art.
    If the pope or the head of FIA were involved in an orgy with sado masachist overtones ofcourse it would be irresponsible.
    A higher standard is expected from a monarch,religous leader ,politician or community leader .
    Although sportsmen, Jesse Owens(Athletics) and Jackie Robinson(Baseball) were rolemodels for “their people”,because their achievements had political impact .

  12. July 29, 2008 at 14:46

    No.Fame does not come with personality,it comes as aresult of harwork,dedications and commitmments!

  13. 13 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    July 29, 2008 at 14:53

    Hi WHYSers!

    @ Justin from Iowa,

    I will not go out on a limb on this one, but that line from Spiderman is a version of the line from the Bible – “to whom much is given, much is expected…”. I think there is some philosopher (?) who also said those words!

    That said, I do believe there is responsibility for every action/ choices made, regardless of who you are. However, I am just not so sure what that is, in terms of celebrities. How one chooses to act, ultimately, is one’s own perogative. It would be our fervent wish that celebrities would recognise the impact of their actions on others, but alas, not all of them do!

  14. 14 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    July 29, 2008 at 14:57

    @ Vijay,

    But is not the experience of sports a little different, especially in a context where national and cultural ideology are involved? To the extent that sportsmen like Charles Barkley, as Steve notes above, see themselves as athletes first, could that not be read as a political revolt against oppressive notions of propriety which are placed mostly on these characters and not others in the community? Truth is, athletes and celebrities are people too! We expect that people will make mistakes, should not famous people have that same expectation of “mercy” from us when they muck up?

  15. July 29, 2008 at 14:57

    Celebrities have their ups and downs like anyone. Their talents make them a success to emulate and get inspired by. They become public property as their private lives become a public concern. However the public should be responsible for their own action. They shouldn’t blindly follow their favourite stars. This amounts to total enslavement to them and to the lack of having independent judgement.

    Celebrities like Amy Winehouse show that fame isn’t without a price. They have to struggle to have a balanced life through destructive means like drugs. Amy Winehouse remains a role model that keeps her fans worried about her because she has so far failed to take a responsible decision to carry a normal life without (excessive) use of drugs.

    Her songs make people happy, but she, the source of this happiness, is now frequently plunged in fits of bad health related to irresponsible conduct.

  16. 16 Obeds
    July 29, 2008 at 14:58

    Hi WHYS,

    Tell me what does not come with a responsibility and you are sure to have all men will do that. Its a fact of life that we can not afford to ignore

  17. 17 Tamatoa
    July 29, 2008 at 14:58

    If society consisted of mature individuals we could all enjoy Amy’s music without having to humiliate her by exposing her short-comings. We would only concentrate on her positive sides and pay no attention to her drug-abuse.
    Unfortunately, society will never be perfectly mature. So celebrities address a bigger audience. It would be in both’s interest to display virtous behavior. So we can use celebrities as role-models.
    But rather than looking at Amy’s behavior we should address the parents responsability which is far greater. And right now, society clearly shows that they aren’t doing a good job helping their children to mature. Children are not mature enough to distinguish exemplary behavior from less appropriate behavior.
    I don’t like it when celebrities misbehave. But my soul hearts a child is neglected.

  18. 18 Rosebill
    July 29, 2008 at 15:00

    I believe a lot of us have been told at one point in our lives “why cant you be/act like your brother?” or sister, or your friend, etc. And i bet we all strive to be like someone and we all at our points in lives choose someone famous be it Oprah, Nelson Mandela, Britney or indeed Amy Winehouse. The problem comes though that people have different mentalities and there are some out there who are obsessed with these stars and what ever they do inadvertently affects them. Whether they want to be a role model or not – they are – for the simple fact that they are in the limelight this is the path they chose. Just as a priest or a nun choose their path!

  19. 19 steve
    July 29, 2008 at 15:01

    You should see how parents dress little girls these days. They look like street walkers. Parents aren’t doing their jobs, and want others to do the raising of their kids, and are teaching them the “i should be able to do whatever I want, without any consequences” mentality. They are also giving them the money to buy the Amy Winehouse CDs and allowing them to watch the videos on TVs. Girls see this, “wow, I can be famous and be on TV and in magazines too. Any attention is still attention!”

  20. July 29, 2008 at 15:05

    Fame goes hand in hand with responsibility. The consumers of music, movies, and sports also have the responsibility to turn off the celebrity if they behave in an irresponsible manner.

  21. 21 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    July 29, 2008 at 15:07

    @ Abdelilah & Tamatao,

    Could not agree more with the points you raised.

    My feelings, however, are that we are a little harsh in terms of our treatment of celebrities, which is quite odd because we have so magnified celebrity, currently, that we almost have a superhuman type expectation of them. It is a rather odd, if not contradictory relationship that the media, especially, have formed on this issue. Society lead by the super powerful Fourth Estate, often with their singleminded devotion to the same causes, has as much if not more of an investment in responsible behaviour than any one person or groups of people. This would also mean more balanced media coverage vis-a-vis celebrity .

  22. July 29, 2008 at 15:08

    People are celebrities because we make them so. To then force them to live up to ridiculously high moral standards is immoral on our part.

    Especially in the case of Amy Winehouse. This woman is ill, not irresponsible or morally flawed. Until we can stop looking at addiction through judgmental glasses, we will never cure it, but rather just the opposite: drive the sufferers deeper into their illness.

  23. 23 John in Salem
    July 29, 2008 at 15:12

    Being widely known doesn’t carry some inherent responsibility. Those who survive it know that while fame is fleeting infamy is forever – the public has a short memory for people who play by the rules.

  24. 24 steve
    July 29, 2008 at 15:14

    @ Maria

    Ill people shouldn’t be looked up to as role models. And you are wrong, Amy Winehouse is INCREDIBLY irresponsible. She’s very aware of what she’s doing, and consistnently makes poor decisions, and others look up to this and will mimic it. She’s a trainwreck, and girls want to be just like her.

  25. 25 Angela in Washington D.C.
    July 29, 2008 at 15:20

    @Steve

    Amy Winehouse is irresponsible but she has an addiction, which makes her case different than Paris Hilton. Hilton does stuff just for attention because people think it it cool. Winehouse has a drug problem.

  26. 26 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    July 29, 2008 at 15:20

    @ Maria Alexander,

    Totally agreed! Though, celebrities do benefit from their fame in many respects. It would be ok if we could just draw a clear, straight path from one premise to your conclusion. However, we often are not able to do so as easily.

    The complexity of fame, if we could empathise in some way, is that it is also (very) intoxicating. Lindsay Lohan’s sister on their reality series on E! seems to feel so. So that, there is a balancing act. Amy is obviously sick, but also benefits from her celebrity in terms of music sales, visibility, etc. Inasmuch as it is very difficult, it is sincerely hoped that she has the guts to acknowledge her illness/ shortcomings and seek to remedy them accordingly in appropriate ways.

  27. 27 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    July 29, 2008 at 15:27

    @ Angella in Washington DC,

    Agreed! I think it is easy to judge Amy because we can see her and see her so often. The ‘trick’ of media is that they can sometimes make human suffering seem surreal. Amy is famous as much for her music as for her addiction. It is sad that we feel invested in judging her, almost like a contestant on one of these reality series. The tragedy is that there is no return to a “normal life” after we finish viewing her multiple dilemmas. Those are for keeps! Amy needs help!

  28. 28 steve
    July 29, 2008 at 15:28

    @ Angela

    Everyone has an “addiction” to something. Be it coffee, cigarettes, pot, chocolate, but they don’t use it an excuse for poor behavior. Remember, this “addict” got rich off a song where the lyrics are:

    He’s trying to make me go to rehab
    I wont go, go, go.

    Didn’t Paris Hilton serve time for drunk driving? I doubt she did that for attention.

  29. 29 Bob in Queensland
    July 29, 2008 at 15:30

    Celebrities wouldn’t have to worry about being role models if they weren’t given the “oxygen of publicity” by the media. I daresay many of them choose the bad boy (or, in the case of Ms Winehouse, bad girl) image purely for the publicity this gains them.

  30. 30 Julie P
    July 29, 2008 at 15:32

    One of the biggest elements of rock and roll is that it is about youth and rebellion, like it or not, from Elivs Presley to Amy Winehouse. Elvis was taken to task for his stage performances, with his giggling let and “radical” clothing. Young men at the time wanted to be like him and women wanted to be with him. He did, for a short while, redeem him self in the eyes parents of the day by joining the military. He went on to be a alcoholic and drug addict and dying a horrible death. These people are rock stars, entertainers, a symbol of rebellion, they are not role models. They never have been and they never will be. It may be hard to believe, but young people grow up to be a lot their parents. I hear myself saying some of the things I heard my parents say, pledging to never say that. I keep my house like my parents do, right down to how I fold my bath towels, and arrange my silverware in the kitchen drawer. Role models are the people who touch your life on many deep levels, not the shallow ones.

  31. 31 graceunderfire
    July 29, 2008 at 15:35

    Every person has responsibility to show good example; well known or not. Performance requires performer and audience. Watching constitutes approval of the performance. So, as who watch and chat about the unfortunate Ms. Amy, or any person in her condition, ask yourself: “Who is giving bad example?”
    guf

  32. 32 Angela in Washington D.C.
    July 29, 2008 at 15:41

    @Steve

    Despite the way the media portrays drunk driving, everyone who gets caught with alcohol does not have a problem. Most people just made a stupi decision. As soon as some celebrity does a stupid thing, they have to go to rehab. Instead of admiting, they made a poor choice.

    Additionally, everyone has vices but are our vices illegal and can they potentially lead to our death, by overdosing. I love coke, the drink, but love of soda doesn’t affect me like heroine or cocaine.

    Personally, I love her CD but that was not my favorite song.

  33. July 29, 2008 at 15:47

    Can’t say celebrities who don’t live up to bee role models should all the hanged. After all just to serve as parent role model is a tall order for most spouses nowadays talk more of a celebrity who has thousands and millions of young people looking up to her. At the end o the day, I think being a good role model is how we handle pressure and knowing how some of these celebrities rose from rags to riches, it’s no surprise that some of these fellows are finding it hard to believe they are stars. I rather blame myself for looking up to them and giving them all the adulation, some of which they don’t deserve.

  34. 34 Ros Atkins
    July 29, 2008 at 15:52

    Its the responsibility of stars to pet good examples in return for the star status society has elevated then to.

    We’ve got freedom of expression, but what we do not have is freedom after expression.

  35. 35 Muhammad Asim Munir
    July 29, 2008 at 15:56

    Hi WHYS!

    I hope you all are fine.

    ON AIR: DOES FAME COME WITH RESPONSIBILITY?
    I don’t go into the details of the specific case, however, i strongly believe that fame must be enjoyed with responsibility. It is a hard fact that teenagers try to follow celebrities with all their good and bad behaviours taking it as a style.

    I have observed that if Shah Rukh Khan of Bollywood wears a shirt then hundreds of thousands of youngsters try to adopt that style. Even smoking is done as a fashion inspired by some hero.

    I think some law should me made for it to remove the bad effects on youth emerging from fame.

    Warm Regards,

    Muhammad Asim Munir
    Gujranwala, Pakistan.

  36. 36 Sam
    July 29, 2008 at 16:00

    There are in fact some good role models in life. Hugo Weaving is an epileptic actor and has gone from strength to strength over the years, but has not given in to typical things like taking all Hollywood roles once famous and other typical weaknesses.

    He’s currently in South Australia filming here because he takes his roles based on script quality, not the paycheck.

    He’s inspired me (a fellow epileptic) to follow suit and get into the film industry, home or abroad, for the right reasons.

    So you see, not all celebrities are hopeless fools.

  37. 37 Robert
    July 29, 2008 at 16:07

    Hyprocsy to me is more importent an issue to me.

    If Amy Winehouse had done the “don’t do drugs” or “don’t binge drink” campaigns then she would be a hyprocrit and I would fault her. To my knowledge she hasn’t. She’s not pretending to be anything other than a good singer with a few vices. Her fame shouldn’t protect her from the law, having the images of her diplayed, or facing the consequencies of her actions.

    To seek the limelight and then try and hid when it all turns sour is being a hyprocite to me, and that’s what I have an issue over celebraties doing.

  38. 38 Anthony
    July 29, 2008 at 16:09

    They have no obligation to set an example. It’s up to the parents to teach kid’s on who to emulate.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  39. 39 Count Iblis
    July 29, 2008 at 16:17

    Winehouse’s lung problems are caused by her heavy smoking and cocaine use. If she were just a heavy smoker and never used illegal drugs, then her physical condition could well be approximately the same as it is now. However, she would then not be considered to be a bad role model.

    If she were in excellent health and use cocaine, like e.g. Kate Moss, then she would be condemned for being a bad role model.

  40. July 29, 2008 at 16:17

    Let’s not generalize when it comes to fame and responsibility. There are many stars who act responsibly. There are famous actors who are committed both artistically and personally. There are goodwill ambassadors. One of my favourite actors is Richard Gere, who is a role model for the causes he stands for (like the Tibet issue and the fights against AIDS.

    There are stars like Will Smith who started from scratch to world stardom. Amy Winehouse and other stars can be just an exception of those who can’t have a balanced life. In other words, like any population, in the artists population there may be a fraction of those who can’t get a stable life. People should choose what’s good for them and be supportive for those who need help, including seemingly successful artists, who like any human beings have their strong points as well as drawbacks.

  41. 41 Chris (Texas)
    July 29, 2008 at 16:25

    Others have touched on this, but I will reiterate just how important a parents role is in childhood development. Children will naturally look up to some prominent figures in the sports, music, and media industries. However, it is the parents’ responsibility to monitor and regulate who and what their children are exposing themselves to.

  42. 42 lydia nayo
    July 29, 2008 at 16:30

    The question of responsiblity depends upon the type of fame one is enjoying, if enjoying fame in the current hothouse environment is possible.

    If your claim to fame is incidental, like being some famous person’s arm candy or life partner, that’s one thing, but if your claim to fame is that the public is spending money to enjoy the fruits of whatever labor you endeavor, then I think a measure of responsibility, unfortunately, attaches. On a regular basis, I am happy to be just a cog in the universal wheel, but when I’m in the business of taking money from people, I ought to earn it, right?

    For pop stars, musicians of all stripes, it would be wonderful if they and the media would remember that the reason to have a private life, off the stage, is to be able to behave badly without worrying about recourse. Same for sports figures, for politicians, etc. When you strap on the mantle, you take on the baggage that goes along with it. Many of us non-celebrity types have our stars to thank for not being under such constant and grueling scrutiny. We can f#@k up with impunity, because it is unlikely to be caught on film or reported to world at large.

    Of course, our hunger and thirst for information about our idols in their private moments plays its part in what appears to be irresponsible behavior. I am at a point of longing for the days before the 24/7 news cycle, when Amy Winehouse being back in hospital wouldn’t have been news that every outlet on the planet glommed onto. Hunting down her less that finest hours to report seems to overreach and do more damage than her own self-destructive behavior does to her capacity to be a role model. She’s got a great voice and has reached back into the pantheon of terrific music, honoring the greats with her choice of music and some of her style choices. But all I ever hear about her is her excesses. Where is her record on the pop or jazz or soul charts? Moreover, she’s but one celebrity, overexposed in an alarming way.

    Dog bites man still ain’t news, I suppose, so all the pop stars doing well, being age appropriate, healthy and making records are just not in the same league with Amy Behaving Badly.

  43. 43 Sam
    July 29, 2008 at 16:33

    Indeed there are many well behaved role models who do great jobs in the entertainment industry.

    Kevin Smith (actor/director/writer) has been quite a good role model, despite his main two characters being stoners.

    He spent his own cash funding his first film, worked his arse off, and it paid off. The irony being despite his stoner duo in (nearly) every film he did, he’s not pro-drug.

    Hell, he’s so opposed to drugs, he got Jason Mewes clean and sober after years of the actor being on many kinds of drug. If Jason had refused, Smith said he’d never make a film with the (fictional) stoner duo Jay and Silent Bob ever again.
    (The resulting movie was Clerks 2, sequel to his first film from 1994.)

    He’s also a family man these days.

    Not bad for a guy who makes a living on dirty/funny comedies, Q&A sessions and cameos.

  44. 44 Justin from Iowa
    July 29, 2008 at 16:56

    I want to second graceunderfire’s comment. It is everyone’s responsability to set a good example. Just because celebrities are in the public eye and it is easier for us to swee when they fail to uphold that good example, doesn’t lessen their responsability.

    And this addiction excuse is just that, an excuse. If you have an addiction, its because you chose to start it. Take responsability for your bad choice and try to get yourself help, don’t wallow in your affliction.

    There are many examples of people who tried to overcome their addictions, and failed tragically, but they tried. They didn’t hold up the fact that they had messed up their life and encouraged younger people to follow in their example.

  45. July 29, 2008 at 16:57

    Hi there mates ,first and foremost, am glad and terrific to be back on air again ,well, coming to the point of being famous ,oh yes fame come with responsibility like the good actors of freedom of ANC south Africa comrade Nelson Mandela has fame and responsibility and some of the leaders like former president of US JOHN F KENEDY by uniting all Americans and told them that we Americans ,should be halved in a way of not segregating each other so through his fame he promoted his vision by saying that let not be Democrats nor Republicans ,let be AMERICANS, I remember him of having fames and Responsibility, in US ,
    Thanks to all of you

  46. July 29, 2008 at 17:00

    I wrote earlier that a good role model might be someone like Cicero, and forgot to add that a very good reason for seeking role models among the famous dead is that they have lived out their lives from alpha to omega and are therefore in no position to spring unpleasant and misleading surprises.

    One can contemplate both their achievements and their flaws in a considered way, and learn from them. I should add that, the longer they’ve been dead the better. The recently expired can still spring surprises from the grave.

    It may be old-fashioned and, to some, even risible, but I’d like to see kids looking back into history for enduring role models rather than having them off the (bottom) shelf of what currently passes for celebrity and achievement.

    But how many kids even know about personalities of the calibre of, say, Dr Johnson? And how many would value his type as having something to say to us today?

    Comes back to the inculcation of culture, doesn’t it? A good cultural background might prevent the running after shallow brassiness as some sort of achievement.

  47. 47 Angela in Washington D.C.
    July 29, 2008 at 17:04

    Some actors and musicians are looked up to as role models. I think the problem is that we place so much emphasis on these people. Some of them do bad things some do good things, but they are just people. I like actors like Christian Bale. He is really talented and attractive but he is grounded. He states that he is an actor, that is all. He doesn’t want people in his private life. He may not be on his best behavior at all times but he doesn’t think he should be in all the magazines to do his job well.

    I like the movies or the music people release but when I learn about their private life it causes me to stop listening/ watching their products. I don’t think we should look up to the celebrities, as if they are little gods.

  48. 48 Melanie Chassen
    July 29, 2008 at 17:23

    After reading some of the above posts, there is something I just don’t understand. Why are celebrities role models anyway? Maybe I’m just not understanding the definition of a role model, but I thought it was someone who set a good example, and someone to emulate. It seems as though so many celebrities are considered role models simply BECAUSE they are celebrities, not because they have done anything special or unique, not because they have gone out of their way to do something worthy of copying, but because, whether it they have real talent or just a pretty face, they have managed to become famous – or infamous – whichever the case may be.

    Celebrities shouldn’t be considered role models just because they are famous. And they should be responsible for their own good, not for the good of whatever impressionable members of society may be watching. In my opinion, it is the role of the parents or guardians to teach those easily influenced that they are responsible for themselves and should be held accountable for whatever decisions and choices they make.

    Based on the infatuation people seem to have with the rich and famous, watching their every move, maybe these famous people are more akin to creatures in a zoo, as that seems to reflect people’s reactions to their behaviour.

  49. July 29, 2008 at 17:27

    Hello gang ! :-)… Whether celebrities liked it or not, whether celebrities loved it or not, they’ll be seen by so many people as role-models, and so many people (especially adolescents) will love to immitate them in everything they do… And that’s why more responsibility is to be put on their shoulders, and they MUST always remember that the consequences of their actions, whether good or bad, aren’t only about them, but are also about the large numbers of people (and especially adolescents) who consider them to be their role-models… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  50. 50 Andrew
    July 29, 2008 at 17:27

    I have thought about this a lot over recent time as the rise and failure (spectacular) of some celebrities has often ignited such debates. But as much as I often side with those berating celebrities and their overindulgent lifestyles, the effect it has on others in society I can’t help but realise I have been ignoring one other fundamental point.

    What about our own responsibility to ourselves? What about us standing up and saying – I have my own free will, I have made my own choices. In the final wash up, what you do comes down to you. You cannot blame others for your own actions and you must take responsibility for your own actions.

    If Amy Winehouse wants to destroy her life, then she can do that to herself. If you want to do the same, do not blame Winehouse for your inability to live your life in a constructive and positive way. How many debates in the BBC recently have posters deriding the government when it implements measures to control behaviours and cries of the “Nanny State” suffocating us all. Yet when something does go wrong the fingers will point elsewhere, it is the fault of X, Y or Z, never the fool who makes the bad choice.

  51. 51 savane, nairobi
    July 29, 2008 at 17:29

    When you choose to put yourself in the limelight, then we will watch and listen to the good, bad and ugly you put out there. That applies to everyone in the limelight: politicians, musicians, actors, business leaders/icons – you too Ros!

    You can’t expect us to acknowledge your achievements and ignore your goofs and failures!

    What ticks me off is ‘stars’ who mess up and get off with a slap on the wrist! Naomi Campbell and Paris Hilton (who’s famous for being famous!) Come to mind. Kudos to the British courts for locking Sir Jeffery Archer away!

    We’re watching and listening to you! The good, the bad and the ugly!!

  52. 52 Tracy
    July 29, 2008 at 17:35

    The celebritization of society really bothers me. It seems to me individuals have defered their identities to these media personalities. My co-workers are always gabbing about celebs like they are neighbors and relatives. They talk about them more than the people they see in REAL life. Kids(and adults) seem more interested in the lives of these stars to the exclusion of living their own life. I do not believe this is healthy.

    Tracy in Portland OR

  53. 53 Keith
    July 29, 2008 at 17:35

    First of all, I’m very bummed out that I missed the show yesterday and have never mentioned that I am a musician as well, would have love to have participated.

    Regarding the question today, I have wrestled with that one for years and still am not sure what to think. I think that people who are wildly famous and successful – yes there is some responsibility, because lets be honest, nearly all of them desperately wanted and maybe needed to famous, so they ought to pluck up and do what they can with the influence they have earned. But then there are artists who are consumate artists that have become famous simply by the virtue of the work they’ve done – some of these folks have some pretty serious issues. But, part of the problem is that they are addicted to the spotlight. Every weakness or issue they have wouldn’t be broadcast so widely if they lived slightly humbler private lives, as opposed to hanging out in the poshest clubs with A-listers where they know the world is watching. A good example is Chris Martin I think. He seems to keep his head down as much as possible while still being a world famous singer. It can be done.

    thanks,

    Keith

  54. 54 Melanie Chassen
    July 29, 2008 at 17:36

    @ Andrew

    Many thanks for articulating my own feelings in a much better way than I was able to do. Cheers!

  55. 55 Tracy
    July 29, 2008 at 17:39

    Sorry I wont be listening today. I refuse to spend precious moments of my life on vapid vacuuous endevours.
    Tracy in Portland

  56. 56 Ashi in New Jersey
    July 29, 2008 at 17:45

    As a person who would look at famous people, i dont think they have a responsibility unless they are people in power or people whose fame is based on setting examples for people ie preachers, politicians, etc.

    To give people responsibilty we have to see what enabled those people to become famous.

  57. 57 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    July 29, 2008 at 17:47

    Celebrity by its very definition is about status and that equates to (real) power in many instances. As Justin from Iowa notes, that kind of power brings real responsibility. Some people are not as keen to understand their connection to other people and as a result do as they please. Not such a bad idea, if done with balance.

    However, the backlash, which sadly comes with the territory can be deadly. So, the celebs as much as the media and their adoring audiences all have a part to play. As one of the bloggers above notes, for there to be a (credible) performance an audience as well as their approval are required. We approve ideas that the lives of celebrities are so important they warrant being consumed all the time, often at expense of our own. That is a choice, however, not a mindless, unidimensional one.

  58. 58 rawpoliticsjamaicastyle
    July 29, 2008 at 17:48

    Both the performer and audience, as well as the medium through which the performance is viewed/ consumed are all involved in this unique process of magnifying individual lives into the spectacle that they become, often for monetary gain. (Think advertisers, etc.)

    In my view, Amy Winehouse may be a trainwreck but boy does the media have ball telling us about it, and here we are drinking it up!

  59. 59 viola
    July 29, 2008 at 17:55

    Children need to know that celebrities’ achievements are worthy of emulation and role-modeling. Their self-destructive behaviors are not.

    Celebrities don’t need the guilt and those who are self-destructive don’t deserve a free “It was Amy’s fault” pass.

    Canada

  60. 60 Ashi in New Jersey
    July 29, 2008 at 18:01

    Children do need role models and people to look up to, but those people whould be their parents and teachers whose responsibility it is to set an example for these children, and not people they are seeing on Television.
    I know its a very prevalent problem in our society but we need to stop letting our TVs raise our children

  61. 61 Mohammed Ali
    July 29, 2008 at 18:03

    Even insanity comes with responsilities, no matter how stupid it may sound. Famous people are certainly road models in society. One major responsibilities they have to society is to live a life style that commensurate with their status as road models. However, if celebrities don’t live up to their status as road models, society too has a responsibility of not copying the bad aspects of their life style.

  62. 62 Benn
    July 29, 2008 at 18:10

    In response to Steve all the way at the top:

    A celebrity should not be a role mode, but celebrity should understand that they can become a role model.

  63. 63 Alici N
    July 29, 2008 at 18:13

    I don’t understand how celebrities that engage in self-destructive activities can possibly have an adverse impact on their fans. If anything, it’s a good influence— trust me, even Amy Winehouse’s most devout fans don’t want to be like her. She emblematizes the perfect anti-drug campaign. As we witness her downfall, we also witness everything we don’t want to be.

  64. 64 weddingsoverhere
    July 29, 2008 at 18:13

    Celebrities are humans, perhaps talented in some ways but no less human than we are. Are we perfect ourselves. I am sure many try to keep their lives private as was possible pre internet (Hugie green comes to mind) We should also ask how far the press are to blam for putting them under such a micro scope to the point of analysing breakfast habits and commenting on it.
    Amy rocks, she is just screwed up like the rest of us!!!!

  65. 65 Michael
    July 29, 2008 at 18:15

    The Media will only be happy when Amy dies. She’s a fabulous singer living in a paradox and obviously vulnerable. The Media are driving her relentlestly towards destruction. Role model – what nonsense do people believe in these days ? She’s Amy being Amy and a real artist.

    Michael

  66. July 29, 2008 at 18:16

    Amy Winehouse was a crack head before she got famous. So why do we need to make her a role model when she never wanted to be.? Certain responsibilities ? So now she has to clean up her act because T.V. and media says so. We loved her for her music and how it made us feel, not about her drug addiction

    farnell

  67. July 29, 2008 at 18:18

    Should our porn stars be on their best behavior? How about our soft core porn stars like “the girls next door”? They portray them as well adjusted ambitious young women. What they are doing is having sex with Hugh Hefner for fame and fortune. Would you want your daughter to look at them and say, “I would like to be like them?”

  68. July 29, 2008 at 18:18

    It has been a factor from Blues Music and Jazz Musicians like Charlie Parker where his drug addiction inspired a lot of copy cat musicians using drugs as well, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, and Bobby Brown. We need to remember these are regular people with issues and more problems from being in the lime light. So why do they have to be saints….and role model…..

    farnell

  69. 69 Robert
    July 29, 2008 at 18:20

    Celebrities who have gone thou trouble and then rehab don’t act as positive role models to the wrong. They give the impressionable and naive the image that you can misbehave and eventually get yourself out of trouble without side effects. This image then reinforces the notion that it safe to start whatever activities because you’ll always be able to stop when you want to.

  70. 70 steve
    July 29, 2008 at 18:21

    If we’re talking about society creating these role models, I heard someone mention Mother Theresa, and how society made her a role model. but not much of one. She died around the time when Princess Diana died, and got virtually no media attention, despite her work for the poor. Princess Diana was famous because she married a rich man. Society made her a role model, yet all she did was marry a Prince, and had constant media attention, while Mother Theresa barely had any. Princess Diana died in a luxury automobile on the streets of Paris, with a rich man, Mother Theresa died in poverty in India, helping the poor people. Why did society make Diana more of a role model than Theresa?

  71. July 29, 2008 at 18:21

    What a preposterous notion… that other people OUGHT to behave in a way that moms and dads apporve of… Every generation has their great stars that the older generation loathes… from Elvis to Amy!

  72. 72 Matt in Portland, Oregon
    July 29, 2008 at 18:21

    I think the underlying problem here is one of hero worship. In the US we are obsessed with success. Achievement has replaced moral and ethical behavior as the standard by which we judge people. I personally don’t care how an artist lives their life because I do not confuse the artist with their art.

  73. July 29, 2008 at 18:24

    When they screw up as role models the condemning public says, “they should understand they are role models and act accordingly.” however, If they stand up for their political views or for some cause, they get berated saying, “They are just pop stars or actors and should leave their political opinos to themselves. Hypocrisy is the most detestable human trait.

  74. July 29, 2008 at 18:25

    And kids should be brought to understand that celebrity hype is just another post-modern delusion. Celebrities come and go, faster and faster as the years go by, because they are novelty products dressed up for mass consumption ( and I mean ‘mass’ in the class-sense). Perhaps it’s because they’re handled like products rather than human beings that they tend to deteriorate round about their expiry date.

    They just come and go. Those celebrities who, in previous eras, were able to survive the ‘product syndrome’ often turned out to be reasonably good role models; people like McCartney and Dylan and Madonna. Others, who didn’t survive, have become very good legendary models: John Lennon, for example.

    Thinkj of the tragedy of a ‘product’ like Britney Spears, coached into producthood by her parents. It’s sad.

    In the end it goes to values; what we teach our kids to aspire to, which is usually money, makes them look up to anyone who has oodles of the stuff, no matter how destructively they spend it or how vulgarly they flaunt it.

  75. 75 Jessica in NYC
    July 29, 2008 at 18:26

    I was lucky enough to have been brought up with a good foundation and have never wasted my time idolizing people for simply being on TV or the radio. I’m not listening to today’s program, because I couldn’t careless about the winehouse lady.

    @Benn. I read his post because it was above mine. WELL said, a celebrities should not be a role modes. However, party of celebrities fame comes from being idolized by young people and they celebrities need to understand their the role their actions play in society (barf).

  76. 76 Vijay Srao
    July 29, 2008 at 18:27

    On the day that the Doha development round of the WTO is big news,WHYS goes for the silly celeb story,counter programming?probably not.
    @Raw
    Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson were different from todays athletes,you probably don’t know who they were,look them up on the internet.

    I suppose Fame does equate to some kind of leadership and therefore responsibity

  77. July 29, 2008 at 18:29

    I think the 24 hour news cycle is a big part of the problem. The corporate monsters that own the media and broadcast “news” 24 hours a day are going to have to reach rather far to keep the story going, thus the focus on pop stars has increased because we keep feeding the beast in order to sell plastic widgets from China! These pop stars shouldn’t be role models. People should choose people that are real to them, people they know for role models.

  78. July 29, 2008 at 18:30

    The reality is that to make money, and to be able to continue doing what they most love to do which is to be creative, stars have to stay in the media- that sells records, and the media doesn’t cover “good girls” being “bad” sells records, it always has.

  79. 79 Rory Phillips
    July 29, 2008 at 18:31

    This is a ridiculous waste of air time. It doesn’t matter weather it was the number read story on BBC, there are plenty of mediums for covering this vacuous trash. This very show is celebrating it. Saying simple that this is what the people want to hear about neglects the fact that it’s the media that is feeding the public this distracting garbage. You have a responsibility to try and elevate public discourse not drag it down to the lowest levels of tabloid sensationalism. There are plenty of important issues being neglected today.

    Rory
    Portland, OR

  80. 80 Russell Montgoemry
    July 29, 2008 at 18:33

    “we’re humans too.” I hate it when anybody, famous or not, uses this line. People do make mistakes, but when they choose to make that mistake it is a conscience decision, or a result of a conscience decision (i.e. drinking or doing drugs). If you want to be famous for one thing be ready to be famous for everything, even your mistakes.

    -Russell
    Portland, Oregon

  81. 81 Serina
    July 29, 2008 at 18:35

    Frankly I am sick of hearing about so-called celebrities self-destructing and then crying about it later If any celebrity destroys a precious life (their own) then who cares – I don’t!

  82. 82 Matt in Oregon
    July 29, 2008 at 18:35

    We should focus on the common humanity of people, everyone has the responsobility to be a role model, celebrities are no different. They have the same kierkegaardian responsobility to provide their actions as usable for all.
    When you choose, you choose for everyone.

  83. July 29, 2008 at 18:36

    A lot of great points on here today. In case I don’t make it on air as planned, I’ll say a few things here. Steve, great points, I agree. Matt, completely agree and want to expand on what you said “I do not confuse the artist with their art.”

    I think Joe is placing an unhealthy romanticism on the whole idea of rock and roll rebellion. Addiction and wildly destructive behavior may be exciting as a spectator who sits in awe of the audacity of the behavior but it is giving it too much and the wrong kind of credit to place such importance on it. Rage Against the Machine displays beautifully raw rebellion and their message is not dulled by the fact that they lack the massively acting-out personalities. This conflation DOES indeed confuse musicians and their art.

    I am a musician who has never been “famous” by any stretch, but enough people knew/know me that, I’m embarrassed to admit, that at times I behaved in ways I may not have otherwise because I enjoyed the attention – and felt very foolish for it later. Public displays of pointless rebellion such as overindulging in various vices is very overrated, let’s not pretend it is some poetic statement.

  84. 84 Mason
    July 29, 2008 at 18:37

    It is parents’ responsiblity to teach their children how to act. Amy Winehouse, for instance, can be used as a perfect example of what drugs can do, and how they make you act, and why not to do them.

  85. 85 selena
    July 29, 2008 at 18:40

    The concept of role model leaves much to be desired.

    When we tell children to look up to others rather than develop their own unique talents, we ares setting up an impossible dream.

  86. 86 Tim
    July 29, 2008 at 18:40

    These rock and pop stars can afford rehab, but the kid on the block cannot. So don’t talk about your ‘wonderful’ rehabilitation. Don’t talk about it, don’t glorify it, and don’t do it!

  87. 87 Lee
    July 29, 2008 at 18:43

    Good grief – another hubbub about Amy Winehouse. Look, this girl has had so many chances to clean herself up, but has just decided to ignore it all. She is not ill, she is just selfish.

  88. 88 Keith
    July 29, 2008 at 18:43

    Since when is Amy Winehouse a role model? Her most popular song says “I’m not going to rehab”. It’s not that she is being ruined by the media like Britney Spears, she’s straightforwardly advocating misbehavior.

  89. 89 steve
    July 29, 2008 at 18:44

    @ Tim

    Also Amy Winehouse can afford cocaine. Cocaine is very popular. Many women cannot afford cocaine and wind up having sex in exchange for it. It’s not just the drug usage that is the problem, but how they get it.

  90. 90 Vincent
    July 29, 2008 at 18:45

    People need to learn how to think for themselves. Only children/immature people need a hand to hold every step of their lives. Celebrities are people just like us. We make equally as many mistakes but we don’t have a spotlight shinning on us every step of the way. Of course they need to behave but we shouldn’t expect that much from them. Parents need to learn to be the role models for their kids and not Mr or Ms so so on T.V. Not Hollywood.

  91. 91 Sam
    July 29, 2008 at 18:46

    Let celebrities do what they want. If people choose to be influenced by role models such as Amy Winehouse and choose not to exercise self-control, then that is there problem. As for children, parents ought to be taking a greater responsibilty if they want their children to set themselves suitable role models.

  92. 92 Tamara
    July 29, 2008 at 18:46

    Good Grief. Agreed celebrity and fame is driven by narcissism. Role Models? No. Artists, athletes, performers are responsible only to their paying fans when they are performing. To show up on time for a concert, to play their best on the field. What about the responsibility of people to choose appropriate role models? Ridiculous behavior of famous people is just that, ridiculous! And provide an example of how “NOT” to behave. If a famous person wants to step up and BE a positive role model, terrific good for them! At the end of the day we are all humans who have a choice everyday as tp whether or not we will engage in positive acts that affect others.

  93. 93 Bob
    July 29, 2008 at 18:46

    Some celebrities become famous partly because they are rebellious, reckless, and in some cases irresponsible. I don’t think it is fair to thrust these people into the category of “role model.” But there are other fabricated celebrities who appeal specifically to young children, and who, because of the demographic they have targeted to exploit for commercial gain, should be held to a higher standard.

  94. 94 Angela in Washington D.C.
    July 29, 2008 at 18:48

    @Anthony

    I know you are joking about the Nazis but nothing about them would make them role models.

  95. 95 Josh
    July 29, 2008 at 18:48

    I find it very hard to imagine there’s any famous person who doesn’t want to be famous. It’s even harder to find someone who doesn’t understand what happens when you become famous. If you want to be known and recognized, you should accept that there are other things that come with the package, and one of those things is called responsibility, and most people don’t want responsibility.

  96. 96 Jeff
    July 29, 2008 at 18:50

    Rather than expecting celebrities to be role models for the public, I think we should figure out why the public has an obsessive need to put celebrities on a pedestal, and then explore every aspect of their personal lives. Few could live up to the scrutiny that celebrities are subjected to on a daily basis.

  97. 97 Angela in Washington D.C.
    July 29, 2008 at 18:53

    I have to disagree with the lady. I can’t stand when people imitate me. I don’t want to lead anyone or be responsible for anyone but myself. It is one thing that annoys me when people try to imitate me, which is one reason I would never want to be famous.

  98. 98 Bertie
    July 29, 2008 at 18:54

    Why is it that we expect artists and musicians to be our moral exemplars? Artists like Amy Winehouse are not worth listening to for moral edification, but for the amazingly good music they make! If we want real role models, shouldn’t we look to the Archbishop Tutus of the world, and just judge artists on the basis of their art?

  99. 99 Tina
    July 29, 2008 at 18:59

    Celebrities in Indian Music & Cinema are world famous, yet there are very few examples of bad reputation. In the end culture also matters of how you perceive things. Therefore celebrities dont necesarilly need to attract attention by doing extraordinary things.

    People value talent. But unfortunately young people are easily influenced by celebrities. So why dont the celebrities take the opportunity to influence young people in a positive way. On the other hand tabloids most of the times exaggerate bad behaviour of celebrities just to let people have fun. If tabloids want to show the world whats reality, keep it real, dont exaggerate then. And tabloids can also contribute positively by also writing the good things that celebrities do.

  100. 100 joann
    July 29, 2008 at 19:02

    I am surprised that you have not discussed the simple fact that Amy Winehouse’s is breaking the law. Her activities are breaking basic laws that society have agreed upon to keep law and order in place. Suggesting that she needs to be perfect or a role model is ridiculous – to suggest that she and other drunk-driving, publicly intoxicated, losers should be held to the same standard as the rest of society is the bare minimum we should expect from the people who’s income we provide.

  101. 101 steve
    July 29, 2008 at 19:05

    @ Bertie

    It’s irrelevant. artists like Winehouse are famous, get tons of media attention, and girls think “if I become like her, I will be famous” then will mimic the idiocy, but don’t have the dollars to bail themselves out of the situation like Winehouse does. I don’t want to live in a society of Winehouse/Hilton clones. Imagine those types raising kids? Can you imagine the future of the country? Of course they shouldn’t be role models, but they unfortunately are becuase they get so much media attention.

  102. July 29, 2008 at 19:05

    I would also like to add that I think celebrity is sometimes a two way mirror – they have not only the power to influence others, but reflect to a degree the excesses and pitfalls of society and their generation at large. Unfortunately, our generation is infected with the mentality that steve described as “I should be able to do whatever I want, without any consequences” to a degree that eclipses generations past. I’m inclined to think it is the fruit of both prosperity and amorality. I certainly know people who are gifted, smart, and compassionate who have or are wasting much of their lives in pursuit of vices just because it’s “what we do.” Some of these celebrities are simply behaving as their peers do, but with a massive budget and fan-fueled egos to feed the behavior. It’s a cycle that is ultimately bigger and more complex than – should they or shouldn’t they be more responsible?

  103. 103 Vason in Ohio
    July 29, 2008 at 19:08

    To reply to the line about “religious and political leaders,” isn’t it true to say that famous people are ‘cultural leaders’? I’ve seen too many people around that follow the example of American hip-hop artists to believe otherwise. The famous of the world most often choose to be famous; there are plenty of world-class music artists that do not put themselves in the spotlight at every opportunity, nor get themselves in trouble by doing illegal things. The large media covers the stories of the famous more than your everyday person because of the fact that they made themselves known worldwide, similar to how local media covers the stories of the people in the communities.

    tl;dr: Yes, I believe that the stars should recognize that they are responsible for their actions, and that those actions are seen by many impressionable people worldwide.

  104. 104 Esther Agbarakwe, Nigeria
    July 29, 2008 at 19:08

    Our world would have been better if people would give back to the community as a responsibility. Africa had many famous people who can change a little corner in the continent positively and they will be seen as role modesl. and people may be inspire to take thier fist step in contributing as well.

  105. 105 Nick in USA
    July 29, 2008 at 19:08

    Darn,

    I went out for a business lunch and missed a great topic. In my opinion, celebrities have every right to say they never wanted to be role models, but that doesn’t mean they are 100% right to do whatever they please. The bottom line is… children are modelling themselves after celebrities. Which results in a bunch of little Amy Winehouses walking around. Personally, I think the well being of our future generations is more important than a celebrities rights to privacy. Therefore, I must continue to attack celebrities and celebrity-ism at every opportunity.

  106. July 29, 2008 at 19:10

    Steve, you are so right on. However there’s a big difference between Amy Winehouse and Paris Hilton – Amy actually has a legit reason to be famous in the first place in that she is a talented artist, whereas Paris Hilton is just famous for being Paris Hilton. It makes me so angry sometimes that the media is so complicit in fueling such idiocy. I have a friend who is a local reporter that interviewed her recently when she was in town promoting something and said that in person you realize that she is much brighter and more “normal” than the persona that she perpetuates. Why would she perpetuate it? Because the media eats it up and it pays her in the end. I just can’t stand that so much paper and bytes are spent on someone who has done nothing but be born into a rich family and parade herself around with no discretion. Argh. it’s frustrating.

  107. 107 Walter L. Johnson
    July 29, 2008 at 19:16

    I personally don’t want to know about the personal lives of performers, because when I learn of bad conduct it detracts from the performance and has lead to stopping attendance.

    Amy Winehouse is a self-correcting problem as far as role models. It is only a matter of time before either she will wind up in prison or kill herself from drug abuse, which provides an example of what not to do. Alternatively she could mend her ways, but that might require a temporary break from her industry.

    Given the frequency of bad conduct in the music industry though I have to wonder if the real people to blame for bad conduct in the music business is the producers, agents and others involved in music distribution who become handlers for a star. It isn’t like these stars can just go out and buy illegal drugs unobserved after all.

    Too often those with a financial interest in a star forget they need sleep, time to themselves, and recreation time. Instead they drive them to produce and the loser becomes the star.

    It is an embarrassment that any teen picks a role model in the music business. Like being a football player, the chances of having your teen dreams fulfilled in those kinds of job are dim.

    Vancouver, WA, USA

  108. July 29, 2008 at 19:25

    Hi
    I just want to say that I think the support system around the individual is vital to keep the balance. I also believe part of the responsibility lies with those who are key to choosing the target audience that the persons career could influence, especially taking into account the stars age.
    Certain cultural pressures are bound to cause an outcry when individuals fail to live up to the expectations of perfection or even of simply having a clean identity. However, these personal parts of an individuals life are really exposed to make the individual even more vulnerable than before. This is where media are exploiting and have no sense of boundary.
    The amount of paranoia is enough to really push someone over the edge if they are young and impressionable.

    Ultimately it could be a question of freedom, I have heard some famous actors talk about how easy their life can become a prison. The ‘build them up and break them down’ phenomena by the media is only part of the story, for an individual to really pick themselves up from the bottom and rise above any media expectation or attention is the sign of a true star, the ability to not let failure of anyhting allow you to change your life and grow and integrate those darker but perhaps deeper and more human parts into our character.

    World wide famous Photographer Harry Benson photgraphed Amy Winehouse and commented saying she was very ‘driven’, I hope she can apply this to her reliance on chemical intoxicants,
    she may on the other side of the coin risk ruining her voice.
    I think fame was thrust upon her and has overwhelmed her, ultimatley, we can all look back and look at our own habits and how these have consequences in this inter-related world.

    Peace.

  109. 109 Esther Agbarakwe, Nigeria
    July 29, 2008 at 19:33

    Dear Kate and steve, I do agree with you both, I’ve one question Steve:What do the media want from Famous people? are they not monstly famous so the media can See them? the they most have responsibility to the media than to thier community.

  110. 110 steve
    July 29, 2008 at 19:36

    @ Esther

    The media wants to write about them, and take their pictures, so that the advertisers sell products, which make sthe advertisers happy, and makes the media money. A trainwreck story is a good seller, so people see the advertisements, and possibly buy the products.

  111. 111 Roger
    July 29, 2008 at 19:38

    Whether they like it or not, people look up to celebrities, so they should live up to what people expect. But those who have fame are not gods, so we should look at them carefully. They have to be responsible, but we also have to identify what’s good and not good about them.

  112. 112 steve
    July 29, 2008 at 19:40

    @ Walter

    The thing is, many girls love attention, and celebrities get lots of attention, so they will naturally mimic the behavior of celebrities. They view them as glamouros. Parents aren’t doing their jobs, in fact, parents are contributing to the problem if anything. These teens don’t want necessarily to be a musician, but to have the lifestyle of one, all the partying and attention and fame… That will lead to disasters.

    As you state, it’s pretty certain amy winehouse isn’t going to live a normal life span. She’ll probably die from an overdose. as a public service, they should photograph the autopsy to show just how glamouros dying from a drug overdose really is. Perhaps that could undo at least some of the damage caused.

  113. 113 Tony in Nairobi
    July 29, 2008 at 19:41

    I believe a celebrity should be responsible for his or her behaviour because they are role models. Right now school kids in Kenya have run amok burning schools, and I wouldn’t be suprised to hear that they are aping what they saw their seniors do during the election-related violence.

  114. 114 Matthew
    July 29, 2008 at 19:47

    I wish people and youth would not see celebrities as role models. Who is a role model? A character we can emulate. These characters are not worth emulating.

  115. 115 Dennis
    July 29, 2008 at 20:11

    in a perfect world, fame does come with some responsibilty to the society….

    dennis
    syracuse, new york
    usa

  116. 116 jamily5
    July 29, 2008 at 20:13

    I have not read all of the responses.
    I agree that parents should take a role in defining “role models,” and they should not leave it up entirely to the entertainers and/or celebs.
    But, come on!
    people are put out there as examples.
    Who does not want to be revered and immulated on some level?
    If an entertainer says that they don’t want to be recognized and revered, they would be lying, that is the very thing that gives them fame.
    Amy Winehouse and others have an image. they count that this image will give them positive recognition with the people who are their consumers.
    People can say, “Parents need to be the positive role models,” but until teens get a bit of maturity on them, they will not see their parents as people whom they would like to immulate.
    It comes back to:
    how do we define success?
    and
    what are our important values?
    If we define “success,” as those who have lots of things or those who make lots of money or those who are well liked –
    then, we will find those people and try to immulate them.
    Amy Winehouse symbolizes freedom, rebellion, partying and such.
    And, because she is an entertainer, she does these things without feeling the responsibilities of jail, rehab or fines that would strap the average individual.
    Like it or not: those who are considered celebs are alotted certain privileges that are not given to the general public. So, why not also give them responsibilities. No one would mind being a role model, if they got good publicity and was praised for their intelect, beauty, talent etc.
    What model says: “I know that I look good, but, don’t adhere to my beauty regiment or try and look like me.”
    Celebs don’t want to be a role model when they do something wrong, but don’t mind capitalizing on those things that make them a positive example.
    Sports stars give tips on how to be better players,
    singers give voice instructions
    and
    Donald trump has his own show.
    You can’t say:
    “look at me: oh, don’t look at that part.”
    Either you are a role model, or you are not.
    And, being in the public, automatically means that you are a role model.
    Now, of course, no one is perfect.
    But, to be honest,
    if a celeb got into trouble, admitted to their wrong, served their pentanence (whatever it was) and moved on,
    I don’t think that people would have a problem.
    No one says that a celeb should be perfect.
    But, that montra,”No one is perfect,” seems to justify any and all offenses. But, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
    You can’t be noticed for the good, yet not be noticed for the bad.
    It just comes with the territory.

  117. July 30, 2008 at 09:51

    its not fame that comes with responsibility.rather,its life that should be carried responsibly whether you are famous or not.the only people we should regard to be celebrities are our parents.parents are the only people who can cane us even when they themselves are not responsible with themselves.no teen should follow hiphop celebrities expecting to find sainthoods in them even after hearing the bad dirt they speak of.

    THE LAST DON
    uthiru,kenya

  118. 118 Nick in USA
    July 30, 2008 at 21:14

    @ Jamily5

    “until teens get a bit of maturity on them, they will not see their parents as people whom they would like to immulate.”

    If parents are unable to be a role model that their children would want to emulate, then maybe they shouldn’t be parents. I think George Carlin said it best when he said: “The last thing the world needs is another you.” If that statement applies to someone, then they really shouldn’t have children.

    @ David Lulasa

    Agreed! Life itself comes with responsibility. Each one of us plays a role in shaping further generations of humanity (some more than others) and we all need to do our part to ensure the survival of humanity.

  119. 119 parth guragain
    July 31, 2008 at 14:23

    i don’t think that we shouldn’t view anyone as role model.we should think about our priroties and work as needed for us.

  120. 120 natalie sara
    August 2, 2008 at 17:09

    i don’t think amy winehouse ever wanted to be a role model. she’s living in a world of her own and can’t even listen to good advice from a dad – that should be a good reason for kids to stay away from treating her as a role model and getting into trouble themselves. perhaps the disney stars are obliged to be role models because of the audiences they are catering too. not that it is easy to be one, look at vanessa hudgens.

  121. 121 Andrew
    August 2, 2008 at 17:21

    @ Natalie

    I seen it too many times that many of those in that line of work are not stable enough in terms of personality to be able to handle the attention and the freedom to indulge themselves, so naturally they go off the rails.

    But the fact remains that there is plenty of help out there for them.. should they want it, but often don’t up the offers until it is too late.

    But time after time the same person just destroys the opportunities they have been given and you have to think to yourself, why bother.. there are more deserving people out there who don’t make such a fuss about themselves, after all why don’t they just take responsibility for their actions, the rest of us in the real world have to each and every day.


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