January 27, 2014

THOMAS | Get a Life

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By DEON THOMAS

I fled my fraternity house to seek a silent haven in which I could write an essay (that was due in 20 minutes). I sat in the library fervently writing, only to find that my blessed silence would be cut by a disturbing shriek produced from a hunched over student hidden partially by the stacks. I couldn’t imagine the pain that caused such a gruesome sound to come forth. Different scenarios began running through my mind. I pictured his beloved dog being run over by his neighbor. I saw his grandfather dying after a long battle with cancer. No, with the sound like that I had to assume that either his mother or father were killed in an extremely violent accident. I stood up and began to walk over to comfort him, and also to find out exactly what had happened, only to have my questions answered mid-stride. He let out a stream of words that included the audible, “Why, Justin, why?” I quickly realized that he had just found out about Justin Bieber’s egging incident. How could his cherished hero betray him so maliciously? How could he possibly continue studying at a time like this? Some questions are better left unanswered.

The story I just told may be a bit of an exaggeration, but its basis is far from it. The shock and outrage our society goes through with each and every celebrity comment and action is getting more and more ridiculous. With technological advancements come more ridicule and praise. Now that we can see everything celebrities do, and listen to everything that they say, people have begun to feel as if they are an omnipresent part of their lives. I lived alongside this strange obsession with celebrities for as long as I can remember; however, I began to see it differently after the recent Richard Sherman incident. Riled up after winning a huge playoff game, he made some cocky and seemingly ludicrous comments that were met with outrage from the media and many football fans. I was quite surprised by the reactions, seeing as he failed to curse or even make any unfounded claims (as an All-Pro selection, he is technically one of the best players in the league at his position).

As tempting as it may be, I refuse to focus on this specific incident or the details of it; I would much rather focus on the bigger problems at hand. The fact that the comments and actions of people that do not relate to our lives can bring ire, indignation and disappointment into our mental states is quite alarming. Why must this parasitic relationship exist in which we receive some sick pleasure from celebrities as they feel pressured to maintain perfect images? Why can’t we respect musicians, athletes and actors for their talents, and leave them to their own personal lives? I do not believe that there is a simple answer to these questions. Nevertheless, I will dare to conjure up a solution.

In an extremely blunt way, I could tell you, as the title suggests, to get a life. However, I will refrain from doing so, because the negative connotations of that phrase detract from the deeper meaning. Keep in mind that I am not addressing those who are simply amused by celebrity news; I am directing these words to those whose emotions are subject to being affected by it. If you find yourself irate while watching E! News, or filling your Facebook statuses with paragraph after paragraph about your personal response to an athlete interview, please heed these words!

If you are too invested in the lives of others, the simple response to maintain normalcy is to invest more deeply in your own. I understand that you think that Justin Bieber can’t sing, but stop hollering at the television screen, pick up a microphone, grab a vocal coach and engage in singing as a hobby. If you’re upset about Richard Sherman’s interview, stop waiting for your “friends” to comment back on your status, grab a few real-life friends and join a flag football league. Those are very simple responses, but they get the point across. If you are ambitious enough, happy enough or busy enough with your own life, you will find yourself impervious to being affected by the lives of others. I must request that the next time you find yourself shaking your fist at the television screen, remember to look inwardly! However, if you fail to take my words into account and find yourself being ostracized by all your peers due to your failure to curb your public shrieking habits, do not forget that it’s not me, it’s you.

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