Here in America, we have two types of celebrities –– celebrities that are famous for doing things and celebrities that are famous for just existing. Paris Hilton and the Kardashians? Famous for just existing (although yes, they have done things since then to increase their fame and give their lives some meaning). Singers, athletes and movie stars? Famous for doing things. In general (yes, generalizing), the public tends to look more favorably upon celebrities who are famous for doing things since they can see a logical reason why people idolize them –– even if they don't agree with the level of fame that the person has, they can say "well, they did this, so people know them" and then they move on.
But sometimes, we let people get famous who have done things that really do not deserve fame. T.V.
"stars" from shows like Jersey Shore and Teen Mom are exhibits A and B. And somewhere within that museum, probably with a huge banner reading "FEATURED" right above her, is the newest installment ––Danielle Brigoli.
If you haven't seen it, there is a video going around of Danielle Brigoli, a 13-year-old girl who tries to be "thug" and sasses her mom, telling her she will fight her. This video received massive popularity and became a huge meme, and she returned to the show and told Dr. Phil that she made him –– that "he wasn't nothing before she came on his show".
The internet laughed, people talked and it should have died down like the "damn, Daniel" meme, right?
Nope. Danielle has since been featured in multiple music videos, has her own fashion line and is set to become a reality TV star next year. Songs have been made remixing her iconic line, "Cash me ousside, how bow dah", and even t-shirts and car decals feature her. She is expected to be a millionaire by the end of the year, despite arrests for car theft and multiple Instagram-live videos of her cussing out her mother.
Since when is this okay? Who decided that the country should idolize spoiled brats who lack respect for everybody and their own privileges? Our society DOES know that we pick our own celebrities by voting with our attention, so why are we picking her?
Kids look up to whatever is popular. Think about everybody who tried the Kylie Jenner lip challenge to look like her or everybody who has emulated Justin Bieber's iconic hair cuts. And now, with kids' consumption of mainstream media at the highest it's ever been, these role models have an even bigger audience of followers. Why have we voted –– with our jokes, our views and our likes –– for this 13-year-old girl to help lead our society?
And I understand that a lot of this attention has been negative and full of shock. But negative attention doesn't always matter when one can make millions of dollars off of it, and we all know kids who are perfectly willing to garner some frustration as long as they get attention out of it (especially if that attention is positive peer reinforcement).
It's one thing to elevate and idolize people who just kind of sit there in big houses with posh dogs, or people who model and just post travel pictures (that's another article). It's another thing to elevate and idolize people who are deliberately disrespectful to their mothers on national television and who are known felons. If our entire society suddenly decided tomorrow to follow Danielle Brigoli, America would collapse and implode.
These false idols have to stop. Society will always stop and notice the irregular, but if that means something genuinely awful, let's collectively agree to just leave its fame at fifteen minutes. Let's stop giving these obnoxious people T.V. shows, and let's stop spending our money to support them. Because, truly, if people like Danielle Brigoli become our pop culture icons, American society will crumble under the weight of its own population's lack of respect.