Americans should focus on real news, issues, not celebrity train wrecks

Illustration by Chris Sanford

In a society obsessed with celebrity culture, one would hope people would look up to and follow admirable celebrities who do good deeds like Oprah and Angelina Jolie. However, most of the time this is not the case.

Many Americans look to train wreck celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes and the Kardashian family for entertainment and inspiration. Whether it’s the joy of watching someone whose life is going worse than their own or the pleasure in seeing someone fall from the top, one thing is for sure: the bigger a mess a celebrity is, the more people care.

Lindsay Lohan seemed to be on top of the world in 2004 after hit movies like “Freaky Friday” and “Mean Girls,” but now her life consists of more court appearances than it does movies. For an actress who hardly acts at all, she is still a big name in the industry — not for her work, but for her numerous run-ins with the law and her crazy family.

Why does anyone still care about Lohan? This is a question I have pondered for a good long while. Maybe people are hoping for a good comeback story to result from her tumultuous life, but considering she has been on a downward spiral for the better part of a decade that seems unlikely.

Perhaps people just want to see how far she can fall, which seems to be pretty far; every time she seems to hit rock bottom she finds a new way to dig herself deeper. I just hope that people don’t pay attention to her because they pity her. No one should feel bad for her. If she really wanted to turn her life around she would get out of the public eye, but because she constantly keeps herself in the spotlight she will be receiving no pity from me.

Similarly, Amanda Bynes also deserves no sympathy for her situation. She was never as famous as Lohan for her career accomplishments, but seems to have followed in her criminal footsteps nonetheless. This year, Bynes has been involved in two hit-and-run accidents, has been charged with a DUI and has had her license suspended.

Considering the fact that Bynes has not done any acting since her role in 2010’s “Easy A” and wasn’t on many people’s radar when she was working, I don’t think anyone should care about her recent criminal behaviors. Bynes, who is only 26, has actually retired from acting twice in her short life. She retired once in June of 2010 only to come out of retirement in August of the same year, and again earlier this year.

If Bynes really wanted to retire to escape the public spotlight, she wouldn’t be doing the things that she does. Her recent behaviors seem like a desperate cry to get people to care about her again. She is trying to make a name for herself, no matter how bad that name is.

Bynes’ “look at me” behavior has caused her publicist, lawyer and agent to all drop her as a client. Now if only this behavior could cause Americans to revoke her celebrity status and allow her to fade into obscurity.

Speaking of obscurity, that is exactly where the Kardashian family came from; however, the release of middle sister Kim’s sex tape allowed the family to find fame instead of shame. For the Kardashians, the tape was a blessing that propelled them to celebrity status.

Now millions of people cannot wait to “Keep Up With” the family each week. Their status as reality stars has helped them launch business ventures such as a clothing line and a nail polish range, which help them rake in millions of dollars a year. But before supporting the Kardashians in one of their many business ventures, it is important to remember that they are famous because of a sex tape, not because of any skills or talents they possess.

This might seem like a shallow and vapid story on people who don’t matter, and that is exactly right. The media needs to stop focusing on celebrities who do bad things and start focusing on actual bad things, like the conflicts in Gaza and unemployment. But that is not going to happen because those things actually affect people.

The masses would much rather hear about irrelevant train wrecks like Lohan than serious issues because badly-behaved celebrities and their antics provide an escape. The wrongdoings and constant pitfalls of celebrity life take people away from the horrors that exist in the world, and for that reason the media will continue to feed into the obsession of celebrities behaving badly, just as i have with this article.

Zach Foley is a freshman in secondary education. Please send comments to