On celebrity and doing good deeds

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A lot of celebrities tend to choose particular issues to ‘crusade’ after, and the commentary on that ranges from rapt adoration to complaining about their ‘phony’ ‘goody-two-shoes’ attitudes.

Fact is, most of these things that are marked as either phony or absolutely incredible are just standards of being a decent human being.

It’s true that celebrities have more power than your average Canadian Joe, but that doesn’t mean that they’re suddenly better people because they used that power to do what any decent human would do. They’re just decent.

Which may be why it’s called phony so often — most celebrities know the kind of reaction they’ll get from their fans, so it’s hard to imagine they’re not just doing it for the attention.

In which case, I don’t see the problem — at least they’re doing something.

This discussion is brought about from my reading this news article, about Bieber helping out someone who needed a lung transplant through a tweet.

I have no personal opinion about Bieber, except that I don’t really like his music and beyond that he takes up no space on my radar. I’m glad to see that he’s still being a decent person through the fame that would be difficult for any young person to navigate and still come out whole. His motives for doing so don’t really matter to me; the fact is he’s using his power for good.

And that’s really all the acknowledgement needed. The author of the article I linked to seems a little too quick to give Bieber decency cookies. “Congratulations, you met the bare minimum for being a decent human being. Have a cookie.”

Because the fact is we don’t deserve special recognition for believing women have rights or for using celebrity power to help people get transplants. These are things that we should be doing regardless the rewards we may or may not receive. And if you’re going to stop doing something decent because you’re not getting kudos and pats on the head for it, then you’re not really a decent human being. You’re an asshole.

So. You have celebrity — use it. Continue to be a decent human being. You don’t have celebrity — do what you can with the power you do have.

And maybe the rest of society could grow up and realize these things really are just hallmarks of being a decent human being, and stop lauding celebrities with more praise than the average Jane gets for the same actions. (This phenom I see a lot on tumblr, where if a celebrity does one good thing — feminist Ryan Gosling, pro-LGBT Daniel Radcliffe, etc — they get tagged with things like “wonderful flawless human being” and then I feel like vomiting. They’re not flawless. They just met the bare minimum for decency. We just care more because we happen to see them on the silver screen all the time, and sometimes naked.)

Sincerely,

who is still working on being a a decent human being.

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