Generation Y has no viable claim to fame


What do Kim Kardashian, The Situation and Heidi Montag all have in common?  I literally have no idea why they are in my hemisphere, not to mention trending on Twitter.  With no plausible talents, achievements or even goals, it begs the question: why are these people famous?  The simple answer is reality TV.  The complicated answer is Generation Y. 

According to a Pew Research Center poll released earlier this year, 81 percent of 18 to 25-year-olds (Generation Y) surveyed said that getting rich is their generation's first or second-most-important life goal; 51 percent said the same about being famous. Twenty years ago the same demographic was listing family or success as their most important goals in life. 

With reality programming taking over television, we are seeing an influx of people becoming celebrities simply for being themselves and nothing more. It's hard to wonder, why not me?  I could get angry at dinner and flip over that table. I could get pregnant, be a teen mom and have cameras follow me around. And yes, I could thoroughly enjoy having 20 single men throw themselves at me while I pick them off one by one, hoping to find the man of my dreams.

The simple fact is that money creates the freedom to live the lives we desire. With the tanking economy far from recovery it seems that debt-riddled Americans are actually beginning to see get-rich-fast scenarios as actually being the best option.  Little do they realize that in the long run they are merely degrading themselves, as well as our generation on the whole.

On "Jersey Shore" countless women throw themselves at the male cast members for a shot at their 15 minutes of fame.  This, however, ends abruptly when they get kicked out around three a.m. after proving just how desperate for attention they really are.  On "American Idol," people who should never even attempt karaoke, make fools out of themselves believing they can be the world's next great singer.  And on Paris Hilton's "My New BFF" people degrade and demoralize themselves just to be Paris Hilton's "friend," when in real-reality, once the cameras stop filming, they never see each other again, save for the occasional promo. 

More and more it seems like an epidemic of pure laziness has taken over our generation.  When I see the average moron becoming rich and famous for getting drunk in a mansion all day, I become angry that someone so insignificant could possibly be getting paid for that.  But what isn't shown is the reality in their reality.  We have yet to see any of these "stars" parlay their quasi-celebrity status into something long lasting.  In five years I'll be shocked if any of these people are still around save for promotional appearances at Wal-Mart. 

The Pew study also found that young people are about twice as likely to admire an entertainer, as they are a political leader.  This fact doesn't so much surprise me though, given the frequency of scandal-shrouded politicians making the headlines in recent years: John Edwards cheating on his cancer-stricken wife while harboring a hidden love child. Governor Eliot Spitzer's expensive taste for call-girls, and Congressman Mark Foley resigning from office after "sexting" an underage, male, congressional page, all speak to the suspect moral integrity of our country's leaders. 

So all things considered, I suppose wanting to be rich is not a bad thing.  But the kind of fame that I see people searching for everyday is simply unrealistic.  The spotlight is fickle and fifteen minutes blows by, but well-deserved success can last forever.

Culture, OpinionadviserComment