Paris Hilton is in jail for 23 days because of her violation of her probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case. She has been seen crying nonstop along with starving herself in jail. Oh, and three United States soldiers were killed and six injured after a suicide bombing caused a bridge across a highway near the Iraqi capital to collapse on June 11. Take a close look at these two stories and attempt to compare them. There is absolutely no comparison. Yet, our country and the majority of our society seem to be much more interested and absorbed in the first story in the recent news than in the second.
How do we change our obsession with celebrities and the "lifestyles of the rich and the famous"? Do we even want to? This question has been brought up over and over again, and although we criticize society and even ourselves for sharing this obsession, we do absolutely nothing about it. Paris Hilton and her jail time have been on the cover of main newspapers all over the country because it just simply "sells". Why do we buy it, though? If we want to change our focus on more important topics such as the war in Iraq or the upcoming presidential elections, why do we still feed on gossip stories of celebrities and their personal lives? We are so anxious to see many of our beloved stars' and celebrities' flaws revealed in juicy gossip stories on numerous newspapers everywhere than we are to read about how many casualties are lost in Iraq.
Are celebrities really more important than a war on terror or battling poverty in underdeveloped countries? We need to take a better look at ourselves and what our society has become today. Our society is hiding its flaws and insecurities and is ignoring, or wants to ignore, the real issues that really bother us. Maybe gossip is more enjoyable to read and doesn't cause a feeling of pain or hopelessness, as do other more serious issues.
We should educate ourselves and our children on what really matters in changing society for the better instead of focusing on topics that shift it to the worse. Our children are reading about these celebrities and many are striving to be like them one day- rich and famous. The more they see and hear of them, the more they want to be like them. The main problem is that the flaws and mistakes of celebrities in their personal lives are usually written about, not their roles in film and even in the charities they support.
It might all just be very simple in the end- gossip sells and real news stories and issues are just set in small print on the bottom of a newspaper page. Will we flip the page to read about Paris Hilton's continuous "miserable life" in prison and overlook updates on the war? Probably, yes.
Niki Podaras is an intern at the Gazette.