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Celebrity America

January 11, 2017

Modem “rock” music, Saturday Night Live, cable television, and the Internet are shaping a “celebrity” culture with a focus on such names as Kardashian, Franken, Trump, Ventura, Prince, Jackson. These are just a few that come to mind.

What’s going on?

Remember when preachers held rallies where they burned the records of Elvis? By comparison to some musicians with sales in the hundreds of millions, Elvis is wholesome.

To some extent, this fascination with celebrity can be traced to a desire for “fame” that has been a feature of modernity and American culture going as far back as President George Washington and others of his generation. They did well for our country but they also were driven by a desire to be remembered.

All human beings comprehend that time is fleeting, so anything that can give permanence to living in time is valued. But, “celebrity”? What about good character, self-sacrifice, obeying the law, loving and caring for family?

Celebrity, being widely known, trumps (no pun intended that) and has commercial value as seen in a proliferation of “swag” marketed at celebrity websites. So, if you’re a celebrity you can enjoy being famous and make a buck on it.

Well, now, it appears you can also gain power by achieving celebrity status. Three of those names mentioned above were elected to high office, most recently, President of the United States. Taking a cue from Donald Trump, Al Franken is rumored to be thinking about a run for President.

Fortunately, there are permanent things and there is a website that promotes them. Take a look at this post from “The Imaginative Conservative.” There are places we can go to learn about what is truly important. Academy of Philosophy and Letters, the Cardinal Newman Society, are just two places I visit occasionally. And I frequently visit the Philadelphia Society’s posting of lectures given at past meetings by some of our great conservative thinkers.  But, for many years the place to go to acquire this knowledge was a college campus.

Today, important academic disciplines such as the Humanities and Social Sciences attract ideologues who reject reality and seek to replace it with better, second, realities of their own concoction. For close to a half century–if you calculate the beginning of our cultural collapse to 1968–colleges and universities are populated by talented intellectuals who despise our country, our market-driven economic system of free enterprise and traditional religion.

Young Americans, fresh out of high school, who enter their world without intellectual defenses or religious faith do so at great peril.

What we’re seeing in the United States today is a consequence of the destructive influence of our colleges and universities and a rebellion, perhaps the last, by Americans who sense that something has gone terribly wrong by reaching out for a solution–from a celebrity.


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