American Idle: Is Celebrity News a Harmless Habit?

image_nv9xvmRed carpet fashion. On-set chemistry. Celebrity babies and weddings, arrests and rehab. Do these phrases make your guilty-pleasure self sit up and beg for details? And not just details, but pictures! Photos of John Mayer covered in lipstick kisses, mugshots of a wrecked Lindsay Lohan, paparazzi pics of Gwen Stefani playing peekaboo in the park with her son: reading about these things is just not enough.

So is keeping up with celebrity fashion, parties, and relationships a harmless way to relax, or is it an indulgence we’ve got to stop? We might think this is a moral murky area that the Bible doesn’t cover, but when we look at our motivations for and the results of being intersested in celebrity gossip, we’ll see more clearly what good and bad can come from this idle pursuit.

  1. “It’s something my friends and I can talk about.”
    This is a topic that can seem safe, as there’s no guilt factor, like there is with gossiping about real people. Except…celebrities are real people. Bashing Miley Cyrus’ singing voice or Taylor Swift’s girl-next-door looks might not feel as harmful as saying negative things about people you actually know, but these comments are still bitter, malicious, and slanderous, and God says to put these things away from us (Ephesians 4:31). Slander, by the way, is “speech injurious to another’s good name.”Another Scripture tells us to let our speech be “with grace” (Colossians 4:6). If you want to condemn Miley’s immodest dress or bawdy lyrics, do so with gentlenes and grace, not as a judgment to her person. As in, “I don’t think Hannah Montana would wear those short shorts–I know I wouldn’t,” instead of “She has turned into a total tramp!”

    But gentle or not, very little talk about celebrity news is wholesome: it’s a waste of words that could be used instead to encourage, teach, or impart grace (Ephesians 4:29).

  2. It makes me feel better about myself when I see people my age being irresponsible and getting in trouble.” 
    Celebrities’ bad decisions and misfortunes can seem like a train wreck from which we just can’t look away, but the sad truth is, that’s someone’s life. I’m not saying we should set up a prayer vigil for Lindsay Lohan while she’s in jail, but I am saying we should not judge people based on the small part of their lives we see in the media. Jesus told us that we shouldn’t judge based on appearance, but with righteous judgment (John 7:24). If photographers were trailing me all the time, there would be any number of conclusions people could reach, depending on what photos they see. I’m not justifying the often self-absorbed, irresponsible behavior of today’s young stars, but I am saying that we cannot judge them based on what the media presents to us because of its entertainment value. And neither can we measure our character by comparing it to the behavior of wealthy, attention-seeking teenagers: our pattern is Christ and perfection, not the world’s ideals of beauty and success.
  3. “I wish I could live the starlet lifestyle: the fashion, cute boys, fun parties, and all the attention!” 
    Living vicariously through the glamorous, indulgent, carefree lives of celebrities seems fun and innocent enough: better than doing it yourself, right? But what are you really doing when you secretly yearn for fame? Envy. Covetousness. Making a life of fleshly desires, sensuality, and arrogance our ambition. In 2 Peter 2, verses 18 and 19, God says that people who live lives centered on these things try to entice us with promises of freedom, but they are actually slaves to their own sin. Our ambition should not be for a life in the spotlight, but for a quiet one, where we can take care of our own business and work in the place God gives us (1 Thessalonians 4:11).

Not only can the lifestyle of the stars enslave, but so can their beauty ideals. As mentioned in the previous point, we cannot allow Hollywood to dictate our idea of beauty. Let’s face it: our 30-minute beauty routine can’t compare to the parade of professionals that transforms the morning version of Miranda Cosgrove into iCarly. Our outward beauty should represent our God-given features, Biblical standards of modesty, and our own personal tastes, not what Hollywood says is stylish right this second. Meanwhile, our inward beauty is what really matters, not external things, like how we fix our hair or what clothes and jewelry we wear (1 Peter 3:3, 4).

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Great minds talk about ideas; average minds talk about events; small minds talk about people.” So you see, celebrities can shed some light into our lives with their wisdom. But not with their clothing choices, dating dramas, and illegal escapades. Shoot for greatness, girls.

Kim Mauck
About Kim Mauck 40 Articles
I'm Kimberly Mauck, a gal living her happily-ever-after, sort of. I love my life being wife of a handsome but usually dirty homebuilder, mom of four lovely girls, writer of travel pieces, inspirational articles, and occasionally, miraculously, young adult fiction. I also teach freshman composition part-time at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Reading and writing are the best ways I've found to make sense of the world and find my voice and ministry, so I do both everyday.

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