Heroes and Celebrities

Heroes and Celebrities

Often when asked to name their heroes, young people will mention athletes and pop stars, citing their popularity and visibility in the media. This podcast challenges you to properly distinguish between a hero and a celebrity by coming up with a sales pitch for a hero branded product.


Voiced by: Redmond Doyle

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Nowadays celebrities and heroes are considered one and the same. When asked to name a personal hero, people will name either a pop star, a rock star, a movie star, or an athlete. People often confuse real heroes with celebrities who are usually recognized for their beauty, wealth, or some kind of talent. Yes, some celebrities do in fact perform heroic deeds, and some heroes become celebrities as a result of their acts, but these two words (celebrity and hero) mean two very different things and refer to two very different kinds of people.
A hero is someone who changes our lives, inspires us and makes our world better. A celebrity is just a person who is known for being well-known. Heroes teach. Celebrities entertain. Heroes sacrifice themselves for the good of others. Celebrities want others to sacrifice themselves for them. Heroes are admired for their bravery, their acts of kindness, and their generosity. Celebrities are loved for their perfect appearance and their sometimes rather doubtful talents. Heroes serve others without expecting a reward or acknowledgement. Celebrities perform to be noticed by others; they look around for cameras and some kind of pecuniary advantage.
As we see, there is a huge difference between these two concepts.
Everyday heroes like firemen, doctors, and policemen are the ones who really deserve awards and recognition from the mass media. But, unfortunately, these people remain unnoticed and people take their service for granted. Instead, celebrities are everywhere. Their constant showing off in the media helps them to increase their fame and it keeps their names on everyone's lips. Even though they purportedly object to the invasion of their privacy, they actually crave attention, because it keeps them in the limelight. Celebrities offer exclusive stories to magazines and engineer various scandals in pursue of this goal. The media promotes all this crap to sell more magazines or increase their ratings, and we play along with this circus by paying so much attention to their futzing.
In the past, people had heroes. They were real heroes: people who had done great deeds and achieved great things. They were the most prominent members of society. These noble leaders made our world better. They inspired and encouraged people to develop themselves. But then the mass media seized the public consciousness and replaced heroes with celebrities.
If you want to become a hero, you need to do something great or something that has never been done before. But if you want to become a celebrity, you need only two things: a good press agent and the ability to look fabulous. Your manager will do the rest to make you a star. With adroitly crafted media events it is possible to draw more attention to a person than the person deserves. That's why the figures from the world of entertainment are the most recognizable people in the world.
For many of us, the heroes of the past were an inspiration; they were role models. They broadened our horizons, taught us, and gave us an example of behavior that could be considered noble. Celebrities, on the other hand, with all the stories about their troubles and successes, their break-ups and affairs, their trendy clothes, their tastelessness, and their dissolute way of life reveal themselves to be nothing out of the ordinary. They have nothing to teach us and reading about them is just a waste of time. A fun waste of time, but a waste of time nonetheless. The next time you're watching TV and the news anchor starts talking about a celebrity, change the channel.