So celebrities aren’t gods?

In our society, celebrities are revered as the perfection of human beings. Although this is rarely the case, people look up to them and strive to be the same. One only needs to look at the crowds of people willing to make fools of themselves to be on shows like American Idol and this becomes clear. Celebrities give people motivation, which grants them a power over the rest of us. This power they have also carries with it a certain responsibility. Unfortunately, celebrities are no better than anyone else, but they won’t always remember this and are liable to make just as many mistakes as anyone else. When celebrities break the law, people often feel misguided or betrayed, and one of the most common ways that celebrities break the law is by using drugs or other illicit substances. In early January, former boxer Mike Tyson was arrested in Arizona on four charges of drug-related crimes. He was put on trial for two counts of drug possession, which is a felony, as well as two counts of driving under the influence of drugs. Within two weeks, he was found guilty of all four counts. Tyson now faces as long as seven and a half years in prison. Furthermore, Tyson is ineligible for Arizona’s drug rehabilitation program instead of prison. This is because of previous violent crimes including a rape conviction in 1992. “While I grew up, I thought that Tyson was the kind of person that I wanted to be,” junior Cody Gilbert said. “But after the biting of the ear and now a drug problem, I feel a little lost.” Mike Tyson is not the only celebrity that has been caught with drugs. Rush Limbaugh, River Phoenix, John Belushi, Kelly Osbourne, and Kurt Cobain are all celebrities guilty of similar crimes. Both Belushi and Phoenix died from overdoses. Kurt Cobain also died after a life made worse by drug use. This summer, actor Mel Gibson was pulled over for speeding. An anti-Semitic rant ensued, and officers noticed an open bottle of tequila near his seat. “We think celebrities are better people than us because they can do things that we believe ourselves to be incapable of achieving,” junior Jordan Jacobsen said. “When these celebrities break the law, it becomes clear to others that they are no better than anyone else.” When looking at role models, it is important to remember that celebrities are normal people. It is just as easy for them to become addicted to drugs, and they are just as likely to make poor decisions. Perhaps the pressure to be idolized makes them even more prone to error. The abilities of celebrities, whether it is through sports, acting, singing, or something else, should be respected. This can be done without the people themselves being made to seem superior.