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Alice Yang
Yang is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star.
She is a student at Stephen F. Austin High School-FBISD.

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.
OCD, Obsessive Celebrity Disorder:
Why you have it and how to cure it

The other day while reading Time magazine, I came across a political cartoon. The first box gave a headshot of a double-chinned, balding man declaring that he was tired of people saying Americans donít care about children in Africa. Then in the second box, you see the upper half of the manís body as he grins and says with confidence that he went out and bought a T-shirt.

The shirt says ĎBrangelina had a girl!í

The cartoon pokes fun at the constant celebrity obsession that currently plagues the nation. Three manifestations of this obsession can be seen just through the cartoon. 1)The fuzzy and lovely moniker Brangelina coined to join the couple into a blob of a single entity in the legacy of Bennifer and TomKat. 2) The man actually thought wearing the shirt meant caring about African kids. 3) The fact that there are shirts out there stamped with tabloid-sounding headlines circulating Americaís apparel world.

And there really are shirts like that. Remember the famous Team Aniston vs. Team Jolie? Poor Brad Pitt. I wonder which one he was sporting. Or the line of white tees stamped with a bold black ĎThatís Hotí to show the world your Paris Hilton attitude post Simple Life.

There is something seriously wrong when there are people on eBay willing to bid thousands for Britney Spearsí saliva-drenched chewing gum or when magazines dedicate whole sections to analyzing the latest picture of a celebrity couple, trying to decode their body language and love habits. Or my personal favorite? A jar of Brangelinaís possible exhalations sold for $530 in an online auction.

Not that being interested in celebrity culture is a curious phenomenon. Itís definitely understandable that we, as commoners, are intrigued by the glamorous lifestyle of the rich and famous. In fact, I enjoy reading celebrity gossip: who is dating whom, who lost weight, who had a baby; But when there are pictures zooming in on Mischa Bartonís Starbuckís and captions concluding that she likes soy with her coffee, itís too much.

Why have we become so obsessed with how these people live? My guess is that we are just inherently curious, or nosy about other peopleís lives. The more intimate, the better. The more sensational, the better. It provides a sort of entertainment where we can all live vicariously through the ups and downs of the glamorous drama of other people. And hone our psychoanalysis skills in the process.

The media is not helping to curb this OCD, what I would like to call the Obsessive Celebrity Disorder. Instead, it stuffs us with more and more intimate details of these starís lives. When there are more than a hundred something tabloids running in the nation, reporters and photographers are out to beat the competition. Getting a picture of Mischa Barton is good. Getting a picture of her with puffy eyes and no makeup is better. And getting a close-up of her daily soy-enriched coffee is the best.

But in our mad desire to know every juicy detail, we are directly supporting media to take more images, find more gossip, butt into more lives. Thatís what happens in a supply and demand economy. We demand it. Media supplies it. And the vicious cycle continues, until we reach a zenith where celebrities have no privacy at all.

And thatís the other issue, that celebrities do want and deserve some amount of privacy. Though they should realize that, yes, they are in the nationís eyes and need to deal with paparazzi and eager fans, they donít deserve to be scrutinized to the detail of whatís in their coffee. Nor should they have weird people lurking around their house scouting for discarded gum or mad hatters prancing around with empty jars ready to cap the air around them.

Maybe itís time to realize that deep inside, celebrities and commoners have some things in common: they enjoy privacy once in a while. They are people. Rich, glamorous, exaggerated icons of a people, but people who enjoy some iota of privacy nonetheless.

Yang is a contributing columnist for the Fort Bend Star. She is a student in FBISD.

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   Last Update:  September 07, 2006