This weeks reading was hard for me to engage with. I completely understand why celebrity culture has reached the level it has and I do not fault anyone for being mesmerized with it, especially since the latest trend is that anyone can become a celebrity. The notion of a Democratic Celebrity is appealing to many and as long as they can see that it does work for some people, the legitimacy of such a notion is enhanced. However, I personally do not participate in most of the media culture. When I was 16 years old, my family suffered a major catastrophe and I ended up couch surfing for a few months before I was able to find a stable place to live by myself and start a new high school. Because of my situation, I worked several jobs to take care of my bills and keep a house and car. One luxury that I quickly discarded was my t.v. and I have not had cable since. Luckily for me, my wife grew up in a t.v. less household so we just continued the tradition. I like t.v. and I know I could find interesting and entertaining shows to watch but since I do not have the option, I am not tempted and therefore I have avoided the reality t.v. phenomenon. Let me be clear though, we do have a t.v. just not cable. We get a few PBS channels, fox, CBS, and ABC for free. Therefore, I can see the impact that it has on my kids. They do like the shows that define celebrity culture, they listen to popular music, and they are quite adept at the Internet. However, when I see them watching particular programs, if I hear something that is not entirely true, or aggressive advertising, I explain what is happening and how media tries to influence consumers.
In addition to parents keeping a close eye and explaining the various aspects of media celebrity, it is very important for teachers to understand what their students are watching and who the majority role models are. Even though I admit that I purposefully avoid most t.v., movies, and Internet crazes, I do know what is happening and probably have a better understanding then most people who actively participate in the culture. The method I use to stay abreast is through reading newspapers, magazines, and listening to NPR. Even though I don't actively engage with celebrity culture, I know what is going on and most importantly, I understand the background information and business side of it. It is important for educators to know what their students are interested in so that they can relate and engage with them. If students think their teachers are dinosaurs, then they will not fell as welcome in the classroom. Lastly, it educators can use popular culture to their advantage in lesson plans and discussions. Therefore, it is possible to disengage from celebrity culture but still understand what is happening and use it to one's advantage.