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Past Celebrities, we should stop Idolizing

The dark forgotten truth of worshipped celebrities




In current times, we have created the tendency to fascinate and divulge ourselves in the lives of others, especially those who appear in the media. Our fixation on the lives of celebrities is evident and encouraged by news outlets, which are easily accessible pieces that continually focus on these people. While these tendencies have the potential to be good practices, they may also give rise to toxic obsessions and false idolization. In the past, celebrities have not always made the most ethical and moral decisions, yet due to their existing popularity and vast fan bases, they are nonetheless idolized by committed supporters, despite their bad reputations. Society's inability to hold these celebrities accountable for their actions has resulted in the creation and encouragement of toxic role models and false idols, whose behaviors should not be applauded or justified under the circumstances of fame and wealth. Many dead celebrities seem to be praised and highly spoken of, given their career, yet we all need a brutal reality check on these celebrities we treat like saints.


Theodor Seuss Geisel, or the beloved Dr. Seuss, as we all know him, has had a successful career writing illustrated children's books such as “The Cat in the Hat”, and “Green Eggs and Ham”, “Lorax” and many more. Despite his success, Dr. Seuss did surface his dark side early in his career, but it remains unknown to many. Long before the start of WWII, Seuss illustrated racist stereotypes in children's books and political cartoons. One of his infamous illustrations shows an Asian man with bright yellow skin, slanted eyes, a pigtail, and a cone-like hat, holding chopsticks and a bowl of rice over the words “A Chinaman who eats with sticks.” Dr. Seuss created racist, anti-Asian propaganda while creating problematic and hateful slogans toward these people. Apart from his shady illustrations, Dr. Seuss’s life also contributed to his dark side. He was married to Helen Palmer Geisel for 40 years, and unexpectedly she became seriously ill, suffering from partial paralysis, followed by cancer. During this excruciating time, instead of standing by his wife, he had an affair with Audrey Stone Dimond, revealing it publicly. This cruel infidelity broke Helen completely, and instead of dying slowly of cancer, she chose to take her own life, leaving behind a dreadful suicide note. Dr. Seuss died months after his wife's death, married to his mistress.


David Robert Jones, known as David Bowie, was a worldwide sensation in the late 70s. He was an English singer/songwriter and actor. A leading figure in the music industry, considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. As we celebrate Bowie’s brilliance, we should acknowledge how he and many other male celebrities abuse their power. When we treat public figures like idols, we neglect how famous men tend to prey on women and girls. Bowie is part of a long line of male stars who used their fame to take advantage of vulnerable women. Numerous underage women at the time, recently confessed suffering sexual assault from Bowie in the past. A 15-year-old girl named Lori Mattix in the early 1970s, stated in an interview, that she lost her virginity to Bowie, and under the law in California, this act is considered statutory rape. It is ambitious for any victim of sexual assault to come forward, especially beloved public figures, which is why a story like this is hard to believe. Yes, Bowie had exceptional talent. No, he was not a monster, but we should never glorify celebrities to the point where we refuse to acknowledge that they are capable of ugly acts.


Coco Chanel is recognized for her timeless fashion creations and her impeccable fashion sense, up to this day. Despite being known as an honorable fashion icon, what many do not know is that, behind her attainment, she was secretly a Nazi sympathizer. There is much evidence to suggest that Coco Chanel was more than just a Nazi sympathizer, but an actual Nazi agent. When the Second World War broke out, Chanel closed her stores, claiming it was “not a time for fashion” and effectively left 4,000 female workers unemployed. When France was invaded, she moved into the Hotel Ritz during the German occupation, where she lived alongside a high-ranking German military officer. She used the war as an opportunity to take action against the Jewish Wertheimer family, who were directors of Parfums Chanel, to gain full profit of her perfumes. Around 1941, Chanel was registered as Agent F-7124, with the code name “Westminster”. She assisted Germany by obtaining “political information” from colleagues in Madrid, and later participated in another operation based on her connection to Churchill. However, the mission failed when an agent betrayed the Germans, denouncing Chanel to the British Embassy as a Nazi spy. Despite her acts, she was able to erase all evidence from her actions tied to Abwehr and escaped punishment. After the war, she managed to continue building her empire, and no one ever questioned her.


Gandhi is remembered by many as a 20th-century symbol of non-violence, he led the non-violent independence movement in India against British rule and advocated for the civil rights of Indians in South Africa. Gandi did achieve much in life and is recognized for all his achievements, which tends to overshadow and excuse the questionable things he once did. The squeaky clean image that most people have about Gandhi is, to some extent, false. Gandhi was a racist and committed questionable sexual practices throughout his life. In 1903, while Gandhi was in South Africa, he wrote that white people should be “the predominating race” and that black people “are troublesome, very dirty, and live like animals”. As a young man, Gandhi went with the ideas of his culture and his time. In his 20s, he believed that Europeans were civilized. Indians were almost as civilized, and Africans were uncivilized. However, he outgrew his racism, and for most of his life as a public figure, he was an anti-racist, advocating for discrimination of all kinds. Like many religious people at the time, Gandhi vowed himself to celibacy after his father's death, in an attempt to increase his focus on important tasks at hand. To test his chastity he would force women to sleep with him including some underage girls, like his grandniece, to test his sexual patience.


Lastly, another significant figure is Mother Teresa, during her lifetime she became known as the Catholic nun who dedicated her life to caring for the dying, in the slums of Calcutta. You’re probably asking yourself, how could a nun, of all people, fit into this pretext? A former volunteer, Hemley Gonzalez, visited many of the facilities Mother Teresa was responsible for starting and claims only a “troubled individual” could have set them up. He claims he saw nuns routinely reuse needles after washing them in tap water, they would use clothes sometimes soiled with urine and feces. Patients suffering from respiratory diseases had to bathe in freezing water because there was a single water heater for the entire facility. And he further claims there was not a single doctor or medically trained nurse at the facility. Keeping in mind that all of these facilities together receive millions of dollars in donations from around the world, the question lies, how can the sanitation and infrastructure be so poor. Gonzalez offered to install a water heater and help the nuns, yet he always received the same response from the nuns: “We don't do that here. This is the way Jesus wants it, they'd say.” Mother Teresa covered up for the Catholic Church's greatest excesses and seemed more drawn to poverty than truly helping people escape it. She believed that being poor was good, since Jesus was poor.

This proves how every single person, even the famed worshiped celebrities, are all good people, who are capable of committing bad things. We can't let our love for these people excuse the actions of their past, and we certainly cannot act like they are all saints. Their doings must be acknowledged and accounted for, like every other person. These people should be less idolized in society, and instead of fixating ourselves on the person, we should appreciate what they have done, and the art they've created or participated in.




Bibliography:


  • Frayer, Lauren. “Gandhi Is Deeply Revered, But His Attitudes On Race And Sex Are Under Scrutiny.” NPR, NPR, 2 Oct. 2019, www.npr.org/2019/10/02/766083651/gandhi-is-deeply-revered-but-his-attitudes-on-race-and-sex-are-under-scrutiny.

  • Gates, M. Sullivan. “A Word on David Bowie, Lori Mattix, and the Speed of Information.” Medium, Medium, 26 Dec. 2016, medium.com/@msullivangates/a-word-on-david-bowie-lori-mattix-and-the-speed-of-information-b38681f24cf4.

  • Leach, Maddison. “Women in History: Coco Chanel's Dark Double Life as a Nazi Agent.” Women in History: Coco Chanel's Dark Double Life as a Nazi Agent - 9Honey, 9Honey, 9 Jan. 2021, honey.nine.com.au/latest/coco-chanel-women-in-history-nazi-ties/b23ab822-9e28-4cc8-b070-86ddee401cae.

  • “Why Dr. Seuss Got Away with Anti-Asian Racism for so Long.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 12 Mar. 2021, www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/dr-seuss-got-away-anti-asian-racism-long-rcna381.

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