Misbehaving celebrities: A vicious cycle

Two pieces of news irritated me this evening. Justin Bieber behaved like an arrogant brat in a court deposition and Kyle Sandilands asked creepy, out-of-line questions of Kiwi singer Lorde in a radio interview.

Sure, Bieber’s been obnoxious for years and Kyle has never made a secret of his “controversial” schtick. This is hardly news. In fact, Sandlilands and on-air partner Jackie O today tied for first place in the first radio ratings of the year. But what has always frustrated me and was demonstrated once again today, is that they were on every news broadcast, all over websites and blogs, and dominating social media. These two <insert expletives here> are getting publicity. It may be negative, but it’s publicity.

As long as their faces are being plastered all over our television screens and computer monitors, people like Bieber and Sandilands are winning. And it’s a downside of our celebrity-obsessed culture that as much as we condemn these sort of characters, we can’t get enough of their stories.

Bieber and Sandilands. Photos: Reuters and Getty Images, respectively.
Bieber and Sandilands
Photos: Reuters and Getty Images, respectively.

The issue of internet trolls has lead to the inception of the phrase ‘Don’t feed the trolls’. As a lot of this behaviour is done to attract attention, the theory is that ignoring it is the best way to make it go away.

I think we should apply the same technique to obnoxious celebrities:
Don’t Publicise the Pricks.
Don’t Study the Stupid.
Don’t Focus on the Fools.

These people’s careers rely on their public face. They need to be recognised, they need their audiences to follow their activity and stay interested in what is happening with them. Even uproar over and complete condemnation of their actions still serves this purpose.

So if we take that away from them, maybe they’ll do us all a favour and just go away.

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