Celebrity fixation a sad commentary

By By Liz Carlston

By Liz Carlston

America has a love-hate relationship with celebrities. We’re quick to buy the magazines and tune in to the entertainment news channel with an unquenchable fascination with the lives of the rich and famous, but we’re just as fast to criticize and alienate famous people, invade their privacy or go to great lengths to idolize them.

Most people know that in Vegas, your chance of seeing an Elvis impersonator is pretty good. Little Legends, a stage show near Planet Hollywood, features little people who dress up like Elvis, Cher, Michael Jackson and Britney Spears.

Not even Utah is immune to the celebrity craze. Earlier this month, Gary Coleman and his wife were bowling in Payson. A fan started snapping pictures of the “Diff’rent Strokes” star after being asked not to. The day ended in a personal injury lawsuit against Coleman when he allegedly hit the fan with his truck. This is the stuff that sells millions of magazines while simultaneously destroys reputations.

Even Murray High School’s David Archuleta is getting in on the action. Our homegrown “American Idol” runner-up is now the main draw and star of a corn field in Lehi. His torso has been designed and cut into Thanksgiving Point’s corn maze for the 2008 season.

“Though we considered featuring Barack Obama and John McCain in our maze design this year, we chose to honor a Utahn who did our state proud and gathered more than 40 million votes while competing in the finale of American Idol,” said Brett Herbst, Archuleta’s corn maze creator. “That’s actually more votes than either presidential candidate received in the primary election, and we felt like David’s accomplishment was something we wanted to honor in the best and biggest way we could.”

Corn maze coordinators said curious maze-goers will spend an average of one hour trying to run around David’s head (while possibly looking for a shortcut through his nose or eyeball), as they look for the 12-acre labyrinth’s exit.

It’s a sad truth that America is more inclined to vote for entertainment on a television show than to vote in a presidential election. Sure, we need entertainment to occasionally distract us from the difficult issues of the day, but as in the case of the corn maze, people go to bizarre lengths to idolize celebrities and be entertained.

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Liz Carlston