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Let's Stop Reaching for the So-Called Stars

A new poll says everyone's sick of keeping up with the Kardashians and company. Now's the time to change the channel on boring celebrities.

By Leah Rozen

There’s a new poll out that shows Americans would be just as happy if, in 2013, they heard a lot less about the Kardashian sisters (all of ’em), Lindsay Lohan, Honey Boo-Boo, Justin Bieber, Chris Brown and Donald Trump. 
I’m down with that.
All are pop culture figures that do nothing to enrich my life or, obviously, the lives of those polled. The poll, reported by UPI, was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Zebra Pen Corp.
“We thought it would be fun to conduct a light-hearted survey to find out which celebs have been a bit overexposed in 2012," Chris Farley, Zebra’s marketing head, told UPI. "Now that we know the perceptions of the country, we'll see how the new year shapes up for these ink-grabbing celebrities.”
I’m in favor of sending all of them to Antarctica. Pronto.
(For anyone who has been stranded on an iceberg themselves for the past few years, the Kardashians are full-figured young women who star in various reality TV shows and define the word “vacuity”; Lindsay Lohan is a talented former child star who has frequent run-ins with the law; Honey Boo-Boo is a fresh-mouthed, redneck kid who competes in child beauty pageants and stars on a reality TV show; Justin Bieber is a Canadian teenage heartthrob who warbles; Chris Brown is a rapper with serious anger management issues; and Donald Trump is an obnoxiously boastful businessman with a clump of reddish-blond cotton candy affixed to the top of his pate.)
One of the pleasures of growing older is that you’re better able to tune out the white noise of celebritydom. You realize that most of these people don’t matter. They come, they go. Your life goes on.
I say this as someone who spent more than a quarter century working as a writer and editor at People magazine. There was a time when I could name all the members of the New Kids on the Block and the cast of Beverly Hills, 90210. It was a job requirement.
My father had it right more than a dozen years ago when, upon catching sight of a photo in a newspaper, he turned to me and asked, “Do I have to care about Marky Mark?”
“Nope, Pop," I told him. "You really don’t.”
“That’s what I thought,” he said. I’m guessing he never wasted another brain cell reflecting on the former underwear model turned actor, Mark Wahlberg.
Years ago my father and I were watching Meet the Press and I helpfully pointed out that former Secretary of State Jeanne Kirkpatrick appeared to have recently had a face lift. He turned to me and said, “Honey, not all of us are obsessed with who had a face lift, wears a toupee or is gay.”
Words for the wise.
Don’t get me wrong. Back when I was 13 and even 25, I cared about who Mick Jagger was dating (now I pity the person), whether Elizabeth Taylor had a new husband (she invariably did) and if Bruce Springsteen was ever going to settle down with a nice Jersey girl (yes!). But that was before I had much of a real life of my own. Now I wish them all the best, but I've got enough going on in my own life that I don’t have the spare time or attention to focus on their ups and downs.
I’m proposing that we all make a collective resolution for the new year: to give up obsessing over celebrities. No more star-crazy magazines, no more reality shows, no more TMZ.
If we don’t care or pay attention, maybe, just maybe, like the Wicked Witch at the end of The Wizard of Oz, they’ll just shrivel up and disappear for good.
The world would be a better, and definitely a quieter, place.

Leah Rozen, a former film critic for People magazine, is a freelance writer for The New York Times, More and Parade. Read More
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