If I came face-to-face with Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber tomorrow, I probably wouldn’t care. I’d be confused by the random influx of famous people into my life, but otherwise I doubt I would start screaming or foaming at the mouth.
I’ve just never been star-struck by a traditional celebrity. This may be due to the fact that for most of my life, the most famous person I’d ever met was my city’s weatherman — but I also don’t think I’d be particularly amazed if I were to meet someone more famous. Obviously there are exceptions (e.g., Ryan Gosling), but it doesn’t seem like the fact that someone is in a TV show or profiled in Us Weekly should merit some overwhelming response to their presence.
However, last Monday I saw David Carr. David Carr, guys. Do you know how cool that is?! The famed media and culture columnist for The New York Times strode into an average classroom on the second floor of the College of Communication, and I … well, um … (I was speechless.)
Twenty-five years ago, this guy was a cocaine addict. Basically, his only concerns were when he’d get his next fix and if he heard the police outside his door. Today, he’s an acclaimed journalist and media expert. That transformation merits a pretty serious level of respect.
Yes, when you search David Carr’s name on Google, the first result is for a quarterback in the NFL, but first of all, that guy is only a backup quarterback right now, and also I’m pretty sure the Times’ Carr has impacted American culture to a greater extent. Just a guess.
I first heard of (the important) David Carr in a documentary about the Times, in which he spoke beautifully about the still-bright future of journalism. And even though Carr is recognized throughout the field of journalism, when I expressed excitement to my friends, classmates and family members, I was met with an, “Oh! Right! He’s, um, he’s … yeah, that’s really cool!”
I understand that there’s no way for everyone to recognize a semi-obscure columnist the way they recognize someone who’s on the radio every 10 minutes. And obviously, the fact that I’m a journalism student makes me more likely to know about Carr. Regardless, I believe that we all ought to be more impressed to see him on our college campus rather than the standard comedian or actor.
All I want is for us to possess unreasonable obsessions about slightly more talented people. If we are all drawn to assigning more value to some people than to others, then we might as well assign that greater value to the people who have experienced absolute darkness and turned that into something beautiful.
Ideally, we could all be star-struck by those who aren’t necessarily “stars” in the traditional sense of the word, because the real stars are those who have shone in the dark and pulled through a bit of light.
Why can’t we look for those stars if we decide to worship any at all?
Jessica Depies is a freshman in the College of Communication studying journalism. She can be reached at email@example.com.