Few of today’s celebrities have earned their fame the old-fashioned way

These days, it seems as if people can achieve celebrity without even getting off the couch. From the obsession of reality television to the world-wide connection of the internet, it is far simpler to for a fame seeker to get name recognition with minimal effort.

   It wasn’t too many years ago that musicians needed to work hard to become recognized. They had to work day jobs to gain money, and play local bars at night to gain the slightest hope of gaining name recognition. It was a matter of the right people being in the right place at the right time, or a frenzy breaking out over mixed tapes that were handed out on beaches.

   In today’s world, the hard work bands such as The Beatles and Aerosmith put into becoming famous has been placed on the back burner since there are so many alternative methods that take a lot less time and effort, but can result in the same fame and a lot more profit.

   Television shows such as American Idol and The Voice provide an express lane to the limelight by allowing regular Joes and Janes to sing in front of a panel of has-been Hollywood celebrities with the “auditions” being aired for millions to see. Even if these contestants do not make it to the finals, they still can be recognized enough to simplify their road to fame, if they are not already there.

    “I am a promoter of competition TV shows because they offer ordinary individuals opportunities to showcase their talents,” states senior Jade Simmons.

   The immensely popular television competitions aren’t the only ways to gain instant access to the screens of millions. There are a copious amount of reality shows that take complete random individuals who have done nothing extraordinary and turn them into American icons.  One of the most popular examples of this celebrity-status is Alana Thompson, more popularly known as Honey Boo Boo. First appearing on “Toddlers & Tiaras,” a reality show following children as they compete in beauty pageants, Thompson’s fame has far outgrown what she deserves, which isn’t much.

  There are memes all over the internet about Thompson, she’s  appeared on multiple talk shows such as “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon,” and she became so popular on American media that she even received her own reality television show, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”

   Another popular reality shows that promoted random individuals who contributed nothing to society is “Jersey Shore,” a show that placed young, Jersey adults in one house for the summer and followed them around as they went to clubs and acted in improper ways ranging from substance abuse to foul moutheds, physical altercations. Known for her drunken escapades on the show, Nicole Polizzi (Snooki) is now very popular in the younger generation for her time on the show, even though she is thankfully becoming less talked about since the cancellation of the show.

   “It really is irritating to see how easy it is to become famous,” claims junior Kyla Kantor. “These people are idolized for doing nothing but acting ridiculous and it just degrades the American cultural scene.”

   Celebrity talk-show host Ellen Degeneres is known for inviting random and unique individuals onto her show if she feels they should be seen around the world. For example, she saw a video of a young, English girl singing, along with her best friend dancing to it; she thought they were so talented and adorable that they were invited to perform on her show. Now, Sophia Grace and Rosie are known all over the nation for their repeated performances on “Ellen.” They have met countless celebrities and even have their own film Sophia Grace and Rosie’s Royal Adventure.

   Youtube, the video sharing website where Degeneres discovered Sophia Grace and Rosie, is where most musicians with dreams of fame post their home-videoed perfromances. They post multiple videos of cover songs, hoping one is good enough to get enough views to impress people. There are also many people who get famous from simply commentary. Jenna Marbles has over 14 million subscribers on Youtube and 3.5 million followers on Twitter, just from making comedic videos from, the comfort of her home.

   Gaining celebrity-status is one thing, and maintaining it is another. There were multiple occurrences where, in order to retain the limelight, celebrities have posed for provocative photographs for the media. The most recent example is Kim Kardashian posing nude for Paper magazine, which is ironic considering Kardashian’s claim to fame is that she is a spoiled daughter of a Hollywood attorney to the stars who happened to leak out a pornographic video of herself.  Having made her way to the pinnacle of America’s pop culture scene by questionable means, it appears that there is nothing she is not willing to do to stay there.

   Nineteenth century newspaper man Horace Greely once wrote: Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, and riches take wings. Only one thing endures and that is character.” Kardashian and her ilk live in the vapor of fame, bask in their accidental popularity, and flaunt their riches. But where is the character, the character that comes with having earned the fame, popularity, and riches? Where is the character?