POP CULTURE: Better Celebrities

POP CULTURE: Better Celebrities


Serious people are used to thinking badly of celebrity culture. They hate how everyone wants to read about where the latest big name has been on holiday, or who they’re dating. They say it’s silly and a sad reflection of modern civilization. Such stern attitudes may sound sensible and noble, but they are in truth deeply irresponsible. The impulse to admire and have heroes is an important part of human nature. Ignoring it or condemning it won’t kill it off; it simply forces it underground where it lurks undeveloped, prone to latch onto inappropriate targets. Human beings need role models. We therefore shouldn’t try to eradicate celebrity culture– we need to improve it: bringing a better kind of person to the fore of public consciousness; we need better celebrities, rather than no celebrities. Alexander Lukashenko is a rather evil dictator of Belarus, but this doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care, in a way, about making his country a better place. Recently, he’s run a nationwide competition to find a raft of new celebrities. Elena is very good at milking cows. On her best-ever day, she pumped over 1,100 liters from the herd into the tanks. And recently, her prowess has been recognized by the government of Belarus. She is being named officially, ‘The Best Milkmaid’ of the Slutsk region, which lies just south of the capital, Minsk. It’s like winning a major talent competition on TV in the west. Elena traveled to the capital to pick up an award from the president himself. She’s been in all the papers. Sasha, too, has been on it. He held the 2015 title of ‘Best Welder of the Republic’. All countries, of course, stage competitions. We regularly award prizes for excellence at long jump, or throwing darts at a board. These things are recreational, though, rather than focused on jobs or the ordinary activities of everyday life. In Belarus, the ambition is quite different. Elena and Sasha are national celebrities, the equivalent of hosts of TV chat shows, supermodels and tycoons in other countries. They are seen as embodying ideals, to which we should all aspire. Meanwhile, young couples are encouraged to revere the example set by two other prize winners: Natalia and Conan, who’ve been awarded the prize for Belarus’ ‘Best Couple in Love’. The awards handed out in Belarus are not ashamed to stress the virtues of very ordinary people. The winners become famous, but don’t look at all the way we’ve come to think that famous people should. Most people in the UK or Germany don’t look sufficiently smart or fashionable to be able to become famous in those countries. But Belarus has focused entirely on how good a person is at doing something basic and useful, like bringing up a family, working in a dairy, or helping make tractors. These are the country’s only criteria of fame. It’s very unfortunate if we associate these kinds of awards, which bestow celebrity status for excellence in ordinary things, with an Eastern-European dictator and his oppressive regime. In fact, the good idea behind these awards is universal. It belongs as much, in fact more so, in liberal states. The core point is that a lot of things we should care about and need to take seriously are not currently well-treated by the media machine that creates celebrity culture. But that’s no reason to despair over the idea of celebrity. We should take more seriously the task of creating good celebrities– good in the sense that one would be honoring people who demonstrate, with particular clarity, virtues that need to be more common in society. As part of this new venture to create better celebrities, one might, for example, set out prizes for: the introvert who most successfully managed to communicate what he/she felt to their partner, the child who most generously forgave their parents, the worker who most intelligently diffused in fighting at the office, and, perhaps the biggest prize of all, the husband who best learned to control his temper and say sorry. We don’t need to stop having celebrities– we just need to put some slightly more helpful ones in front of our eyes.

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100 thoughts on “POP CULTURE: Better Celebrities”

  • I think we ought to examine the traits that modern celebrities embody- lavishness, exclusivity, appearance, wealth etc.- because these traits are what usually make up fantasies that people indulge in. Fantasies make us feel good whereas toil and practicality do not. People naturally have a habit for choosing that which provides pleasure, especially in such an age as ours, where there is less direct problems to, in a manner of speaking, whip our reason into motion.

  • If we need better celebrities, why isn't it then sensible to not respect today's celebrities because they aren't 'better'? As per the points of the video, if we need better celebrities, we need to acknowledge that today's celebrities aren't any good.

  • In which case, are celebrities like Bill Gates the 'right kind' of celebrities? Because he became famous for founding Microsoft, a company that helps people with jobs and improves the quality of life for so many people around the world today?

  • Also, the kind of awards that you had suggested in the video do seem rather mundane and uninteresting. How would you deal with the fact that not many people would acknowledge such people as celebrities?

  • So excited to here about my country on my favourite channel!.. Thank you! That's what I love most about the life here – the people and their values that would seems ancient to a great part of the world today.
    However, a "rather evil discator of Belarus" sounds a little biased, guys.. Please, do be more objective.
    Katia, Belarus, Minsk

  • All I'm saying is that, I reckon a certain swanky Youtube commentor whose radically well-grounded hubris could make him/her/him the next best better celebrity. Granted, my comments may specifically take quite a bit of a little bit of some effort to read, and it may even take a little pinch of a tiny portion of time to read them. But…

  • Am I the only one who was heavily distracted and annoyed by the "funny" sounds accompanying the speech and video?

    Imo it made the video many times worse and took away the intelligent and thoughtful vibe these videos usually have

  • I agree that we need better celebrities, but that doesn't mean people should be given awards for things that should be normal. Saying sorry is a normality – giving an award for that is like giving someone an award for not being racist. We should give out awards to and celebrate brilliant scientists, philosophers, writers, artists and people who strive to make our societies better and more fulfilling. There should also be awards for particularly charitable people, thus encouraging rich people to help those in need. Also, is there anyone from Belarus watching who can tell me if these people are really regarded in the same status as western celebrities? I'm curious.

  • Well I agree with half your video. While I like the idea of getting better celebrities that will push society forward, people tend to lean towards individuals that display bravery, kindness and overall just have more of an impact. People that displayed the best in humanity such as Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, Anne Frank, Malala or just generally heroic, generous or intelligent groups of people such as scientists, doctors, astronauts or charity volunteers, you know? As much as I'd respect the milkmaid for doing a great job at what she does, it isn't exactly something that I'd imagine many would be inspired by or realistically find interesting to talk about. Of course, I'd still rather the milkmaid to a celebrity that's only known for having a pretty face or a lot of money but I still think we can aim a little higher than that, don't you think?

  • Interesting, for some many years now, whenever I have come across a story of a person who did something useful, selflessly for someone else, I make sure to tell people I know. I have never understood why so many people watched those Card-ash-ian people. Did not even know they had a show. Thing is, that show, those kind of people make people tune in. When you tune in your rate-card goes up, and so it is a self perpetuating thing. Even more so in America as the Dollar is the mightiest celebrity of all. Why you even have a very dull man gaining political interest simply because thanks to his Grandmother and father, he was able to accumulate some many of those dollars! Just like that willard guy once did.

  • Anyone else notice music from the podcasts "Stuff mom never told you" and "stuffyoushould know" ?

    Nice to know we have similar interests 😀

  • Perhaps Lukashenko's ulterior motive is to urge the citizens to work harder to increase production, and make money for Belarus.

  • One of the best vidoes on the internet and intelligent/motivating conversation in the comments section,I haven't woken up on the same earth I slept in surely?

  • you don't think social media is doing this already? ordinary people can gain a following, however with "big-media" companies still prevalent they have become headhunters for such people. on the same hand we are at the starting line and I am a true believer of the custom being flipped on its head in the years to come.

  • excellent video with a good point, but, is having celebrities really necessary? Shouldn't society learn to reject celebrities? Are they (celebs) any good at all? Obviously, these todays celebrities are junk, but is milking celebrity setting standards for milking or for people to want to learn to milk?
    I think that this depersonalization of fame creates drones for the state.

  • This is why I love YouTube's effect on society, and why we should embrace the celebrities it produces. On YouTube, the people become famous because they worked that hardest, created the best content, and are generally the most relatable human beings that can connect with a large or niche audience. They aren't Brad Pitt who succeeded at everything he did (look at his goddamn bio) and looks like a bloody greek god, or any other celebrity of that nature. YouTube celebs are people who we relate to, and most reflect our often flawed selves, and for that reason they deserve far more than our culture will allow currently.

  • You guys at TSoL are my heroes! See, since you are becoming famous you are becoming Celebrities. Better Celebrities. 😉

  • In a way, kill your heroes… In other words, be better than them… Try to admire those who set a higher goal for you and hopefully those goals are good for the rest…

  • Yay! My home town Minsk! Cleanest city in the world!! You actually get taxed for being unemployed ;)….Unfortunately, such " role models" came across as "propaganda" and the hype was shortly livesd.. Philosophy is found at the bottom of a bottle and the end of a cigarette here. BUT, a unitary government helps keep "peace". If only "we" had a recourse based world… Our economy would thrive rather shrink as a result of dependency on Russian…. Domino effect… Anyways, just the opinions of a boy in search of "freedom"… I keep searching in my heart & mind, for it is void in my external reality… Grateful for the Internet and such awesome channel!s like T.S.O.L Peace & Love Xo

  • The AlDub phenomenon in the Philippines is one of the best examples of this.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34645078
    They teach values such as delayed gratification, respect to the elders, and humility. 🙂

  • Our culture defines what makes a celebrity. I just wish we would stop making stupid people famous. I see our celebrities as being mainly reliant on charisma (the ability to influence without logic). I'd prefer the term "role model" that is someone who can inspire an authentic purpose to a persons life.

  • Elon Musk, Neil DeGreisse Tyson, Bill Gates, those are decent choices. At least something to aspire towards. But Miley Cirus is more prevalent. Fuck.

  • The video made excellent points and but I suppose mention in passing the most irritating side effect of celebrity worshipping: fandom. Even if the celebrity is an ideal down-to-earth role model, you have blind fans deifying the celeb and refusing to acknowledge that the person is as much as a flawed human as anyone else.

  • We in Latvia have nomination "Latvijas Lepnums" (ENG Latvian Pride – don't mix witg that gay pride thing).Here is link to this cermony https://youtu.be/3FNsHMpv9do It's a great show on TV that many awaits and follows. In ceremony awards are given by celebrities like ex-president, charity leaders , etc.
    In this event ordinary people are chosen and awared for their good work done to society. Here are some google translated stories for what people got awared:

    Latvian pride prize is presented in ten nominations.
    Nomination Through thorns to the stars prize went to Martin Oliņš. Martins since the age of 16 wheelchair, however, done in life, probably a lot more than others, inspiring with his fellow human beings and life optimism.

    Good Heart Award nomination received Annette Asare, who has chosen to dedicate their daily lives in emergencies birds, ridding them.

    Courage and bravery nomination prize went to Kevin Garsils and Ainars Bormeistars. Risking their health and lives, the two men in one fateful night, without delay, the ability to be opened during the accommodation of a vehicle's door and managed to save two young lives.

    Guardian Angel Award nomination received Borjaginu family. Although the family has two children grow up, Jolanta Borjagina on your mission considered to give someone an abandoned baby mother love, it may be saving the little boy's life.

    Nomination Savior prize went to James Kalmanis. Teenager James Kalmanis from drowning in the pond bravely and selflessly rescued his schoolmate Kristaps.

    Nomination From Heart to Heart Award was given to Amanda Grase Kotļeva. Amanda helps distressed families with many children in Latvian regions. With the social networking site Facebook Charity assistance in support is around 50 families.

    Teacher Award nomination received a Juris Škuškovnika mathematician. While working with his wife devotes time to helping Latvian school students to succeed in a wide variety of mathematical Olympiads and competitions.

    Nomination man person prize went to Long Vanuška. Ran with his spouse arranged a soup kitchen and every day trying to feed several dozen people.

    Maecenas Award nomination received Aivars Miller. More than ten years selflessly helps his native parish – Skriveri.
    Family Award nomination received Savina Gailums. Rezekne District Nautrēnu Parish resident's raised alone six bārabērnus now bringing up two more, which gave mom.

    Latvian pride will be able to read the newspaper stories Day special edition – the magazine Latvian Pride in 2014, which will be published 30 December. It will receive the newspaper Diena subscribers; December 30 will be the only day when it will be available together with the newspaper press in each point of sale.
    Latvian pride organizers expressed gratitude to everyone who wrote letters and talked about the amazing people of our country!

    http://www.diena.lv/dienas-projekti/latvijas-lepnums/2014-gada-stasti

    This goes well with Latvian way of life: http://www.lituanus.org/1987/87_3_06.htm

    This is who we are: https://youtu.be/TYIgwyML7WQ

  • I feel like there would have been an outcry if you said "most importantly of all, the wife who stayed quiet and did all the housework", so why take the shot at husbands?

  • This has definitively become my favourite YouTube channel. I'm not exaggerating. Learning the different philosophies and ideas that have shaped modern societies and those of the past is not only fascinating, but essential to understanding and reflecting on the state of the world and how we could potentially improve it.  

    Also, I don't think I've found a channel on YouTube where the viewers are more willing to respectfully and intellectually discuss the topic of a video and its relation to their own thoughts more than this one. Keep up the fantastic work +The School of Life !

  • I've found this video at the perfect time! A few weeks ago I watched your video on Plato and his idea that a society dedicated to creating fulfilling lives for its citizens should have better celebrities. Celebrities that embody the qualities and characteristics that we should all aspire to. Lately, this idea has been on my mind and this video perfectly articulated what I've been thinking and hoping for. Just wanted to say thank you and it's awesome to know someone else is on the same page!

  • Media is the biggest reason why this society is going down. We are constantly told be fashionable and we'll dressed than to actually contribute to the world, fight poverty etc.

  • Belarus is just has the most of USSR in it after USSR's dissolution. E.g. it is the only country preserving the almost identical to the USSR republic's flag: Lukashenko just removed the hammer and sicle. The "making a proletary famous" tradition comes from USSR's times.

  • Why should it be part of human nature to admire other humans? While it impresses me what some people can do, personally i am not looking up to anybody.

  • Maybe you simply want to suggest that we should tell more about the people who really have an impact in our lives.
    That's something very different than your better selleries suggestion.
    Ok today i was impressed bout two guys who made a video bout wikipedia efforts to smear campaign a known ressearcher. You see, the names are unimportant.

  • Excellence in ordinary things.. dish washing celebrity. Wow that guy is so good it's almost like he were a dish washing machine. Autograph please!

  • Husbands in our society don't have tempers. Maybe they are whining and complaining but barely angry .. they would not have the energy to have an actual temper or to let out that repressed anger after an exhausting day of doing errands like buying tampons for their bossy wife. Plus he has TV to watch.. that takes time! No time to get fired up and connect with his true self.. Gotta hop on the couch, flick that TV on and find out what's going on with the Kaitlin/Bruce Jenner story so he has something to connect with his wife about at dinner with the fast food she brought home. Maybe if he can remember something about how transgenderism is brave he can improve the sex he gets from once every month to once every 3 weeks

  • Celebrities are people. We can admire anyone for any accomplishment or any useful quality, characteristic or virtue. We need people who remind us of what any one of us is capable of. The main thing is for any one of us, celebrity or civilian, to be true to who we are as much as possible.

  • We should adore celebrities for their works, not because… they exist. Fox example I love Simone Simons (EPICA) not because she exists and is beautiful, but because of her talent and what she gives to me while singing.
    And Kardashian in our sciety is adored for… Nothing. Just because she IS.

  • But – will changing the caliber of celebrities have any effect on how the public reacts to them? Won't they still get harassed/ attacked/ groped at?? Good people don't deserve that. And the stupidity of a mob is impossible to tame.

  • People certainly weren't lamenting the state of celebrity during Hollywood's Golden Age, when glamor and sophistication were the rule.  And when movie-making was an art form.  As inconceivable as this is today, people watching early Greta Garbo films would actually become so unsettled by her movie screen image that a general sense of extreme agitation would engulf the theater.  I, for one, have zero interest in looking up to average people.  (How can I look up to an equal?)  I'll take old school Hollywood  any day–and throw in some great writers to boot.  And some artists.  People who have contributed to and enhanced culture–particularly the arts.  Mild maids?  Well, I guess Ava Garner had been plucked from a field in South Carolina.

  • I would like to know whether you could do a video on what celebrities were in history. Sure, sometimes kings or generals might have been revered, however in a small, self-sufficiënt village the celebrities would be those who attract the attention of girls or maybe a local bard, which is not that much different from current day celebrities.

  • "Human beings need role models."

    No, stupid human beings need role models. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people are irredeemably stupid.

  • I don't think the celebrity culture we have (the west in this case) is that grim. The bottom line is that people are all looking for a connection, whether that's in the Kardashians, the music of Bowie or Bill Nye.

  • In Utopia, JB refers to Jacob Barnett because he's one of the most famous and popular celebrities for being a genius, but in this world, people don't care about intelligence, mainly because they don't know what it truly is.

  • This is a silly question but does anyone else recognize the theme music from the "Stuff You Should Know" podcast? (speaking of better celebrities, Chuck & Josh are great).

  • Why do I need to look up to narcissistic fame-power-and-glory-people? Or to ordinary people, doing hardly anything special? Why is it so impossible to find value in oneself? I cannot understand this hilarious logic

  • Why do I need to look up to narcissistic fame-power-and-glory-people? Or to ordinary people, doing hardly anything special? Why is it so impossible to find value in oneself? I cannot understand this hilarious logic

  • let me tell you how to build better celebrities:

    1 find humble mentally stable people that can handle fame!

    2. don't pick people based on looks!!!

    but that don't sell!

  • I expect better from the School of Life than using the go-to Justin Bieber bad celebrity comparison. Well done.

  • So having children in a world with climate change and overpopulation is worthy of fame?   Since when?   How about, "best homosexual who does not have children and is environmentally conscious?"    And since when is a dictator's opinions worthy of repeating?    School of Life is heterosexist and politically reprehensible in this video.

  • All the examples you gave are subjective. Belarus' examples were measurable, except for the best couple one. This would be ridiculous to implement. I'm not sure about the idea of making everything into a competition either. And, no matter how much you tell us to celebrate a particular type of person, it won't happen unless we truly relate to that person or there is some overarching power forcing us to.

  • I love how this channel's comment section is one of few on YouTube where actual intelligent conversation can be undertaken.

  • so I have been trying to study this topic and I can not find proof of this contest. can someone or even the school of life send me some reliable links, first to the validity of this contest

  • I don't care about "who are they dating"and I think it's silly. So why I am in truth deeply irresponsible? I don't understand.

  • "Don't shine so that others can see you, shine so that through you, others can see."
    (つ°ヮ°)つ

  • Between them, Ariana Grande and Vanessa Hudgens are such horrific examples of womanhood that they make me distrust all women, especially since I'm a practicing Catholic and both of them were raised Catholic and discarded it, showing me that any woman might go from Jekyll to Hyde at any time. I'm sure many women feel the same about guys like Robin Thicke and James Franco, who are at the top of the list of guys I would forcibly keep away from a daughter, if I had one.

  • Your psychotherapy lessons have always helped me clear my misconceptions and improve my thoughts on different issues in our society…thank you for helping me became a better version of my self mentally.