Entertainers - Just That or Public Figures?

Posted by æolia
2011. 8. 11. 17:08 EDITORIAL/사회 :: Current Issues


I was talking with a few of my friends the other day about whether people in the entertainment industry are public figures or not. One of my friends and I were of the mind that of course, they’re not. Their job is merely to entertain and whatever they wish to do with their private lives is exactly that, private, and should be kept to themselves. We have no right to demand that it be made public.

However, another of my friends thought that because they are in the spotlight and everyone, including impressionable children, can see them, they have a responsibility to uphold and maintain the image of a good person. He thought they shouldn't, or try their best not to be, in scandals, or partake in things such as gambling or the committing of crimes. He thought that if the public demands to know what is going on in their private life, we should be able to know it. Because celebrities are well-known and famous, such demands are inevitable, and the more famous you are, it is a given that more of your private life is made public and be subject to scrutiny. 

I don’t think that’s right at all. Just because they are more visible does not mean that they have to be subject to their private lives being visible as well. Public images can be completely different from their private ones, and who are we to say that they should be identical, or say that because they’re different, that they are showing us a façade? They are artists in a sense, as are writers and painters and architects. We do not ask writers to show us their private lives for us to judge and deem them acceptable. We review their work and judge them on that, their products, their skill. We should treat entertainers, singers, announcers, and the like exactly the same. We can criticize their work and their skill, but not the people themselves. We do not even know them. We only what they show through the media, and who is to say those are not all lies? We have no right to judge them for being human.

In Korea, it’s different. Entertainers are the people always being watched, judged, idolized, criticized, imitated, adored. People get attached to them and place expectations on them, and when those expectations aren’t fulfilled, they get disappointed and terribly upset and make a whole big fuss when they have no right to. Who are they to expect their favorite celebrities to be or act a certain way? Who are they to be upset with their idols because they were not able to fulfill such expectations that shouldn’t have been placed on them in the first place? Who are you, their parents?

Issues that got blown up recently were the Tablo and the Seo Taiji/Lee Jiah ones. Honestly, if Tablo lied about attending Stanford or not, what does that have to do with you and your life? He wasn't even using it for his work. He was doing something differently; music. Just listen to it and be on your way. Why make ridiculous claims about him not attending his school when it has nothing to do with anything? The issue isn’t even if he did attend Stanford or not, but that people made such a big deal out of it, cared so much about it, and made a huge ruckus about him lying to the public. I understand doing background checks on criminals and reporting that to the public, but singers? Do you really have nothing better to do? It is embarrassing as a Korean when a Stanford professor cannot understand why Korea is making such a big fuss about it when it is obvious what the truth is.

As for Seo Taiji and Lee Jiah, no one has any right, except their lawyers and perhaps their parents, to know any of the details regarding their past and current relationship and dealings with each other. Expecting entertainers to reveal their entire private lives and past histories with anyone and anything they ever happened to run into and interact with, and then being disappointed and angry that they didn’t do so is completely unreasonable. Who cares if they were married? They divorced. And who cares if they were married and divorced? They're their lives, and theirs to do with as they wish. Their lives are not the public’s, but their own, which many people have a problem grasping. Their jobs are to entertain, not to be vessels we live vicariously through. Are your own lives so dull that you have to pay attention to every little detail of a celebrity's and pounce on every transgression? Are you so perfect that you have to attempt to interfere with others’ lives and deem them less than satisfactory? If you're so dissatisfied, why don't you try living their lives yourselves and see how you like it.

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  1. I guess it would be difficult to completely understand the psychology of people who are making big fuss about the news of entertainors. Entertainors are very infulencial, with no doubts. Especially in a small country like Korea. Ideas and news spread fast and easily occupied by ordinary people. In that sense I think entertainors should have some responsibilities, as an idol and as an adult. However, I could not agree more with you that sometimes people go too far, and do not realize they are actually violating entertainors' privacy. Some people believe intervening with entertainors' private life is granted privilages. Which is quite sad to be honest. I hope one day people do aware a proper line in between right to know as a fan and over interference as a person.
    It was an interesting opinion. ^^;
  2. i think it was about 3 years ago. a famous korean singer sung sikyung has once been starred in Golden Fishery and he has talked about dual citizenship issues about yoo seung joon. He said he couldnt understand why koreans in general tried to make a relations between patriotism and star's privacy issues. He said that entertainers are just entertainers, not a public figure which people must "adore." I think this is an unique style of Koreans to define whether a person is qualified as a star or not.