Recently Queen Elizabeth awoke from sleep to find a strange man sitting on the edge of her bed. Buckingham Palace had been penetrated by one of a new breed — the celebrity-stalker.
THE QUEEN of England is the Queen of Smiles! She goes out of her way to smile at her subjects. Few monarchs in history have made themselves so accessible to their people. In addition to constant media exposure, the Queen has regular garden parties at Buckingham Palace for several thousand people at a time. Also, the whole Royal Family is constantly on the move fulfilling various and sundry public functions over the whole of the British Isles. They hardly enjoy the private life that most of the public seem to prize so much. Britain has a population of some 60 million people and, of course, it is simply impossible for every single individual person to have a private audience with the Queen. That should go without saying. Yet one misguided individual felt he just had to speak with the Queen in her private quarters. But why is society producing so many disturbed persons who waste valuable time seeking out celebrities?
A New Western Phenomenon
Lesser celebrities than the Queen are being plagued by a plethora of psychotics demanding private and personal attention. Especially is this true in the United States, traditional home of the movie stars, or as they used to be called, the "matinee idols." John Hinckley was so obsessed with a young Hollywood actress that he wrote in an unmailed letter before the assassination attempt on President Reagan, "Jodie, I would abandon the idea of getting Reagan in a second if I could only win your heart and live out the rest of my life with you." A jury found John Hinckley insane on all counts. Now one can read of "the tortured mind of Michael Fagan" (Daily Express), the intruder at Buckingham Palace. Obviously celebrity-stalkers are people with deeply ingrained mental aberrations.
Who Is to Blame?
The obligatory resignations and transferals of duty occurred in the wake of the Buckingham Palace security scandal. Predictably national newspapers and magazines called for "heads to roll." Clearly the intrusion into the Queen's bedroom was a failure of human vigilance. Those responsible for the safety of the sovereign had let her down. But the problem goes far beyond blaming police personnel and faulty electronics. The media never seems to ask: Why is our Western society producing so many celebrity-stalkers? Why do movie stars have to build barbed wire fences around their houses to protect themselves from their own fans? Why do the grounds have to be patrolled by trained dogs and security men? Why do they have to constantly change their home phone numbers in order to screen out a steady stream of sick callers? We live in a sick society! That's not a popular view of social conditions in our Western world, but it's all too true! Far too many people are feeding their minds mental garbage. Just take a look at the books and magazines on the market today!
The Fan Magazine
The advent of motion pictures in the early part of this century produced a whole array of glittering fan magazines. Who was your favorite movie star currently dating? What leading actor was about to walk out on his wife? What was his favorite color of socks? The answer to all these questions and other juicy tidbits of information could be had in a wide ranging selection of fan magazines. Later their contents were expanded to include television stars, sports heroes, rock and roll performers, and even charismatic political figures. Movie actors and actresses will tell you that the sensational things written in these magazines are a rubbishy collection of fiction and half-truths. Yet the public buys them by the millions. Why are human beings so fascinated by the private lives of famous people? What help is it to know the private foibles of one's favorite cinema star? Do they not have any right to a modicum of privacy? One evening several years ago a friend of mine took a group of acquaintances to a fine restaurant in the Los Angeles, California, area. In walked Charlton Heston and his wife. Some of my friend's acquaintances immediately wanted an autograph. My friend restrained them, explaining that tonight was probably a rare evening out for the Heston's and that they had a right to a little privacy once in a while.
The Grand Illusion!
Earlier we mentioned that movie stars were once called "matinee idols" — perhaps the crux of the whole problem. The movie public made famous entertainers into virtual "gods." What a total illusion! Celebrities are usually average human beings in their private lives. Said an essay in Time magazine: "The truth is that the events of an actor's offstage life are usually just as banal and repetitious as the events of ordinary lives" (July 12, 1982). No matter, nothing seems to stem this craving for personal snippets of information about various celebrities. The bohemian lifestyles of some public figures ought to make clear that with certain of them we should go in the exact opposite direction — not imitate their sometimes bizarre behavior. The less we know, perhaps the better.
The Need to Identify
Society itself is at least partially responsible for the problem. This world is intensely competitive. People who don't measure up are made to feel failures. Their only apparent avenue to success is to somehow identify with a celebrity — someone with above-average gifts in a particular field. Such people attempt to live successful lives vicariously through their favorite heroes and heroines. Hence the desire for every possible scrap of information about famous celebrities. In some cases this identification need with leading screen luminaries grows into an obsession. A love-crazed fan begins to stalk the object of his affections. Paranoia sets in. A fan actually goes to the star's residence. He or she is then thwarted by high walls or other security paraphernalia. The fan finally realizes that his favorite simply doesn't want to see him. "Love" turns to hatred. He gets on the phone and utters a death threat. This is not just a scenario. It happens!
A Better Way to Recognition
Every human being is unique. No two humans have the same fingerprints or even the same voice prints. Each is one of a kind. A few years ago somebody sang a little ditty on an American television commercial. It went something like this: "There's nobody else in the whole human race with your kind of gifts and your kind of grace." This is true! We all have at least one talent. Sometimes that talent is hidden and it simply needs to be discovered, developed and brought into the light of day. Sometimes we need that little help from others in reaching our full human potential. The Proverb says: "Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings." We may not be able to have an audience with royalty, but we can receive our due in recognition and appreciation from others if we will only develop our natural, God-given talents. You were born to be a success — a "celebrity," if you like, in your own right. You can be an integral part of a grand master plan of success. If you'd like to know how, write for our two attractively printed booklets The Seven Laws of Success and Why Were You Born? Both are gratis. No charge whatsoever. Request them today by return mail.