Mixed priorities: where the infamous are rewarded

‘The Situation,’ Mike Sorrentino, from the reality show “Jersey Shore,” makes a whopping five million dollars a year for being a major tool on national television.

Then what about the infamous Charlie Sheen? According to the website, celebritynetworth.com, Sheen racks in nearly two million dollars per episode filmed of the sitcom “Two and a Half Men.” I bet that money is going towards a good cause...

It is hard to believe that the 17-year-old singing sensation, Justin Bieber, is worth more than one thousand, run of the mill, American households annual incomes combined? Or that a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) wrestler easily earns six figures for their ridiculously ‘hard work?’

Now think about this. On average, an elementary school teacher starts off making around  $30,000 annually. Both firefighters and law enforcement officers median salary is about $44,000 a year. The yearly income of a soldier, who spends all day, every day fighting for the good of our country, does not even come close to what Lady Gaga gets paid in a day. Even the most skilled doctors and surgeons, who are constantly saving countless lives, make less than most celebrities and professional athletes. Sounds fair right?

The reasoning behind this extreme and unjust imbalance between the incomes of the rich and famous and the diligent average Joes is simple. There is just way more money being poured into the entertainment industry than into projects that will better the community and benefit local heroes.

People are much more likely to spend their paychecks on attending a movie or a sporting event than on supporting a local school fundraiser. It is understandable that after paying off expenses (in which nearly half goes towards housing), an individual desires and deserves to spend some extra cash on leisure activities.

However, when the amount being spent on entertainment surpasses that being spent on education, it is both sad and unfortunate.

Alice Dunbar-Nelson, an 1890s novelist and teacher, once said, “The American public does not want to be uplifted, ennobled — it wants to be amused.” It is as true now as it was then.

If those humble folks that are always making a difference in our everyday lives and communities were given the proper amount of recognition and compensation for their efforts, then people would be more likely to want to follow their foot steps. Instead of the youth wanting to gain wealth by emulating the behavior of teen queen Miley Cyrus, they would be compelled to pursue more positive endeavors such as teaching a new generation or conducting research to find a cure for cancer.

Mostly everyone hopes to acquire fame and fortune, and they are willing to do just about anything to get it. This shows that money and prestige are the biggest influences in job selection and goal setting.

If these valuable assets were attainable through beneficial and respectable careers, then more people would choose to invest both their time and money in them, which would change attitudes and perspectives on the occupations that deserve credit.

Reach the columnist at chelsea.w.brown@asu.edu


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