Thou shalt not make a sex tape, and other life lessons from celebrities

    The Internet revolution has let Americans watch celebrities grow up, act up and – most importantly – screw up. This up-close look into the lives of the rich and famous (also lovingly known as “celebutards“) has taught us something important: celebrities are little more than overphotographed college students.

    Let’s examine the differences: Northwestern students spend weekend nights scouring North Campus for liquor; celebrities spend not only their weekends drunk, but also their weeknights, weekdays and Sunday mornings. And they don’t have the added joy of a 9 a.m. chemistry lab.

    Northwestern students have the occasional fling with the opposite sex; celebrities have frequent flings with the most attractive men and women of Hollywood. In college, students skip classes to sleep; celebrities skip their own concerts to drink in ratty bars. We pretend to study; celebrities pretend to avoid the stalkerazzi.

    But we’re lucky that our everyday mistakes aren’t (usually) broadcast to an eager, international network of 16-year-old girls and vindictive bloggers. Although we are all frequently drunken, horny messes, we can avoid having our rants plastered verbatim online and our accidental crotch flashes showing up in the first page of results when someone Googles our name.

    Weinberg freshman Brandon Samuels says he’s exasperated by the influx of celebrity scandal: “Don’t be a whore. Just stop. That should be the philosophy for all these teenage celebrities. Stop with the slutaciousness.”

    Even though we will never be in the same stratosphere of notoriety as Britney Spears, it is always beneficial to avoid screwing up, and, what luck: celebrities have laid out an easy template to avoid ridiculous damage to your reputation:

    1.Think before you speak and make another gay joke. If you are having a racist, sexist or homophobic day, keep your mouth shut. Michael Richards, Mel Gibson and Isaiah Washington have all perfected the art of inflammatory comments. Regardless of your BAC, it is never a good idea to spout out your deeply held belief that women don’t need driver’s licenses because there’s no road between the kitchen and the bedroom. Classy, right? It will not win friends or influence people, unless you want to influence your new friends to stay away from your dorm room.

    2. Never let alcohol dictate your personality. Drinking and partying can be natural ways to meet friends and expand your social circle. However, if alcohol becomes your primary method of interaction, rethink your methods. Celebrities and rehab are like peanut butter and jelly, or fraternities and social probation. But no one wants to become “that kid”: one of the 14,000 or so freshmen girls who have already made an intoxicated trip to the hospital or the annoying kid down the hall who thinks the shower is a puke receptacle. Case in point: Amy Winehouse, whose alcoholism has prevented her from achieving deserved success.

    3.Homemade porn? Keep it private. Nothing ruins a career like nude photos released by an angry ex. If you and your partner have a creative streak, delete the photos afterward or, at the very least, password-protect them to maintain your squeaky-clean reputation. Even if you don’t expect your celebrity to blow up to High School Musical-level proportions, keep track of private photos and videos. The “accidental” release of 1 Night in Paris might have made Paris Hilton an overnight celebrity, but don’t expect it to do the same when you’re a novice lawyer at a New York law firm. Your boss will not be impressed.

    On that note, I repeat the familiar adage: Protect your Facebook.

    4.Don’t create fake drama. Or real drama, for that matter. No need to let a Spencer Pratt-wannabe destroy your friendships. Hug it out, bitch. If you approach problems rationally, obnoxious flare-ups can be avoided. No one wants to participate in your petty drama. Unlike Hollywood, your floormates will not pick sides in the trivial argument between you and your roommate. (Team Lauren!)

    5. Don’t be afraid to get help. As fun as it might be to watch a downward spiral toward alcoholism, drug abuse and depression are neither good things nor jokes. Anyone interested in celebrity culture must admit some hypocrisy: Although I love watching Britney Spears’ descent into insanity, if any of my friends acted like that I would drag them to Health Services in an instant. One downside from the culture of celebrity is our decreasing ability to recognize stars as real people with real problems. Granted, there is nothing you can do to help Lindsay Lohan, but there is plenty you can do for your friends or yourself. Go to 633 Emerson for a free counseling sessions or take a weekend off to stroll around the beach.

    So what is the most important lesson from these brave partiers, these noble avengers of all that is immoral?

    There is plenty of time to spiral into an alcoholic, crotch-flashing mess if that is your true life’s goal. However, if the true Northwesterner in you wants to cure cancer or revolutionize America’s democratic system,stop blindly following the lead of celebrities. Keep your drinking and sex life in check, give your friends plenty of reasons to remain your friends and get help when you need it. Come on, Lindsay, is it really that hard? I didn’t think so.


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