According to Brady United, roughly 316 people are shot everyday in the United States. Of these 316, on Feb 25, was Ryan Fischer, Lady Gaga’s dog walker. Fischer sustained a bullet wound to the chest and was met with millions of Instagram comments expressing sympathy.
Fellow celebs called him a hero, telling him how amazed they were with his bravery. When scrolling through the comments, one in particular stuck out. The comment told Fischer that he was a “Hero of History,” and I can’t help but wonder if that is the society we now inhabit. Do we all believe that one man’s survival of a bullet wound makes him heroic? Or is it because he was Lady Gaga’s dog walker?
“When something tragic happens to someone who is famous it’s akin to a family friend experiencing a tragedy.” Said Elizabeth Pecota (’22).
“There is a lot of tragedy that happens across the country on an hourly basis, but these cases that are very real to those experiencing or in proximity to the situation; however, they are only a statistic to everyone else. Unfortunately, without that personal connection, we feel sympathetic or apathetic.”
The godlike worship that is placed on celebrities and their extremities seems to have become the societal norm. Regarding every celebrity as a watered-down hero seems to be indicative on what is valued as important.
To be clear, nobody deserves to be shot, and Ryan Fischer, just as everyone else, should be given the time and space to heal from that traumatic experience. However, it should be noted that he is only receiving this time because he is in the favor of the public eye. Where is the heart filled messages and money dedicated to the recovery of the other 315 victims?
“Not to shoot a man while he’s down, but the only the only reason Ryan’s shooting has reached any level importance is due to the fact that his boss goes by the name of Lady Gaga.” Said Bennett Hendrickson (’24),
“What Ryan did was a circumstance thing, it’s nothing that is heroic or historic. The only thing pushing this story is his boss and her Grammy’s.”
The deeper question lies within the importance we place on celebrities, and how it parallels with a classist society. Social media is filled with stories similar to Fischer’s and is overflowing with other trivial grievances. Keeping up with the Joneses has morphed into Keeping up with the Kardashians as we progress in this digital age.
“I believe the reason why we are so concerned about celebrities is because they become so close to the American family opposed to the average man.” Said Pecota (’22), “We can put a face to the name and we become enamored with them as they entertain our family. We feel like we know these people despite never meeting them.”
As celebrities continue to be highly regarded, it is important to question why. Why is the life of Ryan Fischer perceived as more important than the lives of other dog walkers? Or why do we as people care so deeply about the lives of people we do not know?
“I think we want to be them, we look at their nice fancy cars, and massive houses and cant help but admire. They are living these perfect lives and we are now able to see how they are living it at all times with social media. So, we can’t help but be in awe of them,” said Hendrickson.
Much of what Hendrickson and Pecota say rings true. Through media platforms, our society has made connections to these famous strangers, giving them a sense of importance in our lives. We want to be them, know them and act like them, that is why we glorify them. They are no longer people, but standards.