Why Are There So Many Celebrities to Keep Track of? – VICE

Almost daily, a new famous-adjacent person makes waves for doing something entirely mundane. This week, it’s Jack Schlossberg, grandchild of the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy. In a cute little Instagram story, Schlossberg delivers a Seinfeld-esque monologue about how he doesn’t like eating dinner in restaurants (“What’s the deal with ordering a meal???”). He complains about how long it takes, how detached the experience is from our basic need to eat, how annoying it is to deal with waiters, and how most of the world doesn’t think so much about dinner. Everyone was talking about it.
Schlossberg can probably count on one hand the occasions in which he’s gone to a grocery store, picked out his items, planned his meals, prepped and cooked them himself, and then cleaned everything up. Still, his rant it is vaguely relatable. Not to mention, he’s handsome—impeccable hairline—and though he may be part of a wealthy American dynasty, he’s part of a dynasty that a lot of people actually like, even feel bad for. Add it all up, and now my dumb ass is paying attention. 
It’s not just Schlossberg I’ve tuned in for. I’m continuously informed about the lives of other celebrity family members, too. Tom Hanks’ niece was recently kicked off a reality television show for, well, being Tom Hanks’ niece. And in a now already-too-distant memory, a horny Blink-182 fan went viral for, more or less, being the stepson of one of the guys who died on the Titanic submersible. It’s too much to keep up with. If we are to continue to live in this culture where the conversation is dictated by social media-related non-news stories about people related to celebrities, however loosely defined, we have to admit something: There are way too many famous people. 
How many exactly? Back in 2013, Wired estimated that famous people make up around 0.000086 percent of the population—or around 28,000 people in the U.S. today. They simply divided the broader population by the number of Wikipedia pages for living people, but clearly the dead continue to determine notability among family members, too. Including all the dead-but-still-relevant actors and politicians and athletes, I could easily imagine a roster of 100,000 celebrity-Americans. Throw in the fact that the average household contains 3.3 people, and the total number of famous or famous-adjacent Americans could easily be… 330,000? The point is—there’s a lot of famous people, and an unknowable number of people connected to them just waiting for the chance to hit our news cycles. And boy do we keep letting them! 
“Jack Schlossberg’s anti-restaurant tirade is the exact deranged himbo social cause JFK’s grandson should be doing,” wrote one person who shared it on Twitter. Really? Schlossberg is an attorney. His ass should be out litigating. But obviously, part of the problem here is that I’m letting Twitter decide what it is I’m thinking about. Still, though, lest I shun the news entirely, peripheral semi-celebs are inescapable. Schlossberg’s rant made headlines of its own, but even publications like the New York Times share stories of the inconsequential lifestyle decisions and opinions of famous people and their associates. That’s why I now know, for example, that former New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and his wife have decided to separate and see other people but not divorce, something akin to ethical non-monogamy. 
I’m not sure how we can change this dynamic. Just as impossible as it is to calculate how many celebrity-ish people there are, it seems impossible for us to stop tuning in to their silly little antics. Perhaps we could do away with this exhausting non-news cycle by fundamentally changing the publishing industry. Maybe we could recalibrate our attention spans toward literally anything else. Or maybe we could just try having fewer celebrities, cut just a few of them out of the equation? Better yet, let’s just cut the chunk of our brains that makes us endlessly entertained by them out, instead. 

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Sim

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