I am embarassed to admit this (really quite embarrassed) but I learned about Osama Bin laden’s assasination from Paris Hilton. I fell asleep at 10 pm on Sunday night and when I woke up in the morning I rolled over and opened my Twitter feed. There it was:
@ParisHilton: Just landed back in LA, so happy to hear the news of Osama bin Laden’s death. He was the face of terrorism and such .
Are you horrified yet? I have an excuse. As a celebrity journalist I’m allowed to have Paris Hilton on my Twitter feed. Lindsay Lohan and Kim Kardashian too, who also weighed in on the death of OBL.
@LindsayLohan: Go USA
@KimKardashian: Osama Bin Laden is dead!!! I can’t wait to hear President Obama’s announcement!!!
Some celebs got a little saucier with their commentary.
@JImCarey: Wow! They killed the Boogieman! I felt something was in the air tonight! Bin Laden era over! S’next?
@ElizabethBanks: This White House thing is part rally, part cheerleading convention, no?
@RickyMartin: OBAMA: “la muerte de #OsamaBinLaden no representa una guerra en contra del Islam. Bin Laden No era un líder islamico”.
My celebrity mediation of Osama’s death was an accident, still it made me wonder how many Americans received the news in a similar way and how does that affect their sentiments about his killing. Hollywood was generally positive in their reaction to the assassination and at times even jingoistic. There was a lot of “Go USA” happening in celebrity social media land. Like it or not this sets the tone for how Americans who look to celebrities for guidance (and make no mistake, many do) feel about the death of Osama. Celebrity influence has evolved over the past decade to a point where they are able to command Americans on nearly everything from what to put in their mouths, what to wear, what to watch, how to donate their money to charity and who to vote for. Now, with the immediacy of social media, they also have the ability to immediately tell Americans what to think about global and cultural events. Before a fan can digest news properly they are confronted with a celebrity opinion on that news which will inevitably shape their ability to create their own opinions. Is this a danger for a society of supposed free-thinkers? I don’t have an answer. Maybe I should pose the question on Twitter.