I’m not joking when I say this: maybe we need to incorporate what’s in this cartoon into our classes.
Maybe we can bring this celebrity worship into our classes. Fahrenheit 451 is a quick example where this (frightening) hero worship could be commented upon; maybe the “breads and circuses” of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar could be another literary work to tie in.
I don’t believe bringing in celebrity magazines is the way to go, but I do think the consequences of such idle idol worship is a part of numerous pieces of literature I teach; besides those mentioned above, I could suggest The Great Gatsby, The Red Badge of Courage, The Princess Bride, and more.
Side note: I once had kids complain about all the “dead, old white guys” we learn about, so I conducted a lesson a couple days later where the students had to compile a list of writers, leaders, and other famous people of their time. Wouldn’t you know that their lists were basically full of old, white guys? Even though their lists weren’t 100% old, white guys, the majority of the lists were comprised of them. Notable exceptions were musicians, Hillary Clinton, and J.K. Rowling. This led right into a discussion about fame and celebrity. It was quite a remarkable discussion.