In his book Fame Junkies (Houghton Mifflin, 2007, xvi), Jake Halpern cites a survey he organized of 653 middle school students around Rochester, NY. When asked to choose from a list of famous people they’d most like to have dinner with (including “None of the above”, the girls who chose to dine opted least for George W. Bush (2.7%) and Albert Einstein (3.7%). A third place tie went to Paris Hilton and 50 (“Fitty”) Cent (15.8% each). Jesus Christ (16.8%) was second only to Jennifer Lopez (17.4%). I wonder, will a few billion people be worshiping JLo in two thousand years? How many people will have even heard of her in 50 years?
Another question inquired what job the students would most like to have. Among the five options, here are the rankings:
5. chief of a major company like General Motors (9.5%)
4. Navy Seal (9.8%)
3. United States Senator (13.6%)
2. president of a great university like Harvard or Yale (23.7)
And at number one, nearly double the percentage of the runner up:
1. personal assistant to a very famous singer or movie star (43.4%)
Now some will conclude from this something about the nature or inclinations of middle school girls. But to anyone who knows some, this speaks far more about their parents and educators.