We need an agent to deter celebrity worship

In the wake of the Tide Pod challenge coursing through social media — in which teens post videos of themselves seeing how long they can keep the laundry capsule in their mouths — a meme attempted to supplant the hazardous stunt by daring potential participants to use the lumps to do laundry.

The sarcastic post seemed more successful at ridiculing teens than redirecting their use of the detergent. Perhaps more effectively, the CEO of pod maker Procter & Gamble said the company is working with social media companies to delete videos of people taking the challenge. The executive also asked grownups to speak with kids about the dangers.

Perhaps that will help this fad fade more quickly, but the underlying cause will remain. In a society which worships celebrity — and fame increasingly is conflated with infamy — it’s not surprizing teens seek affirmation through social media, a chance to go viral and gain renown.

Unfortunately, adulation of idols isn’t likely to end soon, and using a famous athlete — which P&G has done to avert participation in the challenge — while hopefully having an impact only reinforces the exultation of notoriety.