Culture of Celebrity. “The celebrities of media culture are the icons of the present age, the deities of an entertainment society in which money, looks, celebrity, and success are the ideals and goals of the dreaming billions who inhabit Planet Earth. ” Douglas Keller, University of California .
Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.
“The celebrities of media culture are the icons of the present age, the deities of an entertainment society in which money, looks, celebrity, and success are the ideals and goals of the dreaming billions who inhabit Planet Earth.”
Douglas Keller, University of California
In the early 2000s the public was alerted to a newly documented, apparently widespread malady called “Celebrity Worship Syndrome, or CWS.” According to press reports, this threat, in its most severe form, infected 30 percent of the population.
Actually, a reporter misinterpreted “CWS”—The acronym really referred to a testing instrument with a decidedly less dramatic name: Celebrity Worship Scale.
Experts tell us that fame and celebrity have been important features of civilization since antiquity. In the days before science, gods emerged from humankind’s desire to understand the forces of nature.
Mythologies detailing the lives of the gods humanized the deities. Zeus became known as King of the Gods,
With all the necessary elements present—fame, publicity, and a potential for the gossip mill—the ancient gods could be considered the first celebrities.
Celebrity today commands an unprecedented level of our attention, and the mass media. Social media like Twitter and Facebook—are intensifying the cult of celebrity worldwide.
Fame and celebrity are viral in the 21st Century, but so is the anonymous, often malicious gossip that targets those in the public eye.
As recently as the 90’s, aggressive professional photographers were like pesty insects to celebrities who wanted to preserve some privacy in public--and some not so public—places.
Some celebrities feel they are treated as second-class citizens when it comes to legal privacy rights in many parts of the world. In the U.S., anyone who meets the legal definition of a “public figure” has very limited ability to sue under the laws of libel and slander.
A public figure can be pretty much anyone the public is interested in for any reason, including politicians, sports figures, musicians, actors, criminals, the victims of criminals, and on and on.
The U.S. press has traditionally enjoyed favored status under privacy laws when it comes to reporting about public figures, based on the free press provisions of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
For example, celebrities in Great Britain can seek court injunctions to restrain the publication of embarrassing press reports, but that information is often freely available on internet blogs or Twitter feeds.
The celebrities themselves, criticize broad interpretations of what constitutes a public figure.
The following quote sums up the media’s response to the aggrieved celebrity:
The press feels justified in mining the private lives of celebrities to increase circulation or viewership because the celebrities use the press to advance their careers.
Celebrity is also getting more democratic. The Internet has shifted some of the celebrity making power out of the hands of the media executives and public relations experts who have traditionally controlled the celebrity-building apparatus.
One criticism of our present culture is the emergence of a form of celebrity that is detached from talent or accomplishment.
Reality television helps feed the public’s endless appetite for celebrity and celebrity gossip .The instant celebrity it creates to fuel the “celebrity-industrial complex” is often minor and short-lived for those to whom it is conferred.
When surveyed, British youth felt misled by the “unachievable role models” offered up by the celebrity culture.
Our expansive mass media supplies us with extensive detail about the lives of celebrities and fosters the development of what psychologists call “parasocial” relationships.
Psychologists think parasocial relationships kept in proper perspective are harmless, and possibly even beneficial as a self-esteem builder for the young.
In 2002, a group of psychologists warned about excessive and potentially unhealthy levels of “celebrity worship” the press put a somewhat sensational spin on the topic.
At the present time, most experts—including the original researchers—agree that moderate levels of celebrity worship can benefit some people by producing healthy social bonding and reducing stress through entertainment and escapism.
Experts from other specialized disciplines have provided their opinions:
Not surprisingly, economists explain celebrity culture largely in economic terms:
--Tyler Cowen, What Price Fame?
Gossip, a prominent feature of celebrity culture, is thought to have had a legitimate historical role in group bonding, and as an agent of social control and the establishment of social norms of behavior.
The Nixon/Kennedy Presidential debates were a lesson in the power of television in politics and the importance of a well-crafted media image.
A new hybrid—part politician, part television pundit, and part book promoter—represents the leading edge of politics merged with celebrity culture.
Increasingly, celebrities are lending their names and energies to social and political causes.
Experts say the image of today’s celebrities is enhanced by activities that make them seem more genuine, more “authentic” to their fans.
So while our fascination with fame and celebrity has always been with us, it seems to be taking on some new characteristics in the 21st Century, largely driven by advances in communications technology.
And while experts say moderate forms of gossip can serve legitimate purposes, the anonymity of the internet breeds a much more virulent and malicious strain.
This would require, for example, that Twitter be responsible for the content of its feeds—a rejection of the company’s claim that it that it operates as a carrier only, and users are solely liable for their Tweets.
Mass media, from the tabloid newspapers that dramatically broadened readership in the in the 1800’s, to radio and television in the 20th Century, have long been criticized as having a coarsening effect on society because of their low common denominator focus and appeal to the sensational.
The gods and heroes of ancient myth were humanized by displays of mortal weakness, but first and foremost they represented strengths and virtues valued by society and to which man could aspire.
For a generation of young people, fame and celebrity is less about talent than getting what you want—now.