Celebrity culture

From ArticleWorld

The social environment and public myths that surround certain people, and elevate them to fame, is known as celebrity culture.

The Celebrity of the Past

Throughout history, people of nobility often went to great lengths to ensure that their memory would remain in the public consciousness. Egyptian Pharaohs made elaborate tombs and pyramids. Kings and Sultans built palaces. The Taj Mahal was built to commemorate the beloved wife of Indian Emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century. Explorers and noblemen named geographical locations after themselves or other people of nobility.

While notions of celebrity in the past were often based upon real or perceived offerings to society, today’s celebrity is often—though not always—a very different person.

Today's Celebrity

The mass media of today allows information to be spread on a much broader scale, and it is now much easier to be noticed than it was in the past. Often, fame manifests as the result of media coverage and public opinion, with only a small amount of prompting from the famous individual. The news, and especially the tabloid news, is often perceived as focusing on the daily lives of celebrities, rather than their talents.

Many make the complaint that people see an easier route to fame through shocking actions, rather than through talent or hard work. The intense, ultimately failed relationship between Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez received disproportionate amounts of public attention, as do the antics of pseudo-stars like hotel heiress Paris Hilton and Trading Spouses “God Warrior” Marguerite Perrin.

Fame can also come from tragedy; It is argued that Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, James Dean, Vincent van Gogh, Emily Dickinson, Galileo, Socrates and even Jesus Christ might not be remembered to the extent that they are today if it were not for their untimely deaths or the persecution they experienced.

Some people blame this on the entertainment industry, and the conception of celebrities as a commodity for profit. Others say that our society craves conflict and drama--that there is a psychological tendency for us to raise certain individuals to exalted status so that we can live our lives vicariously through them.