I’m often scornful of celebrities. We seem to be infatuated by them, and the more our infatuation rises, the more extreme and bizarre their behaviour seems to become. It makes some people wonder if it will ever stop.
Of course, it all seems so pointless. But could it be that celebrities play a vital role in modern culture? I think they do – and it isn’t an enhancing role. Rather, it helps to tie us up in chains of consumerism.
On one level, celebrities are more ‘perfect’ than the average person. Of course, this isn’t true, but their beauty, etc, makes it appear so. And the upshot is, we spend, spend, spend to emulate them, not realizing that perfection is an unreachable goal.
But they also work on a psychological level. They are open with their problems, the abuses they’ve suffered, and in this they appear to be repositories for our angst. Like cultural psychotherapists, our own problems are reflected back to us.
This power over the wallet and psyche fulfils another vital function of super capitalism. Whenever they do something you can guarantee the picture is all over the media. Indeed, there has been an explosion in media alongside the celebrity’s rise.
Big Biz likes this. For the bigger the media gets, the more ads Big Biz places. This is, infact, a control mechanism. For if Big Biz withdrew ads from any one media source, that source would be struggling to survive. Hence, the media doesn’t risk it, and only reports on news friendly to our consumer culture.
We seem to be informed a lot about celebrity, but not much else. This is why.
© Anthony North, April, 2008