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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 29-Aug-08

 


Friday 29-August-08

The necessity of celebrity

A friend recently got invited to a movie premiere, complete with red carpet and celebrities. I was a bit envious and rather curious about his experience, including in the party afterwards where the stars might show a little more of their private personas.

Movie premieres are just one of the PR tools in the big business of promoting the product. They (or the attending celebrities) attract the press in significant numbers and often make the main TV news, providing very valuable 'free' advertising that results in many more of us going to see the film.

This is true of the general process of celebrity that has been going on for much longer than might be imagined -- although it seems to have gone haywire of late, the social deification of certain individuals goes back to the Athenians and before. Socrates, for example, had followers who hung on his every word (including Plato, who also achieved cult celebrity status).

When others pay attention our sense of identity is boosted and ego flattered. When we see a person being watched by others, we watch too, admiring and envying their position. We feel that if we can associate ourselves with them in some way, even by looking at them or reading about them then some of that charm will somehow rub off onto us.

Yet celebrity is not all it is cracked up to be and I am happy to be able to walk unknown down the street without a scary trail of paparazzi and wannabes. And so, though celebrities become an essential element of our lives as we live vicariously in the public eye through then we can yet remain safe in our anonymity.


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