Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Questions No One Is Asking Dept.

     Celebrities! They’re everywhere. They occupy perches in every occupation, every hobby or pastime, every walk of life. We hear about them constantly – and that’s not figuratively but literally true for persons who leave their smartphones turned on. those who We can’t seem to get away from them.

     But why? How? And is there a way to exclude them from our lives?

     In our current milieu, one must work very hard, and deny himself a huge percentage of the news and entertainment routinely vended to us, to have even a chance at a celebrity-free day, much less a celebrity-free life. Try it! Go to the doctor’s, dentist’s, hairdresser’s, or cosmetician’s office. What’s available to distract you from your wait? Daytime talk shows obsessed with celebrities! People magazine! Get through your work day, your appointments, and your errands, and return home. What are the odds that your spouse won’t weigh in on you with news about some celebrity that evening? As for the Idiot Box, you’re beaten before you start. The thing exists specifically to deluge you with celebrities, in one form or another.

     Vast, impersonal forces work to confront us with celebrities and their doings at all times. The entertainment industry – in which I include all media, all sports and competitive gaming, news, and how-to programming – has numerous satellites, including public-relations firms, magazines, event planners, bookers, and promoters, Web “presence” engineers, “influencers” (most of whom hope to become celebrities themselves), and so on. These are the engines of celebrity. In many ways it is they who determine who shall become famous and who shall drop into the dust.

     My question of the day: If it were possible to suppress the services those satellites provide to celebrities and would-be celebrities, would the celebrities matter to anyone? Would we have even a concept of celebrity? Bonus question: What would our media do to fill all the vacated hours?



Mike Guenther said...

Well, I remember back when I was a wee sprout, you had three channels on TV and they all shut down at midnight. Other than that, the closest thing to a celebrity status was getting your picture on the cover of a Wheaties box and that was reserved for great athletes.

I wouldn't miss them at all.

I reckon media Giants would have to start laying off people in drives...learn to code.

JWM said...

Being a techno-Luddite has its advantages. No TV in the house. No radio. No newspapers. No smart phone. I wouldn't recognize most of the celebrities if they walked into my living room.


ligneus said...

I don't have a TV, I have the internet of course, don't have much interests in celebrities unless they are more than that, e.g. Linda Ronstadt, Jessye Norman......
Otherwise it's like visual Muzak, in the background to be tuned out and ignored.


"If it were possible to suppress the services those satellites provide to celebrities and would-be celebrities, would the celebrities matter to anyone? Would we have even a concept of celebrity?"

We will always have those who crave and chase fame, whether for the fame itself, or the idea that it will lead to fortune. Or power. Or both.

Linda Fox said...

I'm the oddball in my household. My husband loves TV, enjoys the talk shows (I know, I know). I can, and have, gone over a week at a time without turning on media of any kind.

I don't bother with watching the shows, because I have no idea who they are. Listening to random people blathering about current events isn't that interesting.


There's also a fascination, a need for entertainment and/or spectacle. And when there is a demand there will be a supply.

My (immigrant) wife is captivated by this show, "90 Day Fiancee", which in the principle of it mimics how she and I got together. In it there's this one guy who has been "dating" a woman he never met for SEVEN YEARS. He's flown to Ukraine multiple times to find her, sinking over $100K into the dating agency (maybe more, I don't recall). Each new episode my wife breathlessly updates me on this. (Apparently he's finally met her and proposed... with a cubic zirconia ring. He's 60-something, she's late 20's. Her answer is a mystery.)

Now, I've already told her I DON'T CARE. But she's fascinated by this.

Like I said, there's a need for spectacle and, in this case, to see the antics / behaviors of people in a bad light. Perhaps if only to look at one's own life by comparison.