Skip to comments.Know Thy Enemy III: Celebrity Culture
Posted on 03/10/2013 10:56:24 AM PDT by NOBO2012
Barack Obama did not bring us to this first circle of hell on his own. He was aided and abetted by 1) an education system with a relentless propaganda agenda, 2) a media oligopoly that has completely abrogated its First Amendment responsibility and 3) a celebrity dominated culture that is largely a product of the first two. (KTE Prologue)
III. The Culture of Celebrity
All media exist to invest our lives with artificial perceptions and arbitrary values. -- Marshall McLuhan, patron saint of politicians
In todays segment of Know Thy Enemy we look at the culture of celebrity and its contribution to pop culture.
Pop culture is defined more by what it is not neither high culture or folk culture than what it is. But an operative definition is a commercial culture based on popular taste. Think Andy Warhols soup can art:
Clearly the man who predicted that in the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes knew a thing or two about the endurance of celebrity culture.(snip)
Whatever it is or isnt, the celebrity element of pop culture dominates the landscape. To many, especially the young, its appeal is so compelling they would do anything to be famous. Anything, that is, aside from actually working for it. The Celebrity Dream has largely replaced the American Dream for this generation; and unlike the original, which contains a significant work hard component, the Celebrity Dream requires only that you be discovered for your own fabulosity.
This new version of the American Dream reads like a narcissists Craigs List ad: Deserving swan, trapped in pond with ducks, ISO fame, fortune, and a really good agent. Its like the American Dream, only delusional.
In which I behold my own fabulosity
How did this mindset come to replace the Horatio Alger story? As is the case with most of lifes unfathomables, its complicated.
Our Human Fascination With Fame
Nature, Mr. Allnut, is what we are put in this world to rise above. -- African Queen.
There are any number of interesting theories as to why people are fascinated with the rich and famous. (snip)
The sport of celebrity voyeurism has replaced much of what use to pass for popular entertainment. Thats no big deal in itself after all, why should I care if millions of people want to spend their time, effort and money immersed in the lives of familiar strangers to the detriment of the real people in their lives? I wouldnt, if it ended there.(snip)
Again, discriminating enough if youre just looking for some celebrity Facebook friends and celebrity tweeters to bolster your own sense of worth; but its quite unnerving when the same criteria is used as the basis for selecting the man entrusted with the nuclear suitcase. So to belabor the point: you should care about the legion of moronic celebrity-obsessed people out there because, just like you, they have the right to vote.
The Usual Culprits
I doubt that anyone seriously disagrees with the premise that outrageous, narcissistic celebrity behavior is a bad influence on society and that emulating it is a bad idea. The question is why has it become so prevalent; both the behavior and the idolization? Previous generations of young adults seemed to have left the sirens song of fame and celebrity behind by the time they were 21 or so, and moved on with their lives. Today, in addition to teenagers, the crazed fans are just as likely to be well into their 20s or even (gulp!) 30s. Why the arrested development?
You can probably think of dozens of contributing factors, but there are two primary ones and not surprising - they are the usual suspects: education and media.
The education system has contributed on two fronts. First, it really is cranking out stupider people. After years of dumbed down curricula we have produced a generation or two of citizens who learned very few critical thinking skills but did learn how to absorb spoonfed platitudes, bromides, politically correct factoids, half-truths and lies. As such, they are great vessels for received information. In other words, they are the perfect low information citizen. LoFos are citizens who tend not to recognize logic fallacies - which they wouldnt be able to rebut even if they did - but respond well to emotional appeals, sound-bites and bumper stickers.
Secondly, remember educations self-esteem movement? Well, theres nothing as merciless to self-delusion as reality something that most people whove hit their 20s and 30s have had at least a fleeting introduction to. Some may still harbor vestiges of unearned self esteem, but for many others reality has intruded and caused some structural damage to their sense of specialness. These victims of identity theft experience a sort of reverse transference paradox by associating with other people they consider special and whos more special than celebrities? Fan culture reflects some of the famous persons specialness back onto the idol worshiper. A weird, yet effortless, way to recover some of that old self-lovin feeling lost in the tug-of-war with reality.
So look back to 2008: we have a huge group of idol worshiping receivers who probably didnt bother to vote at all in previous presidential elections. But now, marshaled by the Obama Hope and Change army of celebutards, bombarded with social media messages from people way-cooler than they could ever hope to be anymore, they are ordered to get out and vote for the coolest (black) human being ever born on this planet. Who could ignore these marching orders when they came directly from Ben, Kim and Scarlett?
Nobody, thats who! Some of their fans even voted twice.
Which brings me to the media. As principle purveyor of both entertainment shows and news/information formats, no entity is more influential in crafting our social milieu. Here is their contribution:
Im Jon Stewart, host of the fake news show and I endorse BO.
First, they not only tolerate the bad behavior of celebrities, they revel in it. They reward miscreant behavior by covering it 24/7 in all major print and electronic outlets. This naturally assures more of the same, because as any PR hack knows, the only bad publicity is no publicity.
However, medias major contribution to the unraveling of civilization was the industrys consolidation into Big Media. In 1983, 90% of American media was owned by 50 companies. By 2011, that same 90% was controlled by just 6 corporations.
The new Big Media cartel has given us a huge number of outlets, all controlled by a few corporate entities. (snip) Arguably, an equally concerning societal issue is the corrosive influence of a single-view non-news programing; a constant onslaught of celebrity driven entertainment reflecting liberal, anti-conservative values and mores.
This power is so concentrated, ubiquitous, and artful, that to a degree unmatched in former mixtures of entertainment, it dilutes influences from family, schooling, and other sources that are grounded in real-life experience, weakening, their ability to guide growing generations. Ben H. Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly
Indeed. But in the entertainment business, you give people what they want, and the growth in the number of young, dumbed down, LoFo viewers did not go unnoticed by media moguls who cater to such demographics.
Concurrent with the industry consolidation heaping huge debt on the books of the remaining media companies, the internet began pulling the eyeballs of the most desirable 18-34 demographic away from network programming and, more importantly, the associated advertising revenues. Big Media needed to build a better mousetrap, and they needed to stock it with stinkier cheese to lure the mice back.
The search was on for cheap programming that could generate big viewership and hence big ad revenues. Game shows, reality shows and talking heads - all cheap to produce hit the drawing board by the gross.
When Who Wants to be a Millionaire launched in 1998 to instant high ratings it became the template for everything bad to come for the next 15 years. Millionaire demonstrated how easy it was to create your own in-house celebrity (Regis Philbin, up till then a little known 3rd rate host/sidekick dating back to the 60s, became an overnight celebrity). Scripted reality game shows like Survivor followed, creating new celebrities every season, and the rest, as they say, is history.
A similar model was used to boost on-air journalists to celebrity (hence, more eyeballs/ad revenue) status. Cross marketing them on network entertainment programs gave them more exposure; and remember, thats pretty much all it takes to be famous and once famous, youre a bona fide celebrity.
Even Dave couldnt save Katie Couric
The publics and medias obsession with celebrities even launched a mini-industry of incestuous celebrity mongers:
Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Oprah--who not only live off others' celebrity but also, through their publicity-making power, confer it and have in time become very considerable celebrities each in his or her own right.
I would add designated political baggage and water carriers like James Carville, Paul Begala and Karl Rove to that list as well. Which brings me to the role of the political class in pop celebrity. The newly ordained talking head journalist celebrities needed serious guests to interview; and whos more serious, or desirous of air time, than politicians? Their celebrity status was elevated considerably by being on TV regularly, thus raising their profile with voters. It was love at first sight. Now in addition to being law makers by day theyre on TV every night and well never get rid of them.
But still the demand for celebrities to idolize was unfilled. Reality shows like American Idol were cranking out celebrities every season, but they couldnt keep up with demand. Similar shows also searching out new talent proliferated. But America still needed more celebrities to follow on Twitter, so people famous for being famous (e.g. Paris Hilton, Nicole Ritchie) got their own reality shows. Next, people related to people famous for being famous (e.g. the Osbournes) got their own reality show.
And then reality shows jumped the shark: cant sing, cant dance? Not related to anyone famous? No problem, we still have plenty of openings for minor celebrity wannabes in the following job categories: chefs, fashion designers, CEOs, junkies, artists, meteorologists, climatologists, bounty hunters, hoarders, foreign dictators, brides, dog trainers, pawn dealers, duck hunters, chubby pre-pubescent beauty pageant losers, and trashy men and women with no identifiable talent other than a willingness to share every aspect of their trashy lives with a huge audience (and who isnt?). We can turn anyone into a celebrity!(snip)
Celebrity Worlds Collide
What happens when various celebrity worlds collide? Well for one thing, you end up with a Kardashian President.
When the world of entertainment, media and politics all began to orbit around the same sun celebrity it was inevitable that America would eventually elect an American Idol to the presidency. Entertainment, media journalism and politics have been mashed up and homogenized into a whole new animal: Infotainment.
Members of the infotainment class attend each others parties, shows, celebrations and fundraisers; private jetting between D.C., LA, and New York to preach the tenets of Global Warming, lobbying for cap and trade and to voice their opposition to the Keystone Pipeline.
Theyre special, this new class, and they do special things. Like ex-presidents handing out Golden Globes,
First Ladies announcing Oscar winners,
movie stars conducting foreign diplomacy missions (so sorry to hear about your little pal biting it, Sean),
and journalists drafting talking points for the White House.
Mergers of this sort, between entities with very different cultures, are often a little rough at first, frequently ending up with the worst rather than best from each culture. Thats certainly the case with the new Infotainment enterprise: so far it seems to have inherited entertainments exhibitionism, medias hype and politics BS. And it appears the various operating divisions are still a bit dysfunctional after the merger: our media entertainment division no longer entertains so much as it distracts; our media/journalism division no longer informs so much as it entertains, and our political division no longer governs so much as it participates in a reality show complete with scripted crises and pre-designated winners and losers.
But hey, Americas got Celebrities! So weve got that going for us.
As Dostoyevsky noted in The Brothers Karamazov:
"So long as man remains free, he strives for nothing so incessantly and painfully as to find someone to worship."
And Joseph Epstein noted:
If contemporary celebrities are the best thing on offer as living gods for us to worship, this is not good news.
Indeed. But I worry more about the "So long as man remains free part. Its not as if idolatry doesnt have the potential to enslave. And its certainly not as if this sort of thing has never happened before:
As these leaders vied for political control, they bought off public approval through welfare provisions of bread and occasional wine as well as huge gladiatorial competitions. The policy has since become known as Bread and Circuses.
Despite the speeches of Cicero and others, over time the people of Rome lost interest in governing themselves and were content to slip quietly into their role as subjects of an emperor.
Let the Gladiator games begin
Next Week: What Does it Take to Beat the Enemy?
Todays post is part of a series:
...Read the Rest Here>>>
Firstly, never enroll your children in government schools,
Secondly, disconnect yourself and those you love from the TV,
Thirdly, cancel all newspapers.
Post-Oscar reports did not photo her or her dress. Even though another star wore a dress by the same designer---no mention was made of Mrs O's lavish gown.
DEMOCRATS LIKE DONNY DEUTSCH WEIGHED IN: "As far as I'm concerned, she was an uninvited guest. Now what I mean by that is (as an advert guru), you have to give the consumer, the viewer, the ultimate respect. They tuned in to watch movie stars, to watch movies. And all of a sudden, politics is thrown at them."
"If I want to watch her on Jimmy Fallon, that's okay. But, (the Awards)---that was an intrusion, and I have a feeling that three out of four Americans -- Democrat or Republican -- don't want to see the First Lady (there). I think you have to respect your audience enough to not impose her, that's not a moment we're looking for there---the President or the First Lady," Deutsch said on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."
DONNY CONTINUED: "....the tone of it, it was almost a monarch quality.....an elitist flavor to it. I was watching and going, 'huh?' and I'm a Democrat," Deutsch told host Piers Morgan. "I just thought it was very very tone deaf and I was really surprised they did it," Deutsch concluded.
The Ohaha's have plans---- they're using the "Argentina Strategy." See themselves as Juan and Evita wanabes---with unlimited power---deploying military strongmen to keep the rabble in check---while duping the citizenry into thinking they are "humanitarians.
SOUND FAMILIAR? The Perons bankrupted Argentina, took savage, total power by confiscating money from the rich-----and letting Evita bestow the money on the poor, in numerous well-publicized "acts of charity."
Evita traveled around in luxurious designer fashions, furs and lavish jewels; she was infatuated w/ Hollywood. Reigning movie queen Lana Turner saw Evita adopt her look and hair styles---and was alarmed when her jewelry was confiscated so that Evita could get it copied.
Your forgetting the most important one, the financial source of all this influence peddling, GEORGE SOROS. He funds the Propaganda machines like Center for American Progress, who illegally operate as not for profit 501 c operations, because as such they are not supposed to campaign. They refuse to disclose their sources of donations. They are a campaign machine that spoon feeds the media liberal those White House talking points that appear on MSM headlines every morning. They also staff bloggers who work to deceptively manipulate public opinion.
George SOROS is a felon in France, has a warrant for his arrest in Russia, and in the US runs the show,
First assignment: free this very forum from the celebrity worship!
(You know what is the longest running thread here, don’t you? Americans Idle!)
Do you think it will be O’Malley? Regina, my daughter(then 6, now 15) was at Lourdes and O’Malleylaid hands upon her during a healing mass.
Did you happen to see the two worshipful threads here in the last three days about a long dead mediocre pop singer named Dean Martin?
First Ladies announcing Oscar winners,
Did anyone else find it incredibly ironic that it was an Obama presenting a "best movie" oscar for a movie all about rescuing State Department officers being held hostage in the middle east, shortly after Bengahzi? I wonder if the golfer in chief or the angry wookie noticed the irony?
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