——”Theodore Dalrymple”—one of the greater living English writers—
“During the 2000 election campaign, the Pew Research Center found that 21% of 18- to 19-year-olds got their political news and views from “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”
“The cult of celebrity trivializes everything it touches.”
That's a good question, except, of course, for the fact that for thousands of years, it mattered little what most folks thought. If they got really out of hand, they could generally be repressed by the king; if they had a powerful leader, sometimes they could overcome him and end up in charge themselves (as in France). But normally it didn't matter if they liked him or not.
I think this situation, where you have a large group of completely ignorant people being manipulated by slick, ignorant, shallow people with an uprecedented outreach capablity, is probably specific to post-electricity society, and perhaps even post-mass advertising society (because advertising is where people have learned this behavior).
Well, of course. There is little else written about it that has received any attention in our media. Naturally, it is the 'bible' on Africa, by default.
Fame confers authority, and the principal way of acquiring great fame is via the entertainment industry.
Well, the easiest, to be sure. It's been that way for a very long time. But what it actually provides isn't so much authority as it is the ability to command attention, which is not exactly the same thing. It is passing marvelous that the one should be mistaken for the other so commonly.
Was there ever a time when it wasn't so? Not many, perhaps, but I can think of one at least - that happy day when musicians such as Mozart entered and departed their patrons' houses by the back door. That age had its own attendant problems in that the fame that idiots with beautiful voices were not granted was granted to idiots with the good fortune to be swaddled in the right cradle. It probably wasn't an improvement.