celebrity from nothing

intelligent TV, political integrity, military intelligence & other oxymorons

Network and cable television, in particular, has demonstrated its ability to produce celebrity from nothing – without any need to establish the individual’s ability, skill, or extraordinariness as the precondition for public attention.  The phenomenon of Big Brother made that clear.

-Graeme Turner, Understanding Celebrity, Sage Publications.

It’s fascinating who we consider celebrities today.  There’s a sound theory that says celebrities are people who are worth celebrating.  They are either exceptional in their fields, have achieved an extraordinary feat despite ordinary resources, they’ve stepped up to challenges over and beyond what was required of them.  I think even great bone structure falls under that.

Now we have famous people who are famous for being famous with no real contribution to society’s progress or even just pop culture’s play list.  Engineered celebrities are interesting creatures, sometimes they don’t even remember what’s underneath all the hype about themselves.  So we often hear ourselves say, “What’s she famous for again? I mean what is she again?”

It’s always a thrill to see exceptional people in their ordinary settings, let’s say James Cameron deciding on what to have for lunch or how Robert de Niro buys socks.  I’d find that interesting.  There’s that paparazzic fascination for these minute moments hence all the photos of unmade-up stars with their morning lattes while in their sweats.  I think it’s because seeing exceptional people in their ordinary state doing ordinary things sparks something in us.  When I was younger, it must’ve been an imagining that I too can do great work because just like him I take my time in ordering lunch or just like her I go to the neighborhood Starbucks branch looking disheveled.  We are not that different, you exclaim in your head – and that leaves you giddy for a few minutes.   Right or wrong those thoughts do cross.

So- exceptional people in ordinary situations, yes fascinating.

Youtube has brought many regular Jacks into the limelight because they are either caught on-cam in a fascinating pose, situation, or committing an act of great luck or displaying an extraordinary skill. Babies who can shoot peas straight into a small basketball hoop with consistency, teenagers skateboarding gravity defying hair dos swooping across the lens, etc.  We know this.  So yes, we are also fascinated by the regular person recorded in an extraordinary circumstance.  Youtube videos are now considered the longest tentacle of the audition room, the laziest muscle of the casting agent, the hunting ground of small-bit directors and producers who have too much time in their cyber-hands.

In any case we say – ordinary person in an exceptional act?  Yes fascinating, too.

Now let’s see, Big Brother has ordinary people in ordinary situations doing the ordinary things – with a camera on them 24/7.

Who missed the mark, them (because they produce and invest in this show or us  (because we watch it)?


About gangcentral

My name is (actually) Gang. View all posts by gangcentral

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