Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Starstruck : The Business of Celebrity

 The part that stuck out to me is the segment  about celebrity perception. “ It’s not an accident that all the stars are partying, walking down red carpets, or smiling for the camera in the same venues and on the same streets. In Los Angeles, for example, all of the Getty’s celebrity photographs occur within a very narrow spine along Sunset and Hollywood boulevards between Vine Street and the Beverly Hills Hotel. That’s about five miles east to west and a quarter mile north to south.”  Couple that with the  discussion about pseudo-events, not so random daily life photos, and the agents push to create a celebrity persona, one would assume that it is fake. You have the reality of what Hollywood looks like, not pretty, is ti really fake? I do not really think it is fake, but mainly setting a narrative, telling a story.  I believe that this relates  to my students because this is the narrative they consume. They only see the narrative side of Hollywood and do not see the reality of it. Therefore the quest for fame may deviate their priorities. Also, my students may idolize the persona of a certain celebrity. Perhaps a celebrity persona promotes destructive behavior, while in reality the person may not partake in such behaviors.In addition, I can sue this in hsitory to tell about past "mass narratives" or zeitgiest-esc narrative, where the story may not be as clear cut as it appears. Perhaps popular folk tales about hero, glorifying them.

Question 2:
"A crucial part of modern celebrity is our desire to access celebrities through new forms of media and the creation of new types of stars."
There is no question that media has helped create easy access to celebrities and helped create reality show stars. Do you think people would still crave so much information about celebrities if technology was not here to give them the information right away? Is technology the main culprit for why our society is so obsessed with celebrities?

I believe that technology enables the democratic celebrity, and perpetuate and promote the hollywood mainstream celebrity. It also helps maintain this obsession of celebrity. On the other hand, local celebrity has always existed, such as Aunt Tillie and her pies, as reference in the book. I do not think there would be the degree of celebrity obsession, but there still will be a lot of celebrity "worshiping." There will always be that local hero, high school quarterback, and idolizing those big fish in small ponds. Although I do believe technology makes it easier to be obsessed and "connected" to the celebrity.


  1. Obviously nobody's trying to argue that the relatively small area of LA that you refer to is actually an imaginary place, but as a social construction and as a narrative it is about as fake as anything as could be, in my opinion. I'm seeing a bit of this myself having moved to south florida for the first time. Miami is not quite the hub of celebrity activity that New York, LA or London would be, but it is place that I've consistently seen depicted on tv, in movies and in music videos since I was young. I went to south beach for the first time in my life last week, and it was kind of weird how every depiction I've ever seen of Miami has always centered around this relatively small area of Miami Beach where everyone who visits the city seems to stay. Driving into and out of the city, i was seeing a significantly different image of Miami than I had ever been aware of. Instead of palm trees and art deco buidings, it was all high-rise condos and office buildings. I'm sure that if would have traveled around a bit more within the city, i would have seen any number of different narratives and images completely foreign to the Miami of popular myth amongst outsiders. I was actually born in California, but I've never been to Hollywood and don't really have much desire to go visit. Nonetheless, since the greater LA area has always been featured so much and so flatteringly in popular film and television, I've always been curious about how different the actual reality of it would be as opposed to the all-too-perfect image of the 'hollywood hills' propagated by mass media. The fact that all of these celebrity "events and pseudo-events" are pre-planned and seem to take place within a relatively small area of the city came as sort of a shock to me, and it really speaks to the reality of how manufactured the images of this real-life place and those who live there really are. This is definitely a topic that I would want to cover in almost any social science course, even if only as an end-of-the-year, here's-some-life-advice-to-send-you-off kind of way. The fascination that America (and much of the world at large) seems to have with this contrived image of Hollywood strikes me as unhealthy to say the least, and there is tremendous value in informing students as to the realities of what they're seeing on television in the tabloids.

  2. I agree with both of your perspectives on teaching about celebrity - great ideas! I also agree that there is a lot of manufacturing that goes on in Hollywood. Outside of that small area described in the book, most of it is pretty crappy looking. It's amazing how totally different it looks at the Oscars. I think it's especially important for young girls to know how much of what they're seeing in female celebrities is fake.