Celebrity Culture: Part 1

Celebrity culture is an essentially modern phenomenon that emerged amid such twentieth-century trends as urbanization and the rapid development of consumer culture (Dictionary of American History, 2003). However, in today's generation, the term 'celebrity' is vastly used to describe people who are hungry for fame, money and publicity. The extent to which celebrities would go to, in order to classify themselves as famous has changed drastically overtime. Several factors have come into play when considering how the notion of the term 'celebrity' has developed into how we understand in contemporary culture.

I want to be a celebrity. I want to be loved. I want the glitz, the glamour, the sparkle and the existential glow. I want the red carpet treatment. I want VIP champagne parties. I want TV chat show hosts to fawn (fall) over me. I want to be harassed and harangued by the tabloid press. I want to be on the cover of Hello magazine. I want fame. I want celebrification (Holmes and Redmond, 2006). Although, the evolution of a celebrity has been radically inconsistent, a major component of the media industry revolves around the terms; celebrification and celebritization. These terms have been coined by various scholars in order to highlight the importance of the constant metamorphosis that the celebrity culture is going through.

Additionally, the rise of reality television shows over the years is also a key aspect of an increase in celebritization. 'Keeping Up With The Kardashians' has successfully completed ten seasons (the eleventh is still ongoing). This just re-emphasizes the importance of how technologically advanced our generation is, as the show is televised and can be watched online, worldwide. Hence, reaching a wider mass appeal. The internet is a form of media that is widely known as the new and advanced platform where individuals can easily stream, download and watch numerous series at their convenience. The series essentially gives us an insight to the rich and famous lifestyle that celebrities comprise of. However, how do we know if the content is wholly based on the truth? The underlying layers of reality television that are concealed are fairly ambiguous, yet we choose to believe a product that is sold, merely on face value.

A well known fact in the media, music and film industry is that any kind of publicity; whether positive or negative is eventually termed as 'good publicity'. The Rolling Stones had to trash countless hotel rooms and get busted for drugs.Even Elizabeth Taylor, who reigned empress-like in the 1960s, intrigued her global audience with extra-marital improprieties. And they had to produce music and films too (Cashmore, 2006). One could say that not much has changed overtime. Relationship rifts, extra-marital affairs, alleged rape cases, alcohol and substance abuse still exist within the industry.