Why Do Celebrities Have So Much Power?
And Why Do We Give It To Them?
So much fuss is made over different celebrities and where they live, with whom they live, how they live, et cetera, et cetera, ad nauseum. But what is a celebrity, anyhow? The American Heritage College Dictionary, Third Edition defines it as: "1. A famous person." And in this day and age of thousands of job layoffs, home foreclosures and other assorted human miseries, why does the public even care what happens to them?
In my not-so-humble opinion, it is because we are told we should care. I wonder if Johannes Gutenberg, whom is generally credited as having invented moveable type in 1450, was ever approached by a performer and asked to print their latest stage exploits? Okay, so maybe the celebrity-craze didn't start that far back. But think of the late 19th-century, when newspapers and magazines were the public's only ways to learn what was going on all over the world. Generally, those publications print what their advertisers want them to print; that where the publishers get most of their money.
Nowadays, however, we have movies, radio and television in addition to the printed word to supply the public with information. Again, the advertisers are greatly responsible for the content that is presented to the public. What it pretty much seems to come down to is "What 'celebrity' appeals the most to the people to whom we want to market our product/service?" For example, just watch two hours of whatever network or cable channel that has commercials; it does not matter what one it is, just so it has commercials of some sort. Now, pay attention to the commercials; what are they about? What kind of person would buy the product/service advertised on the commercial?
And a certain person advertising a certain product/service becomes identified with that product or service. AND, if that person happens to be famous (i.e., a celebrity), all the better - the public may well believe that the celebrity actually uses the product/service and may think, "Gee, if she uses that stuff, maybe I should try it!!" AND, the more the commercial is aired, the more exposure the celebrity gets...are you following me here?
So, I have come to the conclusion that celebrities have power over the general public because it is bestowed upon them by the mighty advertising conglomerates. 'Nuff said.