A celebrity is a person who is widely recognized and known about in a society. Celebrities are often well-known in the news and they often take over sections of the magazine market and TV schedules around the world. They appear in television adverts and entertainment forms around the globe from music to film. Most would be quick to believe and enforce the idea that the reason we have celebrities in our media is just to make money. As Graeme Turner has recently noted, the industry around celebrity ‘creates highly visible products that most of us buy at one time or another and which play a significant part of our everyday lives’1 This ideology is not discernibly far from the truth as it is easy to notice the wealth involved in the form of celebrity features in advertisements on TV, radio and magazines or starring in the latest Hollywood blockbuster.Whatever form it is what they do culminates to produce an influential commodity culture.
From this we can argue that the reason we have celebrities dominating our media are to create a market around the products they endorse and that we in turn buy. Celebrities appearing on commercials and merchandising products within media forms will result in vast amounts of money going to executives in the media businesses that are promoting the celebrities and also to the celebrities themselves. I would argue against this being the sole reason accounting for the ubiquity of celebrities though. This is because we have always had the need as humans to have a figure head, a role model if you will, upon which we can base our own identities. Celebrities act as these figure heads to which many of us forge our identity out of.’Information and ideas promoted by these celebrities within the media do not merely reflect the social world, but contribute to its shape, and are central to modern reflexivity’.2 Using this idea we can suggest that we have celebrities within our media to provide us not only with an example of how to live in a society but a basis upon which we set our characteristics against, striving to become like our “hero”.I would agree with this idea as it is clear to see that the people who are presented to us in whatever form do have a profound effect.
A good example of this is looking at David Beckham. His influence in the media has affected many aspiring children whishing to be footballers and the same can be seen in an example of Richard Branson inspiring individuals to live out their ambitions and become successful entrepreneurs. I would still argue though that this is not only the reason we have celebrities.Our society’s celebrity culture brings with it controversial issues for debate. We can look at this from the view of celebrities in the news. This is often perceived negatively as the news media turns becomes entertainment exposing private affairs for the sake of amusement.
A critical claim here is that ‘the media’s focal point on the lives of famous individuals is a move away from issues deemed of public interest’3.Bob Franklin exemplifies this viewpoint when he writes that today, ‘the intimate relations of celebrities from soap operas, the world of sport or the royal family are judged more “newsworthy” than the reporting of significant issues and events of international standing.’4. I agree with this statement, as far as stories regarding celebrities are often deemed news items, but I disagree with the context it is being implied. Bob Franklin is using his example negatively, suggesting that the celebrities in the news are not newsworthy or public interest. I would argue and suggest that celebrities are shown in this way in the media, and this example the news, to fulfil a human desire for relationships. Celebrities offer us a chance to escape our own lives. They offer parasocial relationships*, interacting with people through televisions, radios, and print.
I would therefore argue against Bob Franklin suggesting that people positively benefit from and enjoy these relationships because they are safe, one-way relationships and therefore not un-newsworthy. This I believe to be a notable reason as to why we have celebrities dominating our media markets; simply because we want them there. Along side this they at the least they give us something to talk about. We can interact with others and have a common ground on the topic of celebrities that we see at the moment, once again fulfilling our need for relationships.
Without celebrities the world could seem a very dull place with only the news of events to entertain us with. Where this point is useful is that it shows us why we have celebrities in the media and that we use them, but it does not show why there are so many in the first place.I believe the reason for the current mass of the celebrity in our media stems from our societies expanding and the celebrity culture needing to grow with us. As aforementioned we want celebrities, and with that desire and the ever growing number of channels from digital and satellite television and the availability of content via the Internet, consumer’s content options have considerably amplified. More music, movie, and TV stars will inevitably appear in magazines, on radio, and on television where they promote their latest projects.
Popular disc and video jockeys will in turn recommend the music they play and the artists and5bands they interview. If more and more media commodities are produced so are the celebrities to endorse or be part of them. They are the content, and they sell the content.To overall sum up we have celebrities because our society needs them. They create a huge commodity around themselves making vast amounts of money through them being them and the products or media that offspring’s from them. I agree with this as it is clearly evident but I remind that do not agree entirely with it being the reason we have them.
Their earnings only affect themselves and the people they interact with and not the everyday public that is viewing them. Money is only something that comes about from being a celebrity not the reason why we have them as a celebrity. They are there because we put them there and because they can offer something to us.This is, as shown, the idea that we use our celebrities to forge our own identities in life and then we rely on these celebrities to offer us something in return such as entertainment or relationships.
This means that now footballers and fraudsters, pop singers and soft porn stars can all be lumped together and fï¿½ted as celebrities if we choose them to be. We have created them through our needs and now it will be a never ending circle. The underlying truth is that these celebrities have appeal because they stand for “cool community metaphors,” making simple wealth, and immediate fame.BibliographyFranklin, B (2005) Key Concepts in Journalism Studies, London: Sage publications ltdMarshall, P. D. (1997) Celebrity and Power: Fame in Contemporary Culture, Minnesota: University of Minnesota PressTurner, G, F. Bonner and P. Marshall (2000) Fame Games: The Production of Celebrity, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Turner, G. (2004) Understanding Celebrity, London: Sage publications ltd.