Celebrity Worship

A recently tweeted article is the prompt for this blog. In short the article said that Ellen DeGeneres was using the feature list function at Twitter to manipulate other users into following her. The end purpose of this no doubt is exposure/ self promotion ultimately translating into bargaining power come $ contract time. You can read the article here:  http://bit.ly/1ajkxR

That DeGeneres or any other “celebrity” has the right to promote their product or themselves is not in question. It is the underhanded manipulation of a star struck public that is wrong. That a “social networking” site like Twitter is the instrument used for this self promotion is also wrong. These social sites are for the purpose of connecting, expressing, making friends. They are the greatest of opportunities for people to unite in friendship and self expression. For them to be used as commercial vehicles of exploitation or money spinning ventures is to pervert this purpose.

It also speaks loudly of what is happening to society in general. Think in terms of the new demi-gods: those ordinary people whom other “ordinary” people place on pedestals for the two fold purpose of hero worship and identity. Celebrities are indeed ordinary people. Ordinary people with hundreds of thousands of followers? With the benefit of scripting, production and direction, lighting, make up, marketing and advertising they of course become something else. They become idols for worship.

People seem to have a deep psychological need to put something or someone above themselves, or conversely place themselves under or below. Some fans do the fan thing simply for fun and nothing more, but for the majority of fans, celebrity worship is a way of life. A substitute for their own lives. It is instrumental in creating their own identity and building ego via an imagined umbilical cord with their idol. Most people at Twitter, for instance, follow their fav celebs in the desperate hope that the star will tweet back to them. The fan-celebrity symbiosis is built on mutual need:  one is to be worshipped and adored, the other – the worshipper – is to feel gratitude and just a lil bit special ;).  To me this is a belittling, demeaning attitude.

Karl Marx said “Religion is the opiate of the people.” If he was living in the 21 st century he would have changed  it to “Hollywood.” I think it’s time the “ordinary” people, the “masses”. the “peasants,” so manipulated and controlled for hundreds of years in every aspect,  stopped looking up to others while looking down, and started looking straight ahead. A coiffured, perfumed, manicured, maufactured, air blown celeb is not someone we should place so much value on when we have doctors, nurses, firemen, policemen, soldiers, scientists and so many others saving lives and building our world. They are the true million dollar babies…and THEY are YOU.



November 5, 2009 · 12:57 am

8 responses to “Celebrity Worship

  1. Hello Sainter, I agree with you on those points. However, in a free society we must accept the good with the bad (unfortunately). The ideal use of these social network sites is, to quote you “the purpose of connecting, expressing, making friends” and let me add also aid in businesess. Some small business (like an art gallery) may find it useful for its clients to follow them.

    However, people will always exploit all ideas, good and bad. It is up to us as a society to ignore, not pay attention to these things. As people say in business: “Caveat Emptor”, or Buyer Beware.

    I personally hate people who take advantage of these situations, but we as a society need to improve our education. That alone, I believe would solve most of these problems, for our society would be able to distinguish crap from reality.

    It’s a sad world we live in.

    • Sainter

      Yes I agree we need to take the good with the bad. It’s regrettable that wherever the ordinary people go there are some who want to take advantage of them. Business though? Not sure I agree with you there. Business has it’s place at sites designed to accomodate them. Also most businesses these days have their own sites. I’m being a bit puritan here lol and understand the need to be flexible but it’s a sore point that commercialism infests virually every aspect of modern society, even places that are created soley for people to socialize at. I agree with you that people should be better educated; that would help the many who are continually exploited. Most of all I believe we need to have higher regard for the things that matter and less for the superficial things in life like Hollywood. Thx for your commet, much appreciated, alopiasmag.

      • You have a good point on Business. However (and I’ll use my profession as an example) as a Dentist I have seen an exaggerated increase in commercialization. There is a direct disadvantage to patients with this behavior. With the increase of irresponsible teeth whitening (for example) and other services by non-dentist personnel, many have felt the need to commercialize themselves, to provide the adequate treatment.

        I’ll plead guilty on that charge, having placed ads on facebook. At the same time, I see false advertising on facebook and twitter that misleads “patients” (not clients). I agree business has it’s place but sometimes… *shrug*.

        Keep up the good posts on twitter… you’re cool to follow along with all the other heathens.

  2. All a part of the bigger picture of human evolution..this blog being a part of it. And as we change and evolve, just maybe we’ll grow into humans that look each other in the eye as total equals, and merely appreciate the great talents and creativeness within us all. LOL, not anticipating ‘perfection’ Saint…but I do look at these things as part of the process of evolution; each of us given choices of what to do with our lives 😉

    • Sainter

      Hi Lizz, thx for your thoughts. Not sure that this is part of an evolutionary process as it were, we’ve had this division between the worshipped and worshippers from year 1 – royalty is but one example – and it is in human nature to idolize. I think in modern times it’s more a matter of getting our priorities right and that requires a much greater shift in social equanimity. Maybe you could say everything we do including that is evolutionary but I don’t think that’s the right word, as what is required in this case is socio-political intervention by we the people. We won’t change our thinking just by waiting for it to happen. 😉 But as far as the big picture is concerned I do agree with you and hope that one day we will all see the instrinsic value in all human beings. 🙂

  3. I agree with you about how twitter has changed to a publicity tool, I’ve fallen into the trap of following a few celebrity types myself, when in the beginning it was just a way for me to keep track of the news and sport.
    I think the celebrity whoring will only become worse , plus every second person seems to want some kind of celebrity status, a touch with fame, there are now people who are nothing but ‘professional celebrities’ their only claim to fame is to have had a brush with someone of note , then they milk it to the hilt, and there is always someone out there who are only to willing to leach off them while they have the chance.
    I recently made my twitter account private, so as people have to ask to be allowed to follow me, and believe it or not they do …lol. it’s a good way to weed out the advertises and so on.
    Enjoyed your blog as usual, keep them coming ..

    • Sainter

      Quite right, Tony, the fan wants fame from rubbing shoulders or being a fav of the celebrity-“see how special I am?” you can hear them thinking. You see this alot at YouTube where the minor “celebrities” receive sycophantic comments ranging from “Genius! Awesome!” to “Love you! Love everything you do!” when truth is they aren’t awesome, geniuses or lovable lol. It’s one big ego deal in trade. It wouldn’t hurt if a little more honesty were put into these comments but the fan is working on being popular and honesty is not going to get in their way. Thx for your comment, mate.

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